In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God. ~Isaiah 40:3
I hate golf. The little white ball does not move. The clubs are designed to produce the proper loft. The target does not move either. Everything is designed for me to excel at the game…except for me.
When I was in seminary, my apartment backed up to the Princeton Country Club. (Now before you get all “ooh-la-la” like I did when I saw that on Mapquest; the PCC was a public course with no sandtraps, more goose poop than grass, and a shag your own balls driving range). As I prepared to be a pastor, I figured this was the time for me to also prepare to become a golfer. So I spent a few afternoons out there on the course.
I figured since I had taken one week of golf camp when I was thirteen, I should be at least a bogey golfer. I realized after losing my fifth golf ball on the 3rd hole, that to enjoy this game takes preparation. What I learned on the 8th hole, was that this game took focus.
A friend informed me that I’d have to start spending hours on a driving range. Knowing that I am never one for practice and preparation, I decided to hang up my golf clubs.
The other day, however, I took my 8 year-old son–who has the patience and focus to prepare–out to the driving range. He could hit balls at a driving range and putt all day. Watching him from the cart, I realized how my golf game can be a lot like our faith lives.
How much preparation do you put into Sunday morning?
Is it a lot like my golf game, where we go to church a couple of times per year expecting to be able to enjoy the experience only to find ourself frustrated and disappointed.
Do you roll out of bed, rustle up the kids and frustratedly head over to public worship? Do you sit there critical of the music, or find the greeters insincere, or wonder when the pastor will finish up the message? Do you look at the others out there that morning, comparing how your spiritual game matches up? Do you squirm when things go five minutes longer than expected? Do you sprint to the car afterwards to head to the next hole?
Then when you get home do you wonder why your spiritual life feels flat?
You think to yourself–I went to that Christian camp when I was thirteen, why can I not crush this spiritual thing?
So how can you prepare for worship?
- Practice Worship on your own
- Read Scripture
- Hit up a Spotify worship mix (or make your own)
- Practice Worship with someone else (family devotion? Weekly bible study)
- Regularly Particpate in Public Worship
- Arrive to worship 10 minutes early rather than 10 minutes late
- Stick around 20 minutes after worship (don’t double book Sunday mornings)
- Take notes on the scripture, on the message, on the music lyrics
- Think to yourself–who is someone I could share this with this week?
- Get up early Monday, and reread that Sunday’s passage
Think about all the preparation you put into other areas of life, and mold those into your spiritual life.
While you may want to hit your driver straighter, how could you make straight paths for God in your life?