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Worship that pleases God

E.Ebenezer Rajakumar

I had been thinking if God would ever descend in a cloud to bless us during one of our worship services. Were such thrilling experiences reserved only for the Old Testament times? Isaiah gives us a glimpse of what worship is like in heaven.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. (Isaiah 6:1-4)

Imagine the seraphs singing and praising God non-stop and the doorposts shaking? And these are doorposts in Heaven and not on the earth! Will our worship ever become comparable? We are enjoined not once, not twice, but three times in the Old Testament Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness (1 Chronicles 16:29, Psalm 29:2, Psalm 96:9) Jesus also tells us that we must worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Worship that moves the heart of God does not happen just like that. Corporate worship on Sundays can be powerful events in the life of any church but requires careful preparation by the minister, the choir and the congregation. What we ought to do? Prepare Many families, especially for families with young children struggle to reach the Church on Sunday morning before the Church bell rings. Here are a few suggestions. Start on Saturday evening! 1. Make ready the clothes to be worn on Sunday morning and organize the Bibles and books to be carried to the church. 2. Read through the Sunday bible readings as given in the church almanac. 3. Make the family go to bed with determination to rise at the agreed upon time. 4. Before going to bed pray as family, for the minister, the choir and the elders of the church and also for your own family. On Sunday morning 1. Rise early with sufficient time to get the family ready after breakfast. 2. Just before leaving home for the church pray that God may be glorified in the worship and that he may speak to each one of the family.

Expect Corporate worship facilitates an intensity of devotion many orders higher than usually possible in individual worship times, but only for the prepared hearts. So come to church in great anticipation of Gods specific word for you. In Truth We need to have healthy fear and reverence for our awesome God. The more we know about our God, the more will be our expectations and the better would be our worship. Study passages like Genesis 1, Psalm 23, Psalm 139, Job, John 17, Romans 1-3, Revelation 19 In Spirit Worship is not an external activity. True worship flows from inside out. Jesus warns when he quotes from Isaiah These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. They worship in vain (Mark 7:6-7) True worship must spontaneously swell in spirit from a heart overflowing with gratitude. Pray that God will give you the heart of David. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, . (Psalm 130: 5-6) Hymns Praising God requires conscious involvement. I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing What a glorious picture it is, when hundreds and thousands of his saints are singing to God with their mind and spirit united as one.
with my mind (2Corinthians 14:15)

Realize God is your audience. If your mind wanders, mere mouthing of words means nothing. Offering Giving is a very important act of worship. We are called to give ourselves first.
to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1)

We also have the example of the Macedonian churches I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will. (2 Corinthians 8: 3-5) Scripture When the Scripture is read, listen with attention and respect for Gods word. When Ezra read the law all Israel stood from daybreak till noon. (Nehemiah 8:3)

Sermon Listening to the sermon is the hardest part. The minister needs to do his part of thorough preparation but the congregation also needs to do its part. Keep your Bible open. Look up the references. Follow the argument. Take notes. Ask God to show you how the scripture being preached applies to your life. Summing up True worship is impossible without discipline. Preparation for corporate worship cannot start after we sit in the pews on Sunday morning. Remember God is seeking worshipers who worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23)

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The author is a former Group Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and an active member of Christ Church, Trivandrum since 1971.