Preparing to Pray

How well do we prepare to worship God? How do we prepare to pray? I have heard many stories of families arguing bitterly on the way to a place of worship, only to emerge from their vehicles with smiles and joyful greetings to all as they enter the assembly. I remember once refusing to participate in the Lord’s Supper because of a disagreement I had not resolved with another Christian. I was stunned when that person sought me out immediately after the service, seeking to make right what had gone wrong between us. They had noticed my choosing not to partake, and guessed my reasoning correctly.
While the Bible records prayers offered in anger and lament, some prayed by people with checkered moral or ethical histories, prayers like that of Psalm 26 suggest preparation for worship in attitude, choices of association, and lifestyle. The Psalmist confesses, too, an awareness that strikes me as foundational for our practice of prayer when he prays:

“Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness” (Psalm 26:2-3).

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