Directions for the people of God as they prepare for, attend to, participate in, and improve upon the Public Worship of God.

Preparing for the Lord’s Day

  • Plan ahead for the Lord’s Day during the week
  • Finish all your worldly business on Saturday
  • At least be able to ‘wrap it up’ until Monday

Observing the Lord’s Day

  • The whole day is to celebrated as holy to the Lord
  • Spend the whole day in acts of public & private worship
  • Cease & rest from all unnecessary labors
  • Abstain from all sports & pastimes
  • Forsake all worldly words & thoughts
  • Exceptions: Works of mercy, piety, and necessity

Eating on the Lord’s Day

  • Plan your sabbath meals beforehand
  • Do not detain your ‘servants’ from worship
  • Do not interfere with anyone’s observance

Preparations for Public Worship

  • Private & family worship should occur
  • Pray for yourself & your minister
  • Engage in other holy exercises

Attendance at Public Worship

  • Every member of the household should attend
  • Neglecting the public assembly is condemned
  • The pretense of holding ‘private meetings’ is condemned

Entering the Meeting Place

  • Do not be irreverent and casual
  • Enter in a serious and appropriate manner
  • Find your seat and sit down

Taking your Seats

  • Avoid superstition and idolatry
  • Adoring certain places is condemned
  • Bowing down to certain places is condemned

Arriving Late for Worship

  • Things happen… don’t feel bad
  • Do not then retreat to private devotions
  • Join in worship at a non-disruptive time

Participating in Public Worship

  • Be on time so as not to miss important elements
  • Participate in every element of worship
  • Passivity is condemned

Paying Attention in Public Worship

  • Read only what the minister is reading
  • Ignore people (whether esteemed or entering)
  • Avoid daydreaming and sleeping

Helping Others Pay Attention

  • Do not disturb the minister or the people
  • Do not hinder others in their service to God
  • Abstain from private whisperings and conversations
  • Abstain from private salutations, glances, and gestures

Utilizing the ‘Down Times’

  • Read & meditate
  • Review sermons
  • Quiz the family about what they heard
  • Catechize the children
  • Engage in holy conversations
  • Pray for public ordinances
  • Sing Psalms & Hymns
  • Visit the sick
  • Relieve the poor
  • Perform duties of piety, charity, and mercy
  • Count the Sabbath a delight

Adapted by Pastor McShaffrey from the Westminster Directory of Publick Worship (1645)