[This article was co-authored by Brandon Myers] I had been looking forward to this evening for a few weeks. My wife and I were on our way to downtown Chicago for an evening with close friends. A delicious dinner, the beautiful skyline, and an evening to enjoy each other’s company awaited us. Then...
Going to church is not like a trip to the grocery store, visiting a friend, or a Christian task to complete. It is a declaration that worshiping the risen Christ is more important to you than sleeping in, eating brunch, playing sports, or working around the house. It is celebrating the uniting of our broken world under the headship of Christ (Ephesians 1:10) and a proclamation to the spiritual realm of God’s manifold wisdom (3:10).
As such, we should not enter church like any other place, but should prepare our hearts in prayer. Let these 10 prayers set your mind on God’s purposes for church and prepare your heart to worship the King:
1. Lord, help me worship you with an undistracted heart.
Heavenly Father, this morning—and all of history—is about you. Please help me worship you with an undistracted heart. You know how my mind wanders to my upcoming week, present worries, and thoughts of others and other things. Help me put those thoughts away and focus on you and your glory. Would your Spirit cause my heart, soul, mind, and strength to exalt your Holy Name in my singing, listening to Your Word, and interacting with your people.
2. Lord, reveal to me the wonders of your Word.
Father, you spoke the world into existence (Genesis 1). You speak new life into your children to give us the light of the knowledge of your glory in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). Give us the grace to receive your Word and rejoice in it (Psalm 119:18). Convict us of our sins and Christ’s sufficiency so that sinners would be converted (John 16:7–11), the weak strengthened, and Christ’s body built up.
3. Lord, deepen my faith and joy in the glories of your gospel.
Father, you know the multitude of sins I have committed in my life and even this past week. Help me hate my sin more and grow in grace as I contemplate what Christ has done to forgive me and free me from sin’s death grip. Open the eyes of my heart to see the glorious hope we have in Christ, your love for all of the saints, and your power at work in us who believe (Ephesians 1:18-21). Cause my heart to burn within me as we celebrate the gospel in song, learn and apply the gospel through the preached Word, and see the gospel in baptism and communion.
4. Lord, cause me to treasure your bride as you do.
Father, your Son’s bride often gets a bad rap, and assembling together can seem like a drag. But physical appearances not only betray spiritual reality, they fail to grasp the centrality of the church in your eternal purposes for this world. From men and women who were your enemies, you are assembling a community of born-again worshipers from every tribe, tongue, and nation to proclaim your matchless wisdom to the world and spiritual realm (Ephesians 3:1–10). All of history will culminate in your Son’s wedding to his beautiful bride (Revelation 21:1–2). Oh, Lord, help me treasure your bride as you do and pour myself out to build her up.
5. Lord, lead me in building others up with the gifts and opportunities you have given me.
Father, forgive me for long having a “me first” consumer mentality at church. Help me put others first and seek to use the spiritual gifts you have graciously entrusted to me to build up others (Ephesians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 14:12). Guide me in my interactions so others are blessed and you are glorified. Show me who to talk to, where to sit, and how to encourage others with Scripture. Help me be a channel of encouragement as we see the Day drawing near (Hebrews 10:24–25).
6. Lord, may our love greatly adorn the gospel.
Father, your Son said that the love we have for our brothers and sisters will proclaim to the world that we are your disciples (John 13:34–35). Deepen our love for one another and make us eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:1-3). Help us care for all, not showing favoritism.
[Tweet “Open the eyes of my heart to see the glorious hope we have in Christ.”]
May love compel us to strengthen the weak, bind up the injured, and serve patiently as we remember our service to others is service to you (Matthew 25:31–46). Help us model your unfathomable love for us in our honoring of one another, and so prove to the watching world Christ has risen and reigns.
7. Lord, protect us from evil men and evil ideas.
Lord, since the beginning, the enemy of our souls seeks to destroy your glorious purposes for the world and your people. We pray for your protection against all powers and principalities seeking to sow division, anger, envy, greed, and lust among your people. Keep evil men with destructive intent and unsound doctrines far from us. Expose our culture’s ugly lies and the lies we want to believe by setting our hearts on truth that leads to love, a good conscience, and sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5).
8. Lord, guide our leadership in faithfully shepherding the flock.
Thank You, Lord, for the gift of pastors and leaders. Strengthen our leaders’ faith and joy in the gospel and help them faithfully and unashamedly fulfill their ministry of shepherding the church and equipping the saints for ministry (Ephesians 4:11–13; 1 Peter 5:1–4). Give them great wisdom and direction in every aspect of ministry, and may their example show the church and the world who you are (Titus 2:7). Bless the wives and families of leaders with great gospel joy in the ministry. Help us honor them as your undershepherds who sacrifice much for our sake (Hebrews 13:17).
9. Lord, equip us for our mission on earth.
We are not saved by our good works, but for good works (Ephesians 2:8-10). Focus our hearts on the mission you have for us to share the gospel and make disciples of Christ (Matthew 28:18–20). Remind us how our marriages, family lives, work, and hobbies can be avenues to adorn the gospel through our proclamation and Christ-exalting lifestyles. Use our time as your gathered body to build us up and send us out for ministering your gospel, in the power of your Spirit, to our broken world.
10. Lord, deepen my longing for Christ’s return.
So often I pursue comfort and earthly joy in this sin-bent world when my heart should long for the return of Christ, our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). Help my time among your people draw me into your holy presence and show me the glories of a sin-and suffering-free eternity where we will worship you face-to-face (Revelation 21:1–4). Oh, Lord, I long for your presence and perfect restoration! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!