Peter Jones has some very good suggestions on preparing for worship in his piece Preparing for the Lord’s Day on the Kuyperian Commentary. I especially like his comments under the heading Preparation During the Week. There are many good suggestions here for having one’s mind set well for worship.
However, I would make one significant corrective that will impact these suggestions. These suggestions should start with a Christocentric focus. The question then becomes, what I can expect from God in worship and how will He feed me rather than what I should do to prepare for worship. When we focus on Christ we will naturally be driven to what we must do to prepare for worship. But the starting place should always be Christ. Worship should not be a slavish work, but a joyful union with our bridegroom.
Isaiah 6 portrays this idea beautifully. In that passage, Isaiah was in the temple. Upon looking at the beauty of the Lord, Isaiah is driven to confession of his sin. Thereafter, God gives Isaiah His word and gives him a commission. Psalm 27:4 expresses this desire quite poetically:
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to meditate in his temple.
We must remember what Paul writes in Romans 12:1, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Our example for a worship that is spiritual sacrifice is found in the book of Leviticus. The sacrificial animal was brought to the alter, cut up, placed on the alter, and burned. The smoke made a pleasing aroma to God. We should do likewise. When we enter the church, we should be prepared to be cut up. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12. While we need to be prepared to engage in the transaction, we must remember this is all God’s action, not ours.
Where this outlook affects our preparation is a shift from our own sin to an eager expectation of what God will do to us in worship and on the Sabbath. Where I find the most striking change is the suggestions contained in “Preparation on Saturday,” “What to do if I have had a bad Week,” and “Looking Back.” Rather than prepare for austerity of cold cereal and left overs on Sunday, I suggest we feast with steak and wine, good fresh vegetables, and crème burly. Roast or Salmon would work just as well; so would chocolate ice cream. Then when you’ve had a bad week, I suggest, rather than starting with an examination of self, start with an eager expectation of how God will work in you through worship, whether by comforting you in your soul or correcting you in your sin. Finally, in Looking Back, I suggest you not critique yourself without asking the question first what God accomplished in me on this Lord’s Day. We want to start with His expectations and His leading in our Lord’s Day service.