Day 32: Worship Prep
Before we begin today’s spiritual excursion, please take a few moments to breathe! Take three slow, deep breaths, expanding from your abdomen; try not to raise your shoulders. As you inhale, whisper, “We prepare… As you exhale, whisper, “…for Your Presence.”
Slowly read aloud the following Scripture
(Feel free to pause at any time during your reading to reflect on, thank, praise, or acknowledge God’s stirring in your thoughts and emotions.)
And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” And He sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover. (John 14:12-16, ESV)
For further exploration:
Heavenly Father, we thank You for the men and women You have appointed as Pastors of our Windsor Village Church Family. Thank You for their leadership and wisdom. Thank You for leading, directing and protecting their families. Thank You for Pastors Kirbyjon and Suzette Caldwell, Pastor Mark Grafenreed and Pastor Kim Orr and their families. Thank You for Ministers Ray Bady, Craig Barnett, Reverend James Andrews and Dr. Earl and Mrs. Jeanette Allen and their families. Lord, You are our Good Shepherd and High Priest. You are a great God and a great King above all gods. You hold in Your hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. The sea belongs to You, for You made it. Your hands formed the dry land, too. Today, we bow down and worship You. We kneel before You and acknowledge You as our maker. You are our God and we are the people that You watch over and have taken under Your care.
Almighty Father, Your Word says that those who fear You and delight in obeying Your commands will be joyful. You promised that their children will be successful everywhere. We declare that the descendants of our Pastors are mighty on earth and blessed because they are the generation of Godly people. We declare that our Pastors will be wealthy and their good deeds will last forever. We confess that their peace is great and their composure is undisturbed. Our Pastors’ families will experience the Kingdom of God here on earth; people will see their good works and glorify You, our Father in Heaven. Our Pastors obey Your commands; therefore, their families will be blessed in the city and in the fields. They will be blessed when they come in and when they go out. Lord, we expect that You will cause their enemies who rise against them one way to be defeated and flee seven ways. Lord, it is our expectation that You will command Your blessing upon their storehouses and in all that they set their hands to do and You will bless them in the land. We confess that our Pastors and their families are the head and not the tail; they are above only and not beneath.
Holy Spirit, fill our Pastors’ homes with Your gentleness, peace and joy. We lift up their marriages and we ask You to bless them physically, psychologically, emotionally and sexually. Bless their children to mature academically, socially, emotionally and spiritually. Lord, strengthen and encourage those families who feel overwhelmed by ministry. Lord, we ask that You protect our Pastors and their families from the onslaughts of the devil and the disrespect of people. Please help them to maintain balance in their public and private lives. Show us as a Church Family what we can do to encourage, support and assist our Pastors.
Merciful Father, forgive us for not being steadfast in praying for our Pastors and their families. Forgive those among us who speak ill against our Pastors and rebel against their teachings. Forgive those who gossip, murmur, complain, and whine. Please forgive our Pastors and their families for any acts of sinfulness, including anger, wrath, envy, jealousy, or dissension. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed).
Holy Spirit, remind our Pastors and their families to forgive each other and other people, and please help them to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal names or faces of people that You may need to forgive. As He reveals them, say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in Your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help our Pastors and their families not to yield to temptation but deliver them from the evil one.
O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, may You be praised forever and ever! Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is Yours. This is Your kingdom. We adore You as the
One who is over all things.
Scripture References for the Written Text (NKJV & NLT): John 10:11, Hebrews 3:1, Psalm 95:3-7, Psalm 112:1-3, Isaiah 54:13 AMP, Matthew 5:16, Deuteronomy 28:3-8,13, Galatians 5:19-21, Matthew 6:13, I Chronicles 29:10-11.
Concepts to Consider
In today’s Scripture passage we see the disciples preparing for Passover (a worship celebration) by 1. asking the right questions; 2. listening expectantly; 3. seeing with faith; and 4. participating in hope. On any given day, as we enter into individual or corporate worship, it’s important to take a little time to prepare ourselves, so that we don’t just “fake it, ‘til we make it.” Think about it. Had Jesus’ disciples just called “Uber Eats” for a Passover meal and set up a folding table in a parking lot wherever they felt like it, the Upper Room experience with Jesus would not have been the powerful interaction we have recorded in the Gospels. There was a specific scene Jesus wanted to set that was conducive to how He intended to engage His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion.
So, what are some “right questions” we may want to ask ourselves and God in preparation for worship? Here are a few suggestions, in no particular order: “Where are my thoughts focused right now?” “Lord, what aspects of Your Character do You desire to reveal to Your people today?” “Have we been still enough to recognize God is already present and at work among us?” “Is there anything I need to confess or set aside?” “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, where are You directing the attention of
Your people today in prayer?”
Listening expectantly means we slow down to listen for the voice of Jesus in the very next moment, the next heartbeat, the next breath. Believing that our desire to listen and wait for His direction is itself pleasing in God’s sight. O Lord, we wait for you! For Your ways are perfect and Your loving kindness toward us is ever lasting.
Seeing through the lens of faith is tied to asking and listening. Last week we reflected on what it might mean to “see with our ears.” In the same way, we wait expectantly for the Lord to move in our midst. The Lord is passing by… we dare to reach out and touch the hem of Your garment!
Now that we’ve asked, listened, and looked; it’s time to release the arrow of participating in hope. As we’ve previously discussed, worship requires our participation, not our static observation. We don’t participate because it’s tradition or a rote requirement, but because when we lift our hearts to our Loving Lord in hope and in anticipation of what He might say or do next, we come alive in His re-creative work. We don’t have everything figured out, and we don’t know what’s next, but we wait in breathless anticipation on you, Lord!
Personal Reflection: How will I prepare to hear from Jesus today?
Kingdom Reflection: What are some things we may need to consider doing as a Church Family in order to better prepare for the worship of God?
Optional Time of Centering/Soaking:
If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7). Turn off or put down all distractions. Close your eyes. Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word, phrase, or image from the Scripture you read today. Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord. If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your Scriptural word, phrase, or image. You may want to set a timer.