The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals has a new aspect to its Internet witness and that is “Meet the Puritans,” a brief daily article highlighting Puritan teaching and practice. In a recent post, pastor Danny Hyde (a URC minister whose name many of you may be familiar with) wrote about the importance of having and attending BOTH services on the Lord’s Day.
After a quote from John Owen, one of the great Puritan preachers and writers, Hyde points to a recent note he gave his congregation about being faithful in attendance at the evening service. While not everything he communicates matches our own (PRC) experience, we can certainly appreciate his ten practical reasons for maintaining our own attendance at the second service on Sunday.
A while back in my weekly email to my congregation, I gave my people my “Top Ten Reasons to Attend Evening Worship” in an ongoing effort to educate, encourage, and exhort. They are not exhaustive and they apply to my context, in particular, but the principles should be applicable to any who reads this. May God move his people in our time to sanctify the Christian Sabbath, leading to a renewal of evening worship.
- God promises to be present in our midst unlike anywhere else in public worship.
- This is a practical help for us to sanctify the Lord’s Day with morning and evening bookends.
- This lays a foundation for our children to be evening attenders as well when they grow up (and not what the Dutch call a “oncer”).
- Since the Word of God is the food for our souls, we get “breakfast” and “dinner” every Lord’s Day with two sermons.
- We also read through the Old and New Testaments in evening worship with a chapter from each.
- We sing through the biblical Psalms together with two Psalms a week [we’ve done this 10+ times in 15 years].
- Our evening service is based on the historic form of evening prayer from the Protestant Reformation, thus giving us a sense of the communion of the saints through the ages.
- We pray biblically-saturated, ancient prayers together at evening worship, thus giving us a sense of transcendence.
- We get to bear each other’s burdens as we lift up prayer requests in each other’s midst.
- Since there is no Sunday school after, we have more time to fellowship and enjoy each other’s presence after the evening service.