Fifteen Psalms (Psalm 120-134) begin with the title “Song of the Degrees (or Ascents).” It is believed that these songs were sung as Hebrew worshipers made their way up to Jerusalem for the festivals of worship.
There are many requests we might pray on our way to worship this Sunday, but I’d like to share four, inspired by the final four “Psalms of Ascents,” that every church member should pray on their way to church.
- Pray that your church is a place of humility
“Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty; neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.” (Psalm 131.1)
Worship requires humility before God, so, if church is to be a place of worship, it must be a place of humility. Humility before God will make us humble toward each other. Since an humble spirit does not come naturally to us, we need God’s Spirit to create this heart within us.
- Pray that your church will have an awareness of God’s presence
“The Lord has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his habitation.” (Psalm 132.13)
We know that God is omnipresent, but we need an awareness of His manifest presence. Believers are often concerned about being in the presence of other people, but seem to lack a sense that when we worship we come into God’s presence. Worship is an encounter with God. When believers gather, if only two or three, God is there.
- Pray that your church will experience unity
“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” (Psalm 133.1)
If the first two requests are answered, this third will surely follow. I love the quote from A. W. Tozer,
Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers [meeting] together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.
A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
- Pray that your church will be a place of ministry
“Bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the LORD.” (Psalm 134.1)
This reminds us that the place of worship is also a place of work. Our worship of God should be the fuel for our service to Him and others. We can’t simply sing our songs, read our Scripture, pray our prayers and think we’ve fulfilled our obligation. The faith we profess on Sunday is to be lived out on Monday (and every other day). Service and worship are not two options between which we choose, they are two interrelated responses to entering the presence of God.
As you prepare to worship with other believers this Sunday, why not spend some time praying for your church?