Reclaiming Sunday Morning
Have you ever felt attacked by Satan? Have you ever lived the struggle of Romans 8, desperately wanting to do what is right and good in God’s eyes but being tripped up by temptation and falling into sin? I have. Romans 8 is a great reminder for all of us that ‘to fall is human’ and I appreciate those passages that encourage me letting me know that I am not alone in my struggle against the trinity of bedlam: the world, the flesh, and the devil.
I see the same struggles within my children and no morning suffers the hand of the demons like Sunday morning. As my mentor and friend Barbara once told me “Satan is willing to do just about anything to keep a believer from getting to church on Sunday.” And isn’t that true??
How many of your families suffer Sunday mornings with extra fighting and scuffling, with bad attitudes and ugly words, and never enough patience to handle it all properly? We realized this one morning while we drove to Church down Seward-Meridian in Wasilla, AK. In the back of the van was a screaming match between two of our children. Hubby turned to me and said, “I don’t even feel like worshipping God this morning. This has to stop.”
And so, we began to wage war against the deviltry that attacked our home Sunday mornings. We chose to reclaim the Lord’s Day with active and decisive measures to battle against the trinity of bedlam in our home. This is how we did it:
We set our minds to the task of praying. We needed wisdom and guidance from the One who’s day was being demolished by the sinfulness in our hearts.
We prayed for: strength, patience, conviction, endurance
Especially endurance! If any of you know children, or have strong-willed children of your own, you know their tenacity rivals the worst of a bulldog. They are ‘in it’ to win…which sometimes means we lose 😦 One thing that prayer brought to our attention was our screen usage. So we enforced a new rule in the house: no screens on Sunday morning. This meant no email, no Candy Crush, no blogging, nothing that detracted from our Lord’s Day preparation. It has helped us tremendously!
Keeping the calm in your Sunday morning means a bit of planning (which galled me at first). For our 5 children, it meant laying out their church clothing the night before, some had to take showers the night before, and it meant getting the whole crew up earlier than we had been. It is never a good idea to try to rush to church when everyone has awoken late. That guarantees yelling, fighting, and the chance for a child to really push mom over the edge when “I can’t find my shoes”.
Another tactic we employed was the playing of worship music. We have a worship mix on our iTunes that we play in the mornings and on the way to worship. I also highly recommend the Pandora station: Hymns Radio. Listening to worship music inspires your heart and soul to turn towards Christ!
We also planned out morning activities. Wait, what? Kay, did you just say Sunday Morning activities?? Why yes, I did! We got our crew up at 7am for a 9am service. We then had 2 hours for breakfast, showers, getting dressed, and a Sunday morning, Christ focused activity. Here are some of what we chose to do:
- For the young reader, we have an A,B,C Bible Verses book and a My Own Psalm 91 Book. Not that my little guys can read, but we had an older, able reader to read this to the young ones.
- For my readers we found a few options on our shelves and the church’s shelves
- the Young Reder’s Chrstian library series. They have small books about the main characters of the Bible. My boys loved these.
- Beautiful Stories For Children by Liberty Press. These are short stories for intermediate readers.
- For my older readers:
- Thoughts For Young Men for my teenage boy.
- Mandie books for my girl. These are easy to read chapter books and in every one of them, Mandie is taught a biblical truth and lesson, loved them growing up and now I can share them with my daughter!
- The Bible. It sounds almost cliche, but I have them read passages that interest them, or that they have been asking questions about all week. Sometimes they settled into Psalms, sometimes Joshua and Esther, but actual, paper, printed Bible.
- For the parents (yes, we needed to have right attitudes as well) we found:
- Old favorites like Pilgrim’s Progress (I prefer old English, but you may enjoy the modern English version) and My Utmost For His Highest.
- New to me was a daily devotional focusing on one hymn, the history, and struggle of the author of that hymn.
- Another new to me was Lectures to My Students by Charles Spurgeon. Witty and practical, these small tidbits for his students helps us in our walk with Christ.
- worked on Scripture memory
- worked on our most recent Catechism question
- took time for each of us to tell our other family members what we most appreciate about them. This helped with family unity and encouragement.
- took turns telling about God’s blessings from the week before
These tactics helped us to stay on track even during the ride to church, when most of the yelling had been happening. It also helped us to really “enter His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts, and enter His courts with praise.” (Psalm 100:4)
A quick word of encouragement: like all habits, this will take some time to master. And that slippery, crafty serpent, the Devil, is crouching ‘at your door’ and he desires to keep you from worshipping Christ. It took us a few months to really get this into a good routine for our large family. Please don’t lose heart, if you prayerfully set this as a goal for your home, you can accomplish it with the help of the Holy Spirit who has strength beyond our feeble humanity!
We had a purpose for doing these things; for getting our crew up early, for having clothing ready, a set quiet/reflection time, and attitude adjustment during the car ride…we wanted to be prepared to worship the Lord God. I believe that many Christians today enter into the worship time of Christ with little reverence or care with whom they are approaching. I have often heard my hubby exclaim “they would never think to approach the Queen of England or the President in such a state.” Would it help us to be in a better frame of mind if we knew we were approaching the throne of the Most High God? Would it help us to be in the right frame of mind if we remember that the Christ we worship is currently sitting on a throne in heaven and upholding the very universe with his mighty right hand? (Hebrews 1:3-4) Because he is! Christian worship is done before that throne and to the One whose name is above all names.
Also, a right attitude towards Sunday morning must include the hearing of God’s Word. We aren’t coming to listen to some guy, possibly in robes, tickling our funny bone. We are hearing the Word of God taught to us, and often we need to make sure we are prayerfully prepared to do so! We need to be ready for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. (2 Tim 3:16)
I urge you, brothers and sister in Christ, to reclaim your Sunday morning for the Lord. Purpose to turn your hearts towards the Lamb of God who shed His blood for you. Let’s come before the throne together in harmony.