O you who hear prayer, to you shall all flesh come. (Psalm 65:2, ESV) This verse gives God the title of “The One Who Hears prayer.” Here is Calvin’s comment on this verse.
“The title here given to God carries with it a truth of great importance, that the answer of our prayers is secured by the fact, that in rejecting them he would in a sense deny his own nature. The Psalmist does not say, that God has heard prayer in this or that instance, but gives him the name hearer of prayer, as what constitutes an abiding part of his glory, so that he might as soon deny himself as shut his ear to our petitions. Could we only impress this upon our minds, that it is something peculiar to God and inseparable from him, to hear prayer, it would inspire us with unfailing confidence. The power of helping us he can never want, so that nothing can stand in the way of a successful issue [result] of our supplications.”
“I have counseled many teenagers and their parents, it has become very clear to me that few teenagers leave because of the rules. No, they leave because of the relationship. They leave because the relationship with their parents has gotten so bad, so angry, so confrontational, so adversarial that they cannot stand to live under the same roof with them. Sadly, this happens frequently in the homes of believers.” (Paul Tripp, Age of Opportunity.)
Last week I posted some ways to get ready for worship during the week. But what do you do if everything goes awry?
What to do if I have had a bad week?
All of us, no matter how well we have prepared, can have a bad week or a bad Sunday morning. What do you do when the train jumps the tracks?
1. First, ask yourself if this is a sin problem. Did you prepare as you ought to have? Were you lazy throughout the week and it caught up with you? Did you fail to discipline the children Monday through Saturday, but then tried to get them in line on Sunday morning? Did you stay up until 1 am Saturday night watching movies? It is a sin to be lazy in our preparation to enter God’s house. If you have been lazy, repent, turn to Christ and trust in him to forgive your sins. Then enter God’s house knowing that you are forgiven. After worship, evaluate practical ways to be more diligent in your preparation.
2. However, perhaps the week went awry, not from sin, but because of God’s Providence. God is not obligated to honor our preparations. You may have prepared like a Boy Scout, but God decided he had something else. Maybe a child was sick all night Saturday and you got no sleep. Or a pipe busted or a car broke down or a friend needed help late Saturday night. These things do happen. When God thwarts your preparations it is because he wants to teach you to depend upon him. When this happens maintain your joy, compensate where you can (have frozen pizzas on hand for Sunday lunch), and enter God’s house knowing that he is in control. Trust that he is good and brought this into your life because he loves you. Then ask what he wants you to learn from this.
One final note. When Sunday is over, evaluate how it went. What could you change to come in more prepared? Husbands are you helping out as much as you can to get your family ready in body and soul? Wives, did you decide your work week ended on Friday when your husband got off? Children, did you help mom and Dad enter God’s house with joy? Singles, did you spend Saturday night selfishly or looking with gladness to ascending to the throne of God? Did you respond to unexpected challenges and obstacles with grace and trust in God? Did you prepare for the Lord’s Day with joy? Or were a grim taskmaster as you got ready?
It is our great privilege to come before God each Sunday with his people. We cannot expect him to bless sloppiness. Nor can we expect him to be glorified if we are lazy in our preparation. We are coming before the King of Kings. Let us prepare with discipline and zeal for that great honor.