By Sally Nance; THE HEALTH, HAPPY WOMAN; July 24, 2015
We recently took a poll in our house and asked everyone what their favorite day of the week is. Without hesitation, each person answered, “Sunday!”
We love to go to God’s house, be with God’s people, and worship the Lord. Our hearts echo the sentiment of David in Psalm 27:4, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.”
The Sabbath is an amazing gift to us from God. When He commanded us to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8), He did so for our good. Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). The Sabbath is not meant to be a drudgery but rather a delight.
If we treat Sunday like any other day of the week, then we will miss out on untold blessings – both physically and spiritually. When we don’t obey God and rest from our labors, we will suffer from exhaustion, health problems, and even spiritual apathy.
If, however, we set aside this one day in seven for rest and worship, God promises rich blessings:
“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” (Isaiah 58:13-14)
So, how can we obey God’s command and rest on the Sabbath? Here are a few ways that I’ve discovered that have really helped me to savor the Sabbath:
1) Begin on Saturday Night
Taking time on Saturday evenings to make preparations for Sunday have made quite a difference for our Sabbaths. I have started making it a priority to make sure everyone’s clothes are washed, ironed, and ready to go for Sunday mornings. There is nothing worse than running around on a Sunday morning trying to find a missing sock or a lost shoe while you’re trying to get out the door. The Devil would love for us to show up to the worship service frazzled, irritated, and completely distracted to take our eyes off the real reason we are there – to worship God.
But, taking 15 to 20 minutes on Saturday evening to make sure outfits are laid out, Bible and notebooks are ready, and breakfast is planned can make a huge difference for your heart and mind on Sunday mornings.
Preparation can prevent irritation when it comes to experiencing a worshipful Sabbath morning!
2) Pray over the day
Spending time praying over the Sabbath can have a tremendous impact on your Sundays. If it’s truly a day that we set aside as special and holy, then we need to dedicate time to praying that God would bless it in a special way.
Here are just some of the things you can pray for:
Pray for your pastor as he preaches God’s Word to the congregation. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s filling and anointing of him, that he might preach with unction (Acts 28:23). You will be amazed at the blessings you experience as you faithfully pray for your pastor each week. Check out this fabulous challenge of 30 days of Praying for your Pastor from Revive our Hearts.
Pray that the Lord would grant you an open and receptive heart to His Word. Pray for grace to be a doer of the Word and not just a hearer (James 1:22).
Pray for the unbelievers in your midst that the Holy Spirit would open their eyes and draw them to Himself (Isaiah 55:11).
Pray for your time of fellowship, that the Lord would use you to encourage other believers. Be “others-focused” as you go into the Lord’s house. Ask the Lord to specifically lead you to someone in need of encouragement (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Pray that the Lord would grant rest and rejuvenation for both soul and body (3 John 2).
The things you could pray about are limitless, but I have found that praying specifically for your pastor and your local church can greatly impact the joy you experience on the Sabbath.
3) Have things you do only on Sundays
Part of making the Sabbath day special is reserving special things that you do only on Sundays. Obviously, one of the main things is attending the worship service at your church (that is one of my favorite things!).
Here are some other things you can save for Sundays:
Sunday tea time: My boys love for me to make special treats to enjoy with tea or hot cocoa on Sunday afternoons. While we don’t do this every week, I have tried to establish this tradition, and my boys always feel special when they have this Sunday afternoon treat. This also reinforces to them in a tangible way that the Sabbath is a special day that we set aside each week.
Fellowship lunch with another family: We love to have people into our home, and one of our favorite times to do this is for lunch after the worship service. One of the best ways to encourage fellowship and deepen friendships is to open your home to others and share a meal together.
Read: Perhaps you don’t have time to read during the week. Sunday afternoons provide the perfect time to grab a cup of hot tea and relax with a good book.
Nap: I’m personally not a good napper, but I have many friends who use Sunday afternoon to get a rejuvenating nap. This is a great way to truly make Sunday a day of rest 😉
Hopefully this got your creative juices flowing and you’ve thought of some other special things you could do on Sundays. Get your family involved and asked what special traditions they might enjoy starting on Sundays.
If you follow God’s command to “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” you will look forward to this special day and it can truly become your favorite day of the week.