family_at_church__29086__89715.1294352886.1280.1280The following is a summary  of the chapter “Preparing for the Preached Word” (used with permission)

1. Before coming to God’s house to hear His Word, prepare yourself and your family with prayer. The Puritans said we should dress our bodies for worship and our souls with prayer. Pray for the conversion of sinners, the edification of saints, and the glorification of God’s triune name. Pray for children, teenagers, and the elderly. Pray for listening ears and understanding hearts. Pray for yourself.

2. Come with a hearty appetite for the Word. A good appetite promotes good digestion and growth. Peter encouraged spiritual appetite, saying, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).

Likewise, Solomon advised, ”Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to offer the sacrifice of fools” (Ecclesiastes 5:1). A good appetite for the Word means having a tender, teachable heart (2 Chronicles 13:7) that asks, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6). It is foolish to expect a blessing if you come to worship with a hardened, unprepared, or worldly-minded heart.

“Make sure you and your children get enough sleep on Saturday night, then get up early on Sunday morning to prepare for worship without rushing.”

3. Meditate on the importance of the preached Word as you enter God’s house.

The high and holy triune God of heaven and earth is meeting with you to speak directly to you. Thomas Boston wrote, “The voice is on earth,

[but] the speaker is in heaven” (Acts 10:33). What an awe-inspiring thought! Since the gospel is the Word of God, not the word of man, come to church looking for God. Furthermore, remember that every Sabbath you are receiving spiritual food and supplies for the coming week.

4. Remember as you enter the house of God that you are entering a battleground.

Many enemies will oppose your listening. Internally, you may be distracted by worldly cares and employments, lusts of the flesh, cold hearts, and critical spirits. Externally, you may be distracted by the temperature or weather, behavior or dress of others, noises, or people moving about. Satan opposes your listening to God’s Word with might and main…. Pray repeatedly for strength to overcome all your enemies by listening well.

5. Finally, come with a loving, expectant faith (Psalm 62:1, 5).

Be swift to hear, slow to speak, and determined, like Mary, to ponder God’s Word in your heart. Come pleading God’s promise that His Word will not return to Him void (Isaiah 55:10–11). Come with reverential fear of God and His majesty. Come with reverential delight in God and His Word (Psalm 119:97, 103). Say like David in Psalm 119:140, “Thy word is very pure; therefore thy servant loveth it.”