It could be argued that nothing more important is going to happen in your town this week than when your church gathers to worship. God re-seen and His people re-made. What hour could outrank that one?
In the 1960/61 football season the Green Bay Packers had played well. They were ahead in the final quarter of the NFL Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but they got sloppy and blew the lead, losing the championship to Philadelphia. Green Bay was devastated and so was their head coach, Vince Lombardi.
Late the next summer Lombardi called the 38 professional athletes together to begin their training camp for a new season. He walked to the front of the room, held up a football and uttered what has become an iconic motivational 5-word sentence. “Gentlemen,” he said, “this is a football.” Everyone knew this preseason would be about basics. They would be right. Six months later the Green Bay Packers beat the New York Giants 37 – 0 to win the NFL championship. They would win five of the next seven seasons. Now, more than half a century later, the annual winner of the Super Bowl still receives the Lombardi trophy.
What might happen if, as leaders of God’s church, we were as committed to excellence? What if the elders and the worship committee were to come together following mid-week prayer service and pray the worship plans into existence?
What if the morning hymn was chosen because of its majesty and not just because “we haven’t sung this one for a while”? What if the participants were to think through what should be included in the morning prayer? A time of praise and thanksgiving; a time of repentance; a time of supplication for the lost including those who at that moment are driving by outside; for the deep needs of our nation; that God would break our hearts with the things that break His…
What if we’d ask Him what He wants us to pray for? Jesus desired that His church should be a house of prayer. What does that mean? Is that the most important part of the service? Should it be? If it is, how should we prepare for it?
Should it sound a lot like last week’s, or should it be built around this week’s needs and crises? Should there be a time for the congregation to voice its praises?
Should more than one person pray? Should there be a palpable intensity that this isn’t just a ritual, but an experience where the worshipers sense they have been invited into the throne room of the universe? Should we conclude with a hushed, “Hear Our Prayer, O Lord…” or an exultant line of worship, “All hail the power of Jesus’ name…”
Please know I am not attempting to script the worship service at your church, but rather to urge that we bathe it in prayer so He can create a truly life-transforming event every week. Back to basics with sanctified excellence.
By Don Jacobsen