Today, though, I want us to think about each of us being in prayer, in praise and "entering his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise." (Psalm 100:4) There are several ways to think of "his gates" and "his courts." The Psalmist was thinking of, I think, the temple, coming for worship and celebrating all the wonderful gifts God has given us. Jesus tells us, in Matthew 18:20, "where two or three are gathered together in my name I am there." This is true for small group gatherings and for worship services. We are also told, several times in the Gospels, that Jesus was in the synagogue "as was his custom." Jesus, coming together with others, to worship, learn, teach and celebrate. Is that how we think of worship?
Then we add prayer into the mix -- the need for individual prayer -- "pray continually." (1 Thessalonians 5:17) but verse 16 also reminds us to "rejoice always" -- or, in my opinion "praise." Our summer people are starting to leave us, returning to their 'winter' schedules. We do pray for them, ask they pray for us and "rejoice (praise) always" that they are with us -- worship.
What if we started to think of worship differently? What if instead of thinking it is Sunday we "have to go to worship" we thought "wow! we get to go to worship" praise God, learn, hear God's Word and pray? What if we even tried something "new" so we could be "making a joyful noise" (Psalm 100:1) to God? I ask that you think on these things, pray about these things and maybe even bring some ideas to your pastor that you are willing to help start.