Looking back, I can say that I have been inconsistent in my worship of God. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized the reason. As an undergraduate student, I was under a ministry team at my church that encouraged students to be consistent in their personal worship. They asked us to set aside specific times for prayer, reading the Bible, and spending time with God each day.
We had weekly meetings and were placed on teams with other students who were trying to reach this consistency as well. Our leaders emphasized how important this practice was and how it would help us become better disciples of Christ. It sounded great to me, but there was just one problem: I didn’t think it could work for me.
The reason is rooted in my personality. I am a compulsive multi-tasker. I can’t sit still or concentrate on only one thing at a time very well. I like to be engaged with multiple activities at once and am always looking for something new to do when I finish one task. It has made me successful in many ways but has also led to some major problems because of its inconsistency when applied to worshiping God.
My friends on the ministry team encouraged me not to give up and in applying these approaches, I was able to achieve consistent personal worship.
To someone, consistency is the way to reach stability, improve performance, become more productive, and have more benefits. To someone else, consistency is about ensuring something is working every single time. etc.
In this context, consistency is adopting a single system of belief and behaving accordingly. Not compromising on anything that you believe in, not doing something because “it’s tradition” or because “everyone else is doing it.”
Life is full of inconsistencies. If we never made mistakes, or never found ourselves doing things we had previously said we were against, life would be relatively simple. But because most of us are inconsistent in some way, it means that to decide what to do requires you to decide not just about the merits of what you’re doing (or not doing), but also whether you should always do things in the same way. It’s often more important to be consistent than it is to be right.
If you have spent much time in a church, you may have noticed that the level of worship can vary widely. All of us will have been in Sunday services where something goes ‘wrong’ and everyone leaves feeling disappointed. At other times, worship has been electric, and perfect, and people leave with a real sense of awe and encounter with God.
Consistency in worship is important in gathering together as the body of Christ. Consistency is not only about going to church each Sunday but also how we approach worship when we are there and what we do with our week leading up to that service.
So let’s dive in, how do we reach consistency?
Worship should be a natural part of life
One way to establish a consistent pattern of worship is by making it a natural part of your life. You can develop a habit of worship during your free time when you are not busy and have some quiet time on your own. That will help you develop the habit of worshiping daily.
The first thing we need to understand is that worship isn’t just singing songs or praying prayers - it’s what happens when we truly focus on God in all of our activities each day. That includes our morning routines, the tasks at hand, and every activity in between.
When we wake up in the morning, we worship by using the gifts God gave us to accomplish tasks and get to places. When we eat, we worship by taking nourishment from the food God created. When we play with our children, we worship by spending time with them and creating memories that will last a lifetime.
However, when it comes to church attendance, we tend to forget this basic tenant of life and instead try to make going to church more like work or school (which are man-made institutions). We worry about how many people will show up on a given day or what the surrounding architecture looks like - and even if we’re “successful” in one of those areas, we may decide not to go because we don’t feel like dressing up or having something else planned for that particular Sunday. We are not meant to live this way. A better approach is to focus on what the week would look like. Through our worship, we can learn to live and love more like Christ.
Our worship should first be personal to us personal and from there to others. That’s where the intimacy with the father comes from.
Like most of us, you have to work at it. Consistency in worship is an area where many struggles. We know that to be closer to God, we should read the Bible more, pray daily, and spend time in worship - but what does that actually look like? It’s hard to do it all at once, and you might be overwhelmed or distracted by the day-to-day duties of life.
What can help on your quest for consistency? The first is to examine your schedule to make sure that it allows for time with God. Then look at the habits in your life and figure out where you can cut back so there’s more time for worship. Make sure your family knows they’re a priority - it’s not just about what you do; it’s also about what they do and don’t do with their time as well. And finally, make sure you keep in your mind that worship is a natural part of life: when you wake up in the morning, sing or pray before getting out of bed; when you get home from work, spend some time with God before sitting down for dinner… Worship shouldn’t just be something that happens on Sunday mornings or Wednesday meetings. It’s a part of life.
The Right Environment Will Help You Reach Consistency in Worship
Reaching consistency in worship is an important goal for Christians because it is part of what makes us different from other people. We believe that all people have a yearning for more than what this life has to offer - a yearning for meaning and a desire for truth. The Bible calls us to worship God as often as possible - and that means every moment that we have where we can remember Him, we should do just that!
So what is “the right environment”? For me, it’s having a regular time and place where I do nothing else other than spending time with God through prayer. If I don’t get at least one hour of uninterrupted prayer time per day out of my home, I will either have no prayer time or I’ll be interrupted during my prayer time by anything from phone calls to visitors to chores. Believe it or not, your bedroom can actually be one of the most distracting places to pray - it’s normally where we go for rest and relaxation (and even intimacy), so once we’ve put ourselves into bed each night, our minds are likely carried away. Nevertheless, figure out a way to deal with the distractions.
Try journaling about one thing that fascinated you about God today - what He’s done in the past, what He does now, or something about His character and nature. Then flip the switch to your “work mode” and try to see Him at work around you as well - ask yourself questions like, “Have I seen anything today that points to who God is?”, “What has my day taught me about trusting God?”, or “How has God used this task to teach me something?” Think and talk about Him wherever you go throughout the week.
Frequent, Personal Devotional Time Will Help You Reach Consistency in Worship
Waking up at 4:00 am every weekday for several years can be tasking. I used to dread it—the cold, dark mornings, the long journey to work, the early meetings and classes, the dreary short rainy days and the long summer evenings, the unchanging routine of getting up at the same time every day. It was not fun.
Sometimes our minds are often distracted by other things, and our bodies don’t feel like going to the gym. If you’ve never been able to stick with a workout routine, this is probably familiar to you. But if you start exercising at home, with music playing in the background, it’s easier to get into a rhythm that feels natural and becomes part of your daily routine.
I’m not saying that you should go out and buy an exercise bike if you have no intention of working out more than once a week. I just mean that you should make time when worshiping God is the only thing on your mind. Ideally, it should be a place where you can focus on Him completely, but even if it isn’t, try keeping away from distractions for a few hours and focusing on reading the Bible or listening to teachings and meditating on some scriptures. You’ll find that your focus increases each time you do it - it may not happen immediately, but it can happen eventually. And then, once your heart has started paying attention to God more consistently, you’ll also want to do it more often. It should be a deliberate and constant act!
To wrap it up, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the “doing” part of your Christian life. The Bible tells us to be followers of Christ, to do good works, and to be a witness for Jesus - all of which involve action. But becoming a true disciple of Christ involves more than just the doing; if it were only about doing, then anyone could tell the world that they’re a Christian. It’s about being: a person who has submitted oneself wholly to God and has chosen Him alone as the Lord and Savior of their life.
What does this have to do with consistency in worship? Simply put, consistency isn’t about doing. It’s about being.
Take away: If you want to get regular in your worship of God, you will have to purposefully plan to reach consistency.