Samuel spoke to the Israelites before a significant battle against the Philistines. “Prepare your hearts unto the Lord,” he said, “and he will deliver you” (1 Samuel 7:3). When King David’s people donated materials to build a temple, he asked God to help them remember that day and “prepare their heart unto thee” (1 Chronicles 29:18). David’s great-grandson, Rehoboam, “did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord” (2 Chronicles 12:14). Many years later, Ezra contributed meaningfully to the reestablishment of Jerusalem, because he “had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments” (Ezra 7:10).
What does it mean to prepare your heart to seek the Lord?
I’m reminded of King Benjamin’s instructions at the beginning of his final sermon. “I have not commanded you to come up hither to trifle with the words which I shall speak,” he said, “but that you should hearken unto me, and open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view” (Mosiah 2:9). Benjamin had done a great deal to establish an environment for gospel learning. He had called the people together, instructed them to sit by families, built a tower, and organized scribes to record and distribute his words. But he also knew that all of these preparations would be useless unless the people chose to open their hearts to his message.
I think we have a lot more control over our attitude than we realize. When we recognize the importance and the opportunity of an event, we will choose to approach it differently. We may arrive hungry to learn and eager to grow closer to God. We may approach scripture study or a church meeting with greater humility, assuming that we have something to learn, and not just looking for confirmation of our existing beliefs.
Today I will prepare my heart to participate fully in my church services. I will strive to worship with an attitude which will help me to learn and to grow closer to God.
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