The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever (WSC 1)! Nowhere is this better pursued than in corporate worship together with your fellow members in the body of Christ. To that end, we must prepare our hearts for worship. Too often our weeks pass by in a blur; too often we are distracted with the busy thoughts of this life when we join the faithful in the pews. Walking with Christ is a marathon, not a sprint; walking with Christ requires endurance (Rom 5:3–4) and a loving pursuit of “our great God and Savior” (Tit 2:13) who loved us.

J. C. Ryle, the 19th century Anglican bishop, wrote on Mark 4:24–25:

This is a principle which we find continually brought forward in Scripture. All that believers have is undoubtedly of grace. Their repentance, faith, and holiness, are all the gift of God. But the degree to which a believer attains in grace, is ever set before us as closely connected with his own diligence in the use of means, and his own faithfulness in living fully up to the light and knowledge which he possesses. Indolence and laziness are always discouraged in God’s word. Labour and pains in hearing, reading, and prayer, are always represented as bringing their own reward. “The soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” (Prov. 13:4.) “An idle soul shall suffer hunger.” (Prov. 19:15.)
Attention to this great principle is the main secret of spiritual prosperity. The man who makes rapid progress in spiritual attainments,—who grows visibly in grace, and knowledge, and strength, and usefulness,—will always be found to be a diligent man. He leaves no stone unturned to promote his soul’s well-doing. He is diligent over his Bible, diligent in his private devotions, diligent as a hearer of sermons, diligent in his attendance at the Lord’s table. And he reaps according as he sows. Just as the muscles of the body are strengthened by regular exercise, so are the graces of the soul increased by diligence in using them.

J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Mark

To help you prepare your heart for worship, consider making use of the following resources.

Preparing Your Heart for Worship

Consider making use of a devotional that emphasizes the Gospel or that emphasizes worship. A good devotional on the Gospel is Milton Vincent’s A Gospel Primer for Christians. This devotional contains a few different sections, but the main one has a 31-day devotional series meant to be repeated. This devotional rehearses the truths of the Gospel.

A short read can be found at this blog post: TGC: Ready for Church?

A good devotional on worship can be found in Paul Tripp’s Sunday Matters: 52 Devotionals to Prepare Your Heart for Church.

There are many free ebooks available to download in a zip archive at the following link from Monergism: Monergism Ebook Library. You can view an alphabetical list here: List of Monergism Books.

Preparing Your Heart for the Lord’s Supper

In his devotional book The Lord’s Table,1 Andrew Murray (1828–1917) discusses how we should prepare our hearts before we come together for the Lord’s Supper and how we best benefit from our coming together afterwards. Beginning with the invitation the Sunday beforehand, this fourteen-day devotional also provides six days of preparation before our partaking (two on Saturday), two for the Sunday of, and six for the days afterwards.

Start reading The Lord’s Table here.

Robert Bruce wrote,

Therefore I say, we get no other thing in the Sacrament than we get in the Word. Content yourself with this. But if this is so, the Sacrament is not superfluous.
Would you understand, then, what new thing you get, what other things you get? I will tell you. Even if you get the same thing which you get in the Word, yet you get that same thing better. What is this “better”? You get a better grip of the same thing in the Sacrament than you got by the hearing of the Word. That same thing which you possess by the hearing of the Word, you now possess more fully. God has more room in your soul, through your receiving of the Sacrament, than he could otherwise have by your hearing of the Word only. What then, you ask, is the new thing we get? We get Christ better than we did before. We get the thing which we had more fully, that is, with a surer apprehension than we had before. We get a better grip of Christ now, for by the Sacrament my faith is nourished, the bounds of my soul are enlarged, and so where I had but a little grip of Christ before, as it were, between my finger and my thumb, now I get Him in my whole hand, and indeed the more my faith grows, the better grip I get of Christ Jesus. Thus the Sacrament is very necessary, if only for the reason that we get Christ better, and get a firmer grasp of Him by the Sacrament than we could have before.

Robert Bruce, The Mystery of the Lord’s Supper, trans. and e.d T. F. Torrance (London: James Clarke, 1958), 84–85
  1. Public Domain. You can also read it online here or download an ePub or PDF here. ↩︎