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How do you prepare for worship?

April 29, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

“A song of ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from?  My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)

Think about the last time you entered a church building to worship on a Sunday. What was the state of your heart and mind when you entered? Were you focused on God and ready to worship? Were you distracted by the concerns of the day, or annoyed by the kids in the back seat? Were you coming in late, rushed and just glad you made it?

This past week, I was reading through Psalms 120-134, which are known as the Songs of Ascent. They were songs that were traditionally sung by pilgrims as they approached Jerusalem to worship during one of the festivals. As I read through some of these Psalms last week, I thought about how we prepare ourselves for worship. How do you get your heart ready to meet with God on a Sunday morning? Or is this a question you have never really considered?

On my phone, I have a playlists of songs that I have found get my heart and mind in the right place for worship (and preaching, in my case). I had never made the connection between that playlist and the concept of “Songs of Ascent,” but after reading those Psalms last week, I realized that is exactly how that playlist functions for me. They are the songs that help me to lift my eyes up to the Lord as I approach His house to meet with Him. Many of the songs emphasize longing for God, a theme that helps me enter His house with a sense of intimate anticipation, as I draw near to the one who loves me more than anyone else.

I have four children, and I definitely understand that the process of getting to church is not always smooth sailing. I imagine that walking long distances through the wilderness to Jerusalem was no stroll through the park either. But that is all the more reason to consider adopting the Israelite’s concept of Songs of Ascent, to use the car ride to church as an opportunity to lift eyes up to God and prepare to meet with Him.

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