Before we can enter into the holy place of worship, we must prepare our hearts. Worship isn’t like attending a meeting where all you have to do is show up. On the contrary, true worship requires preparation on both the part of the worship leader and the worshipers.
In a day and age that is full of visual stimulation and busyness—mentally and physically—it’s all the more important to prepare our hearts for worship by quieting them. God asks us to be still before Him (Psalm 37:3 & Psalm 46:10). We can’t receive what He has for us or behold His glory when our thoughts are scattered in a million directions and our heart is focused on other things.
So first step: quiet your mind and heart.
Put all the cares of life, the mental to-do lists, and things needing our attention in the back of your mind. I like to think of it this way. All the things in my life have their own shelf and storage box in my mind. At times, there is so much going on that I feel like the floor of my mind is covered in stuff. So when I get ready to worship, I try to put everything back into their assigned shelves and boxes so that my mind is ready and open to what the Lord has in store for me through worship.
Just like we clean our homes before guests arrive, we sometimes need to tidy up our minds before we enter the holy place of worship. Not that what’s in our minds is unclean, but it can become cluttered. So quiet your mind and heart by silencing all the things calling for your attention and cleaning up your mental space.
However, there are times that our hearts are so heavy and filled with burdens and cares that we cannot silence the heartbreak or tidy up the disappointment. There is no way we can take our minds off the brokenness we’ve experienced. It is during these times that the job of the worship leader is so important. Because for the worship leader the first step in worship is to draw people into a place of mental quietness and focus on the Lord.
Now, let’s take a moment and define who the worship leader is. We generally think of the person on stage on Sunday morning or Wednesday night, but the worship leader can also be yourself. Worship should not just be reserved for Sunday morning, but should be something we do every single day of the week. And if we have personal times of worship, then guess who the worship leader is? You!
So while I speak from a church worship leader’s perspective, you can also implement these steps when you’re leading yourself or your family into worship.
Therefore, the worship leader’s first step: create a call to worship.
This can be as simple as reading a passage of Scripture or quoting a verse. Or it can also be a specific song or anthem. But whatever it is, the purpose of the call to worship is to draw the worshippers in, helping them quiet their minds and hearts, and then leading them towards step two: focusing on the Lord.
We’ll talk about step two in the next post. In the meantime, let’s hear from you. How do you prepare yourself for worship? Do you have any practical tips on quieting your mind and heart?
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