Distractions in Worship

Thomas WatsonThis morning I read a sermon by Thomas Watson, "How May We Cure Distractions in Holy Duties?" You gotta love God's providence. Just last Sunday I confessed to the church that I had come to worship very distracted. I certainly left in a better frame than I came, but I have been thinking about this throughout the week. Then early this morning I stumbled upon this sermon. Preaching from Matthew 15:7, 8 Watson explains that "distraction of thoughts, or the removing of the heart from God in worship, is a great sin, and a degree of hypocrisy." The sermon breaks down into three sections: The greatness of the sin, the causes, and the remedies. It is a good (and long) sermon, and I do not have the time to summarize everything. But I wanted to draw your attention to his concluding remarks regarding the habit of meditation. The final "remedy" for distraction in worship is "frequent, solemn meditation." He argues the more often we give our thoughts/hearts to the things of God during the week the more prepared we will be for worship, and able to correct ourselves when coming to church distracted. Concerning meditation he said there are two advantages.

1. The soul gets more abundance of heart-warming knowledge. - And therefore will not be so barren and dry, which certainly is a cause of wandering. ...A man that boileth and concocts truths in his heart, hath a greater readiness of words and affections: there is "good treasure" within him, (Matt. 12:35) out of which he may spend freely.

2. By use a man gets a greater command over himself. - When we constantly leave the thoughts at random, and never lay restraints upon them, it is in vain to think we shall keep them in order when we please. Fierce creatures are tame to those that use to command them. Every art is difficult at first, as writing, singing, playing upon an instrument; but we get a facility by use and exercise; yea, not only a facility, but a delight in them: and those things that at first we thought impossible, by a little practice grow easy.

Nothing strange or new, but a very helpful reminder of the need for and benefits of biblical meditation.