Practical Discipleship involves methods of training up disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the great Gospel commission, Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” KJV, Matthew 28:18-20, emphasis added.
Now, no one can pick up a Bible, point to a verse, and pontificate: “This is where Christ commanded the form and liturgy of how to conduct your personal devotional worship.” I would not wish to pompously advocate that there is only one manner of worship acceptable to God. However, I want to help those who find their devotional time stagnating, for whatever reason, to understand that we can place ourselves on a vantage ground, a firm foundation, of practical process which will not only strengthen us spiritually on a personal level but also enhance our public worship.
Before diving into the practical process, I want to illustrate to you where I’m coming from on this issue. Before one can perform professionally as an athlete or an entertainer, one must submit to personal training and rehearsals before the actual performance. Athletes will individually process through a venue of conditioning exercises focused on their strength, endurance, and speciality of purpose. Then they will, in team sports, process through various scenarios of strategic importance as a team. A game plan is conceived, rehearsed, and finally executed on game day. Those that are in the best shape physically and mentally will perform at greater levels of proficiency. Their performance will be more enjoyable, more rewarding.
Entertainers do the same. Actors will personally do that which will prepare them for their roles, i.e. gain or lose weight, acquire dance or martial techniques that will reduce risk of injury while heightening the thrill of the moment, and then they will come together to rehearse the scenes within the acts that culminate in the play or movie in which they have a part.
Now consider the role of worship. I prefer the traditional liturgy of the Seventh-day Adventist public worship service. We have an opening hymn, opening prayer, study of God’s Word (Sabbath School, or sermon), closing hymn, and closing prayer. Find that too boring? Possibly its because you haven’t been personally preparing for your role in the service on a daily basis. I know that I haven’t been as involved as I should be. Worship isn’t a spectator sport! But after praying for revival and reformation in my personal life, it has brought about a change in my attitude towards God and fellow worshippers on Sabbath. Try it out. Take it for a test run. Give it a chance by not abandoning it soon.