How to Prepare to Hear the Word
We all hope and trust that our pastor has prepared himself and his message before he steps into the pulpit on Sunday morning. How happy would a pastor be to know that the people in the pews have prepared themselves to receive what he is preaching? How pleased would God with us if we did so? How much more would be transformed, moved, changed, and built up if we prepared our hearts and minds for God's Word like a gardener tilling the soil before the planting of the seed? Not long ago I did a post on How To Keep Hearing The Word, and focused on what we could do after we hear the word preached to keep it in our minds, live and apply it. Now I want to ask, what should we be doing before we hear the word preached?
The following list is not my own but comes from John Piper's seminar material on Gravity and Gladness on Sunday Morning. You can read the notes here and listen to the seminar here, and Piper covers this material in Part 6 of this series, about 3/4 of the way through, though the whole session is quite good. I commend it to you.
- Pray that God will give you a good and honest heart.
- Meditate on the word of God.
- Purify your mind by turning away from worldly entertainment on Saturday night.
- Trust in the truth you already have.
- Rest long enough on Saturday night to be alert and hopeful on Sunday morning.
- Forebear one another on Sunday morning without grumbling and criticism (i.e. Don't fight with your spouse and kids before church!).
- Be meek and teachable when you come.
- Be still as you enter the room and focus your mind's attention and heart's affection on God.
- Think earnestly about what is sung and prayed and preached.
- Desire the truth of God's word more than you desire riches or food.
That's Piper's list, to which I add:
11. If you have pre-service prayer, be there, and pray, pray, pray with all you've got. 12. During the singing, sing, sing, sing, with all you've got.