Do you remember what it was like to get ready for school each day? We take our clothes out the night before, get our lunches ready, do our homework, and study for tests. Sure, sometimes it might be last minute, and we are rushing to get an assignment done or to catch the bus, but there is still some thought and preparation that goes into it.
At work, we spend time preparing our schedules for the week and for presentations, meetings, or reviews.
When we hear that there is going to be a big storm, we make sure we have gas in our cars, shovels (in case of snow), and flashlights and candles. We cover up or bring in patio furniture or toys that are scattered in the yard and buy enough food and water to get us through a couple of days…just in case.
We consult recipe books and go food shopping for necessary ingredients to prepare for our weekly meals.
These are just a few examples of preparations we take in our natural lives, but how much preparation do we actually do in our spiritual lives?
Matthew 25 tells the story of the ten virgins. Five were wise and prepared with their lamps full of oil. Five were foolish and did not bring extra oil with them. The bridegroom came at night, and without enough oil to light their lamps, the foolish virgins couldn’t see. So they did not get to meet and be known by the bridegroom because they weren’t prepared.
We know we need to be prepared to see our Maker one day (although hopefully that’s a long time away). But that’s the big picture. What about the weekly picture?
On Sunday mornings (or Saturday nights) the deaconesses prepare the bread, wine, and sacrament cloths, while those who are to teach Sunday school and preach the sermon search the scriptures for inspiration from God.
But for the rest of us brothers and sisters, what do we do to prepare?
In the morning, we get dressed and make sure to bring snacks, water, and things to hopefully keep the kids quiet. But other than that, do we do anything? Do we ask God to shower us with His blessings, to show us His gifts, to answer prayers of those in need or to deliver a message meant just for us?
The way we prepare for school, work, and trips is the way we should be preparing our minds for church services. So many times we find ourselves distracted in church — our minds drift to the many things we have to do, and we may even peek at our phone.
At church conferences or campouts, we probably find that we aren’t as distracted with the natural things of life. I think the difference between campouts and regular church services is that when we go to campouts, we have the mindset that for the week (or weekend) we are going to focus on God, being uplifted and fellowshipping with the saints through singing, sports, and conversations. And while we’re there, we experience people giving their lives to the Lord, the gift of tongues spoken, and visions seen. But it’s a little more “boring” at the weekday night service and on Sunday morning.
But how wonderful would it be if we can have that camplike experience every Wednesday night or Sunday morning service?
If, every week before church, we prepare ourselves for the Lord’s blessing — through prayer, fasting, and reading — then maybe we won’t be so distracted and we’ll be able to leave the world behind for those couple of hours and allow the Lord to pierce our hearts and fill our cups.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.