Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
~ Psalm 95:6
One thing that is missing from so many churches today, and outside of churches in our individual lives, is a true sense of worshipping God. Our churches have become, by and large, great in so many ways. We have heat and air-conditioning, media presentations (or at least, easy printing), food and drink are easier to come by. Think about the churches with hard wooden benches with no backs; think about sitting in a church in Massachusetts in January, or in Texas in August, without heat or A.C.
But they had real spirit. They went to church to by-God worship; and when they went home, the family gathered around a great big heavy King James Bible, and read Scripture, and prayed.
In the last of the seven letters to churches from Christ, He tells the Church of Laodicea: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’” (Rev. 3:15-18)
Many people who read Revelation think, Is that the church today? And indeed, many people think that the seven letters are seven ages, and that we live in the last age, the one for which these words were intended as prophesy. Both as individuals and as church congregations, we need to insure that we make a genuine, full, concentrated offering of our time and our thought when we worship God.
There is an old prayer we use in the Daily Devotion on Sundays, sometimes, the heart of which is: “Deliver me, when I draw near to you, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, so that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections, I may worship You in spirit and in truth.”
I have no intention of becoming part of a big religion machine where the Bible is only vaguely known, we say a few prayers half-heartedly, and the pastor or priest or preacher delivers a sermon filled with heartwarming stories from real life, concerned only with not hurting anybody's feelings, while the congregation looks at their watches and wonders about lunch or their tee time. Or the service goes through a routine where the words just go through us like greased gumballs.
When our time for worship arrives (hopefully often), we need to give God our time and our full attention, and we need to read and listen with an attitude of learning and changing to conform to God's word. It is the way we will grow in faith and become complete in Christ.
Lord, when I worship you, guard me against wandering of mind and the intrusion of mundane thought, so that I may be fully present with you, through the power of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.
~ Mason Barge
Editor, Daily Prayer