First, keep in mind that worship is not just music. Corporate worship is a gathering of people to give glory to God. Private worship is giving glory to God by yourself. God does not take His worship lightly. Worship is your final fulfillment in God, the end-all of humanity, and God’s ultimate requirement of mankind.
In Philippians 2, we are told that at the very name of Jesus, all will worship. We will, at that point, have no choice in the matter. This is why worship is so important. Taking the worship of God lightly is one sure way to make sure that you are not fulfilled completely in Christ. Worship fulfills our enjoyment and delight in any situation, and everything we do in life is defined by what or whom we worship. If we choose now to worship the one God, our actions will show this. Our actions will be defined by God and the worship of Him. If we approach the throne of God without preparing for what will happen there, we have failed.
One question I often get asked is “How do you prepare for worship on Sunday morning?” My answer is always “If you have to start preparing on Sunday morning, you’re unprepared.”
Does that mean you can’t worship that morning? No. It just means you’re going into it ill-prepared. Taking worship lightly can be defined with this very exchange. People tend to forget that the worship of God is a lifestyle.
People tend to forget that the worship of God is a lifestyle.
It is something that should be done throughout the week, not just on the morning of a corporate worship service. It should be prepared for every day before, after, and during your private worship time. It is amazing to me that some believe that the 5 minutes of prayer (the only prayer time some people have during the week) before the worship service actually prepare them to walk into the throne room of the impossibly holy God. This is not walking “boldly” before the throne (Hebrews 4:16), this is walking arrogantly before the throne. Imagine the arrogance that goes into telling God that after 5 minutes of preparation, you are ready to meet Him.
Preparing for corporate worship is living a lifestyle of worship.
How do we do this? First, you need prayer and study. Constant communication with God brings you closer to Him. Confession to God of your sins and repentance of those sins will actually allow you to approach His throne. Meditation on Scripture will allow God to speak to you. This will bring humility, which will allow you to actually realize how holy God is and how sinful you are, which helps bring you into true worship.
Next, and a fairly difficult one, is reconciliation. Matthew 5:22-24 tells us of the importance of being reconciled with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Basically, if you have problems with other people in corporate worship, those need to be handled in a Biblical way before you can enter into true worship. Otherwise, you will not only find yourself distracted, but you will find yourself burdened by bitterness. Depending on how it was handled, you could also find yourself trying to worship God while being in sin.
The final, and most difficult of all, is handing over yourself. God wants you. In Revelation 4, we see the elders around the throne, laying down their crowns to God. A crown symbolizes everything that a ruler is. That is who they are, what they are, and everything they are. In this chapter, we see what God truly wants. He wants our crowns. He wants everything you are, everything you can be, and everything you have. Give that to God, and everything else falls into place.
That’s how you prepare for worship. Not on Sunday morning, but every day of your life.