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.