Sunday Morning: 5 Practical Ways to Prepare for It

Does your heart sometimes feel so crowded, busy, and burdened down on Sunday morning that when you finally get to church, you find that there is little room for drinking from the teaching and preaching from the Word? Not only that, but the busyness of your heart then makes it difficult for you to be intentional about speaking truth into the lives of those around you? Does Sunday morning ever just feel hard to you?

I know I often feel this way. I am guessing that many of you do as well.

In my recent post, Believer, the Local Church is for Your Spiritual Good, I shared some reasons for why regular gathering with believers in a local church setting is for our spiritual good. We need the local church for spiritual instruction and growth, we need it for mutual encouragement, and we need it for accountability–to keep prodding each other on towards godliness as we look towards Christ’s return. 

As a follow-up to that post, I want to provide a few considerations of ways to be a little more intentional about prioritizing Sundays and preparing for Sunday morning so that our hearts are ready to learn from the Word and edify and build up those around us.

1. Preparing starts on Saturday

In considering ways to prepare for Sunday morning, I want to suggest that preparing our hearts for Sunday should start on Saturday, if not even earlier in the week.

Doing this requires a little bit of a mindset shift since we often view Saturdays as our day off, our day to sleep in, our day to have a slow morning, our day to work on projects around the house, or our day to just enjoy doing life together as a family. While none of these things are bad, it is often easy to do these things and neglect the other good things that we should be doing as well–the regular, everyday responsibilities that we would normally be doing if it were a weekday.

Are there routine tasks that you normally do on weekdays but then find easy to let slide on Saturday? Perhaps being intentional about keeping up with those tasks is one step towards eliminating the chaos that culminates on Sunday.

To be a little more specific, here are some ways that I try to use my Saturday to prepare for Sunday:

2. Clean up the kitchen

Nothing makes preparing meals more difficult than a messy kitchen, so while it is easy to slack off on cleaning up the kitchen on Saturday, resist the urge. Before you go to bed, clean off the counters so that when you work on breakfast in the morning, you’re not having to work around dirty dishes. A clean kitchen goes a long way towards having a good start to the day!  

3. Clean up common areas

Once again, having common areas picked up from all the random toys, diapers, and who knows what else that get scattered from one end to the other makes for one less thing to crowd your Sunday morning. When you’re scrambling to find that missing shoe, you might have a better chance of finding it if there aren’t a dozen other shoes to trip over on your way to look for it.

In general, a picked-up home helps make life so much easier!

4. Simplify breakfast

While it is tempting to try to make a nice, hot breakfast on Sunday, it really can make for a busier morning than it needs to be. I am learning to make Sunday morning breakfast be meals that take little to no time to get on the table. Personally, my family favors having a hot breakfast, so two of my favorite recipes to make for Sunday morning are baked oatmeal and bran muffins, both recipes that are best when mixed up the night before! These can then bake while you read for a few minutes or finish getting ready for the day. Coffee cakes or breakfast egg casseroles also do well when mixed up the night before! (And of course, cold cereal or pop tarts can also do the job of filling empty tummies!) 

If time, however, isn’t an issue for you but you find yourself spending way too much time trying to figure out what to make, make a meal plan so that, come Sunday morning, you know exactly what you’re making instead of having to deal with the “What should I make for breakfast? Oh, what should I make?” predicament. 

Finally, for the ultimate breakfast hack: find the meal that your family likes and is super easy to make and then make that every Sunday morning!

5. Quiet your heart before the Lord

It is easy to rush, rush, rush on Sundays when you know that you have a deadline for when you all have to get out the door. But preparing your heart before the craziness begins is an important step towards preparing for success in the more practical areas of the morning. I know sometimes it is literally impossible to squeeze in even just five minutes of Bible reading, but if at all possible, plan on Saturday to make sure you have even just a few minutes on Sunday morning to quiet your heart before the Lord. 

This may look different for each person. For one person, it might mean listening to a chapter of an audio Bible as you get ready; for another, it might be bringing to the Lord the burden that has been crowding your heart over the past few days; for yet another, it might be getting up a little earlier to sit down to read the Word for fifteen minutes or taking a minute to intentionally review that memory verse that is stuck on the kitchen window sill.

Whatever it may look like for you in your particular season of life, make it a priority to remember that today–Sunday–is the day that we have set aside to gather with the saints to build each other up and to sit under the teaching and preaching of the Word.   

As the weekend comes around each week, these are some of the ways that have helped me use Saturdays to help prepare my heart for Sundays. In no way are these ideas fool-proof or exhaustive. However, I hope that you might find one or two to be helpful in eliminating some of the Sunday morning craziness, allowing your heart to worship, learn, and serve alongside fellow believers with genuine joy and love!


