Batting 1.000% in Worship
(1st in a Series)
In 1st Timothy, the Holy Spirit is instructing a young pastor (Timothy) through an older Apostle (Paul). I want to look at two specific exhortations— 1 Timothy 2:1 (HCSB) “First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone,”and 1 Timothy 4:13 (HCSB) “Until I come, give your attention to public reading, exhortation, and teaching.” In these two verses there are three priorities given for public worship—Corporate (Public) Prayer, Scripture Reading, and Preaching/Teaching. These three are not an exhaustive list of worship elements. However, the case can be made that they are all in the top five things that should happen in EVERY worship service.
I have the privilege of being in different Concord Baptist churches on a regular basis. Let me evaluate our success in following these exhortations in baseball terms—we are 1 for 3 on most Sundays. Preaching/teaching in our churches is strong—almost always a single, usually a double or triple, and many Pastors hit home runs multiple times a year. We hit a lot of foul balls and pop-ups when it comes to corporate prayer and Scripture reading. Let me say, a little thought and preparation could greatly improve the biblical batting average of our services. First, we should all realize that the words to our music are usually meant to be a form of corporate prayer. Yep—I said it, Baptists use written prayers every Sunday we just don’t know it. Lyrics to hymns, choruses, and spiritual songs cover the entire spectrum of types of prayer. They are praise, thanksgiving, confession (remember confession means agreement about the truth), petition, intercession, and the list goes on. Yet, often I see people not singing. Do they not agree with the prayer? Some people, based on their facial expressions, are singing by rote memory and not really considering the words coming out of their mouths.
Let me encourage you –this Sunday, really focus on the words of each song and sing them as a joyful prayer to the Lord.
(To be continued…)