Vol.XIV No.IV Pg.1
June 1977

Learning To Worship

Robert F. Turner

"The preacher's eyes I've never seen Though light in them may shine;

For when he prays he closes his, And when he preaches, mine."


If I knew who wrote it I wouldn't embarrass him by telling. Besides, if the writer had been worshiping as he should, he wouldn't know that other's eyes are closed during prayer.

That preacher had probably made a studied effort to learn how to get and keep attention; how many of us make a studied effort to give attention? Both sides may he failing.

Granting (please do, or I'll feel terrible) that absolute and unstraying attention is impossible; surely there is some way to improve single mindedness in the public worship. Perhaps the most important prerequisite is an honest appraisal of our desire. If we do not care — are so little acquainted with true worship as to think "attending," "visiting," and gazing about the auditorium is all God expects of us — there is little use in going further with this.

But people who really want to worship God can improve their efforts. No. 1— "make not provision for the flesh" (Rom. 13:14) i.e., do not sit where there are distractions — move toward the front of the building. Unless you are forced (small children, physical disability, etc.) you cannot afford to overlook this means of improving your attention span and enriching your worshiping experience.

Practice charity —- hear the monotone singer as one who sings to God; and the trite expressions in prayer as the efforts of an embarrassed man, saying what he thinks is expected. (You can pray your own prayer you know; and if you lead publicly, you can set better examples for others. )

Listen with a view to learning! Take notes, reason through the process, being critical in a positive fashion. Better to forsake the preacher while making a note of your own, than to drift sleepily in "limbo." And when you drift, apologize to God, right then. Ask His help, and worship will become meaningful.