Last month I began a blog post series on worship called “Worshiping the Triune God.” This series comes out of my own interest in Christian worship, but also out of our Worship Team’s desire to teach about worship. So, I offered to write a monthly post on the topic, which will mostly involve exploring the various elements of our worship service. Having said that, the element of worship I want to address today is not common in our worship services. It is called the prelude.
According to Dictionary.com, a prelude is: “a preliminary to an action, event, condition, or work of broader scope and higher importance.” Applied to a worship service, a prelude is the bit of music played before the official worship service begins. So, why do I bother addressing this element of worship if we don’t do it? Because of what it represents. As I understand it, a prelude is preparation for worship—a chance for the worshiper to quiet her heart and prepare to worship the Triune God.
Actually, my interest in the prelude is more symbolic than not. As much as I enjoy a few quiet moments before the worship service to prepare my heart for what is coming, I’m actually more concerned about the preparation that occurs through the week. It’s one thing to prepare for the worship service on Sunday morning, but it’s another to prepare for the worship service through the week. Do you prepare your heart for Sunday morning? I hope so, because I believe this sort of intentionality will help you more fully enter into the worship service.
So, what kind of preparation do I refer to? For starters, are you getting enough sleep? Every Sunday morning I see exhausted people sitting in the sanctuary. I know that some of this exhaustion is natural, as there are busy seasons of life and work. (Just ask the parents of a newborn about exhaustion!) But I’m also pretty sure most of us could be getting more sleep if we made it a priority, which would help us be more alert and alive in the sanctuary. Another form of preparation is daily Bible reading. When we read Scripture on a regular basis, we come to the worship service having tasted and seen that the Lord is good, and we’re hungry for more of him. My point is that in order to worship the Lord well on Sunday morning in the sanctuary, we must prepare ourselves through the week. We must make the prelude a priority.
I wonder what our weekly worship experience would be like if we spent a bit of time in preparation?