For some more practical tips, Rachel shares some more ways in this post.

Believer, the Local Church is for Your Spiritual Good

Gathering with the local church

Do you ever feel like gathering with fellow believers on Sunday mornings is a habit that you do because it is just that–a habit? I know I can feel that way sometimes. However, despite our tendency to get caught in the routine of it, God designed gathering with the local church to be so much more than a habit or an opportunity to socialize! He designed the local church for our good!

All throughout the New Testament, we read about the local church: we read about who should be in positions of leadership, specific practices to have within the local church, as well how we should serve in the local church and interact with each other, to name just a few topics. As we consider what Scripture teaches about the local church, one overarching theme woven throughout it all is that gathering with the local church is for the spiritual growth of the believer.

But what exactly does this mean? How is physically gathering with a group of other believers supposed to affect one’s spiritual growth?

Here are three reasons to consider:

Spiritual growth is designed to happen in the context of the local church.

Ephesians 4:12-13 tells us that the spiritual leaders of the local church are given “to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” The picture of the universal church being a body takes on flesh and blood in the context of the local church: each member takes on a role and a function for the healthy functioning of the local body of believers. In his excellent book What is a Healthy Church Member, Thabiti Anyabwile sums up this passage with this simple statement: “Ephesians 4:11-16 offers a pretty strong argument that participation in the body of Christ is the main way in which Christ strengthens and matures us” (pg. 91).

And so we believe that attending and participating in a local church is the particular means that God has given us for the growth and edification of every believer.

Spiritual growth is designed to happen while we sit under the teaching and preaching of the Word of God.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good word.” We see here the role that Scripture plays in a believer’s spiritual growth: God uses Scripture to complete and equip the believer. While it is vital that a believer be reading the Word throughout the week, God has designed the local church to provide spiritual leadership and instruction for the growth and maturity of the Body, as we’ve already seen from Ephesians

Spiritual growth is designed to happen when we worship and fellowship with the believers.

In Ephesians 5:19, we are instructed to address “one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.”
When we open our mouths and speak words of praise to God for His enduring faithfulness, steadfast love, and never-ceasing grace and mercy, we remind each other of God’s work in each of our lives.

When we sing of the dark valleys that God takes His children through and also the tender compassion He has towards His children, we encourage each other to keep pressing forward with our eyes on the Savior who walks beside us.

When we sing of the cross that saves, we rehearse to each other who we once were and who we have now become because of Christ.

Indeed, there is incredible spiritual worth in lifting our voices together in song to build each other up in songs and hymns and spiritual songs. We must not take this task lightly.

However, as much as we know in our minds the importance of this regular gathering with the saints, it is easy to let it slip, isn’t it? Hebrews 10:24-25 warns us to guard against getting lazy in encouraging each other through this intentional gathering: “And let us consider how to stir up on another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Because of this tendency to slack off on gathering together for instruction, mutual encouragement, and accountability, we must make church a part of our regular, weekly rhythm. Our weekly gathering together with fellow believers is important for our spiritual growth and maturity, both for ourselves and for the other believers around us.

The next time you find yourself going through the motions as you head to church, remind yourself of God’s divine purpose for the local church in your life and thank Him for it!

Learning from the Godly Moms of Great Men

In what was originally a blog post series, Tim Challies shares eleven short biographical sketches of the mothers of godly men who have left their mark in history and how these mothers impacted the lives of their sons. These men include men such as Charles Spurgeon, D. L. Moody, John Newton, and J. Gresham Machen. In very brief chapters, Challies highlights women who had great wealth and great poverty, women with a higher education and very little education, women who had a number of children and few children, as well as women who were married and widowed. Their circumstances were as varied as a group of eleven women’s circumstances today would be. However, all these women had one thing in common: they loved their sons.

As varied as these women’s circumstances were, God also used a variety of means to impact these men. One mom diligently prayed for the salvation of her son; another mom consistently responded with love and gentleness when her son questioned his faith. While most of these women were already believers when they were raising their sons, one mom became a believer after her son was already an adult. Another mom was simply faithful to the tasks that were set before her: to work hard so she could provide for her children.

And God used these women to impact the world through their sons.

I really appreciate the devotional-like quality of Devoted and am thankful for how it reminded me of the incredible potential that God has given to us as mothers. Sometimes I get incredibly weary of being a mom; sometimes I even resent the sacrifices that I sometimes have to make because of being a mom. However, as I finished the last page of Devoted, I was thankful for the encouragement that, even in my most weary and frustrating day of parenting, God can still use my feeble and sin-marked efforts to bring about good in the life of my child.

