by Cynthia Ruchti
A wise person once said that the most important time in a worship service is before you enter the building. His point is that our preparation for worship (or lack of it) will make an enormous difference in how our worship is presented and received.
"Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing"--a much-loved hymn by Robert Robinson--feeds our understanding of what that might look like when its lyrics plead, "Tune my heart to sing Thy grace." Tune my heart before I sing, so I can sing, and so when I sing it blesses the heart of God.
On a Sunday morning, our out-of-tune approach to worship might sound like this:
Is it Sunday again? Sure would be nice to sleep in for once. But I'd never hear the end of it from my pastor/the deacon's wife/my family. Might as well go and get this over with.
A heart ready for worship? Tuned? Hardly.
The Bible notes several similar hindrances to our reaching God's ear, whether in prayer or in worship.
Psalm 66:18 tells us that if we "regard sin in our heart," the Lord won't hear us. Another version says, "If we're conscious of unconfessed sin, what we want to communicate to the Lord won't reach any farther than the ceiling."
The Bible also tells us we're out of order or out of tune if we presume to come before the Lord when an unresolved relationship conflict is standing in the way. We're not prepared for worship, as Matthew 5:23 states, if a brother has a grievance against us. Verse twenty-four says, "Leave your gift at the altar and go. First make peace with your brother, and then come back and present your gift."
A husband is told in no uncertain terms that he won't be granted an audience with the Lord is he treats his wife poorly, if he turns his back on her needs (I Corinthians 7:5).
In Zechariah 7:11-13, we're given a window into the pain of an untuned heart attempting to reach out to the heart of God. Our rebellion and stubbornness make our voice so foul-sounding to Him that He refuses to listen or respond.
If writing is an act of worship--as it is for many of us--wouldn't those same principles apply to tuning our hearts before we attempt to write?
- Confessing any known sin to clear the air between us and the Lord.
- Keeping relationships in good repair.
- Treating those we love with kindness.
- Obeying what God asks of us in other areas of life.
What might happen if we came to our computer keyboards with our hearts tuned to write His grace?
What's your pre-writing routine? Does it include tuning your heart?
Cynthia Ruchti is celebrating the recent release of her latest novel, As Waters Gone By, another of her stories hemmed in hope. You can connect with her at cynthiaruchti.com.