Encounter - refreshing our experience of worship

It is the greatest invitation any of us will ever get. Come and meet with the living God in worship.

It arrives every Sunday. We take it up, and yet the wonder of encountering God in worship can pass us by through distraction, just going through the motions or boredom.

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Yet, God promises that as we draw near to him, he will draw near to us (James 4:8). How can that become more of a reality in our worship Sunday by Sunday? One answer to that question is cultivating a greater appreciation of what happens in worship.

Although the order of service looks different in every church, sometimes from week to week in the same congregation, certain things remain central to worship. We gather together as the people of God at his invitation; we confess our sin before him and receive his assurance of forgiveness; we set our hearts and minds to receive light from his Word; we respond to God with our lives; we are blessed and sent back into our everyday lives to live for him. Becoming more aware of these movements in worship and entering into them with heart, soul, mind and strength helps us focus and participate more fully in meeting with God.

Worshipping God week by week with the familiar faces of our congregation around us is an intentional act of putting ourselves in a place where we can meet with God. His grace flows to us in words heard, sung, prayed, spoken – sometimes out loud, at other times silently uttered deep within. The privilege of all of that is something we need to treasure and recapture in an age when increasingly we ‘go to church when it suits us’.

The Encounter sessions offer a mix of biblical pictures of what it is to meet with God, a way of refreshing our experience of worship and practical suggestions for approaching each Sunday with anticipation and expectation.

More information about 'Encounter' is available on the PCI website: http://www.presbyterianireland.org/Resources/Prayer/Encounter.aspx