Sunday Morning Starters – Worship
And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us. (Acts 16:13-15)
Riverside Prayer Meeting
For many of us today we will gather in structures that offer a fairly good sense of comfort. Some will meet with a few and others will worship with a large crowd. The climate will be satisfactory as we sit upon pews or chairs. Song books will keep the words readily before us to sing and some will open their Bibles to read along with the lesson. A few prayers will be offered. The communion will be passed. In a short time it will all be over and we will return to the comfort of our homes. What is striking about worship throughout the world is what we enjoy in the relaxed comfort of our surroundings is seldom experienced by many of God’s people. We are blessed and should be thankful for what we have.
In the city of Philippi there was a gathering of women who took it upon themselves to worship God by the riverside. In the Lord’s open cathedral they assembled to spend time in prayer. They had not known the saving power of the gospel of God’s Son until Paul came and spoke the word to them. One woman named Lydia was a person of wealth. Being a seller of purple would put her in a unique position. A far greater treasure she had was an open heart to the good news of Jesus Christ. Hearing the teachings of God’s love she and her household obeyed the plan of salvation. The riverside prayer meeting had become a river for washing away the sins of these precious souls.
Worship is simple. It always has been. We can make it complex and difficult to understand. The women of Philippi gathered by the riverside to pray. No pretense. No hypocrisy. No agendas. No one was seeing what the other was wearing or worrying about what to fix for lunch. No hurry to go home. Fellowship. Prayer. Worship. Salvation.
It would do us well to spend time at the riverside to reflect upon the privilege we have to worship the Almighty. Gathering together for prayer is a powerful means of drawing together with one another. Our worship today is about redemption. God loved us enough to give us His only begotten Son. His Son died a horrible death so that we could enjoy a joyful death. Today is the Lord’s day to tell Him how much we love Him. Be thankful today. Pray that a heart like Lydia will be in attendance today and there will be rejoicing when a new birth takes place in obedience. Worship. Shall we gather at the river?
It is distinctive of the Christian life, that while it grows more conscientious, it also grows less and less a task of duty and more and more a service of delight. (Newman Smyth, Christian Ethics, 1892)