Fellow mom, if you’ve ever wondered whether what you’re doing as a mom is making a difference in the life of your children, this book can help you see that God does, and can, use the seemingly everyday and insignificant things that we do to impact the lives of our children.

Suffering: Gospel Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense — A Book Review

Note: I read this book quite some time ago and was incredibly blessed by it. With the recent events going on in our world, we at Hearts Refreshed thought it would be an appropriate book to recommend to you. – Angie


Suffering: Gospel Hope when Life Doesn’t Make Sense by Paul David Tripp is an outstanding book that addresses many of the questions that pass through our minds as we walk through seasons of suffering: Why did God allow this to happen? How can God be good? What is the purpose for this suffering? Why me? Because Tripp himself has walked through a season of intense physical suffering, he is able to write with great empathy and compassion towards those who are suffering.

Although his personal experience with suffering does give an element of validity to the message of his book, Tripp does not allow it to be the primary focus of the book. Instead, while weaving in parts of how God has used suffering in his own life, Tripp seeks to give his ideal audience–those who have gone through or who are going through a season of suffering–what he calls a “street level” understanding of what Scripture has to say about suffering. He seeks to give his readers a practical understanding of Scriptural truths and the impact these truths have on how one deals with suffering.

In the first half of the book, Tripp uses these personal experiences to identify and discuss a number of traps that one tends to fall into, either while in the midst of suffering, or after having gone through it. As I read about the traps of awareness, fear, envy, doubt, denial, and discouragement, I repeatedly found myself thinking Yes! That is exactly how I felt as I was walking through the grief of our miscarriage! It was so comforting to know that the myriad of emotions that flooded my heart and mind were not unique to me.

However, Tripp does not leave his readers with simply a greater awareness of the various emotions they are experiencing. The second half of Suffering discusses specific aspects of the character of God and how each aspect gives unique comfort. With his down-to-earth and personal style, Tripp digs into Scripture to show how one can find comfort that is grounded in the unchanging truths of Scripture and God’s character.

Suffering seems to be specifically directed towards those whom God has called to walk through a form of suffering that just “doesn’t make sense,” as part the subtitle suggests. However, I believe anyone who reads this book will be incredibly encouraged by it, for we have all gone through one form of suffering or another.

As it acknowledges the reality of suffering and addresses many of the practical aspects of what one goes through during a period of suffering, the beauty of this book lies in how it points its readers towards finding lasting comfort through a growing understanding of the character and ways of God.

I highly recommend this book.

To Learn From A Child

Sometimes I wish I could be more like my two-and-a-half year old daughter.

She wakes up in the morning and snuggles up with me on the couch, happy to be sitting on my lap.

She doesn’t ever wonder about where her next meal is coming from.

She plays with her toys, taking joy in the moment.

She trails behind her Papa as he works outside, delighted just to be with him.

She lays her head down at night, closing her eyes and sleeping soundly until morning comes.

As a young child, she is a stranger to my tendency to lie awake at night, worrying about endless ‘what-ifs”, whether or not I cleaned the germs off the door knobs well enough, or the serious-toned conversation that happened at the dinner table.

The Bible calls adults to become like little children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven; their complete and simple trust in the Father for salvation reveals to us what it means to trust the Father. To take our need to become like children a step further, I would say that children often help us better understand to trust God in other areas as well.

My daughter begins and ends each day with such a carefree spirit because she trusts us, her parents, to take care of her. We’ve cared for her in the past, so why should she fear that we won’t continue to do so tomorrow, and the next day, and the next? As imperfect and fallible as we are, she still trusts us to take care of her.

My daughter has learned that if she needs something, all she needs to do is ask and we will take care of that need. If I, as a frail and limited human parent, desire to care for my daughter’s needs and delight in doing so, how much more should we trust our heavenly Father who is divinely capable of meeting our needs?

Why can we not be more like a child, especially when we have our heavenly Father caring for us?

With COVID-19 at the forefront of our lives these days, it is so easy to allow our fears to overwhelm our hearts and fill our minds with worry and anxiety. However, God has been faithful in the past and will continue to be faithful in the days to come, no matter what they may bring. Can we not trust Him?

Matthew 10:29-31 reminds us that He takes care of the common sparrow and keeps count of the hairs of our head. If He manages such small and insignificant details, how much more will He take care of us, the ones who are made in His image, the ones He gave His only Son for?

Oh to learn what it means to lean completely on the Father’s good and perfect care for His children.