Life in Ministry, The Lord's Day, Thinking Biblically

Sunday Starts Saturday Night

Sunday mornings can be a hectic, chaotic time.  Instead of causing us to focus on and prepare our hearts for worship, it is a time of frustration, resulting in the family arriving at church frazzled, irritated, and “fashionably” late.  It is a common problem.  At least, it has been in my home…And, I know I’m not alone, because I have seen 2 different posts (on 2 separate blogs!) on this very topic this week!


My husband is a pastor, so for me, being late to church is really not an option.  It reflects badly on him, it sets a bad example (to others within the church, and to our daughter), it is distracting to others, and…it just makes me crazy.  But, he has to be at church about 2 hours before Hannah and I do.  (We meet at a local high school, so he gets there early to get everything unlocked, set up, and warm!)  Which leaves me to get the two of us fed, dressed, and out the door…on time and in a state of mind (and dress!) that is ready, and appropriate, for a morning of worshiping our Lord. 


There is a way to avoid the Sunday morning rush.  The answer is simple: Start preparing Saturday night.  The music pastor at my childhood church used to remind us that “Sunday starts Saturday night!”  I said the answer was simple.  It is not always easy.


Here is what we do on Saturday night to ensure that everyone is clothed, fed, and out the door on time – and in our right minds – on Sunday morning:

  1. Select “church clothes”.  Everything – from the necessary undergarments to accessories – should be laid out, or hung up in an easily accessible location.  Older children can do this for themselves, but for the moms of little ones, this is an important step.  And, don’t just “mentally pick out” what everyone is going to wear.  Go look at it.  Make sure the items you have in mind are there.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve planned out an adorable little ensemble for my daughter (in my head) only to go to her closet on Sunday morning, and discover that the tights had a hole, the shirt never made it into the laundry basket and is still dirty, the dress fell off of the hanger and somehow ended up shoved into the box of dress-up clothes, and is now wrinkled beyond belief, or one (not both…it’s never both!) of her church shoes has gotten up and walked off all by itself!
    I’d much rather search for shoes, or choose an entirely new outfit on Saturday night, and not mere seconds before we need to walk out the door.  I don’t like dealing with “wardrobe malfunctions” on Sunday mornings.  Sometimes, they can’t be avoided – hems get caught on the heel of a shoe, buttons come off, zippers break.  But, one article of clothing, for one person, is much easier to deal with, adjust, or fix. 
  2. Iron, or make any other necessary adjustments.  My husband always wears a button-down dress shirt, and slacks.  These usually need at least a touch up with the iron.  Even if I iron them after washing, there is still a crease from the hanger – which neither of us likes.  Depending on what we are all wearing, it can take me anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to iron the “church clothes.”  I don’t know about you, but I generally do not have an extra hour on Sunday mornings!
  3. Plan breakfast.  It can be difficult to concentrate in church if your tummy (or that of the person next to you!) is growling for the duration of the service.  As I said before, my husband leaves the house 2 hours before we do.  Sometimes, Hannah isn’t even awake when he has to leave.  So, we don’t try to do “family breakfasts” on Sunday mornings.  But, I still like to make sure he has a good breakfast before he heads out!  So I like to have easy, low-mess, healthy foods ready and available.  If you are not “morning people,” make it something simple (the preparation and the clean up!) – cereal, bagels, muffins, yogurt and fruit.  In some cases you may want to make it something that can be eaten “on-the-go.”  Breakfast burritos are a Sunday morning favorite around here…quick, easy, hearty, warm, and, when necessary, portable.  Oh, and, of course, set the coffee pot to brew automatically.  Silly?  Maybe.  But, in this house, it is so much easier to function after a little bit of caffeine! 
  4. Go to bed.  Not necessarily “early,” but at a reasonable time.  I know, easier said than done, right?  Of all of the ways to prepare for Sunday morning on Saturday night, this is by far, the most difficult one for me to accomplish on a regular basis.  As a family, we try to limit Saturday night “social engagements” when possible.  And, we have discovered that Saturday night is not the best time to be out late with friends, or up late watching a movie, playing video games, online (blogging, Facebook, Twitter – you get the idea), or finishing a novel, or sewing project, or scrapbook page.  It is much easier to get up, when the alarm clock goes off, if you have gotten enough rest the night before.  Plan to get up early enough to allow adequate time, to get yourself, and everyone else, dressed, fed, and in the car.  But, also be sure allow time to be in the Word.  Start the day by preparing your heart and mind for the message of the music and the preaching. (This may mean getting up earlier than you do the rest of the week!)
  5. Prepare your heart and your mind for worship.  You may want this to be something you do as a family, at dinner, or during family devotions.    Or, it may be the last thing you do, personally and individually, before you go to sleep.  But,  however you choose to do it, take time to reflect on Scripture, pray, maybe sing (or think through) a favorite hymn or worship song, and confess any sins that may hamper your worship or fellowship the next morning.  But, get excited, and look forward to your time with your church family!  Sunday morning is not something to be dreaded.
  6. This really falls more under Sunday morning, but as I said before, start the morning in God’s Word.  Continue to prepare your heart and mind.  After you close your Bible, continue to set a reverent and worshipful tone with praise and worship music, or hymns.  Play them as everyone gets ready, in the background during breakfast, or in the car on the way to church.  Hannah and I love pretty much anything by Steven Curtis Chapman, Sovereign Grace, or Matt Redman. We also like This Hope’s A Cappella Hymns, or Seeds Family Worship.   (And, sing along…get your voice warmed up and ready to worship corporately with the rest of the body.  Your music pastor/worship leader will thank you.  Well, maybe not, but I’m fairly confident that he’ll appreciate having someone else singing along!)


Let’s face it, the lastplace Satan wants you to be on Sunday morning is in the church, sitting under the teaching of God’s Word, praising and worshiping our God and Savior, and encouraging and fellowshipping with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  While he may not be able to prevent you from going, he will make the process of getting there as difficult, and as frustrating as possible!  And, he would love to see you arrive late, flustered, disheveled, and distracted…so that your mind, and your attitude, is anywhere but on Christ and His Word.  And, as an added benefit, if you walk in late, he also succeeds in distracting others!  Nice…two for the price of one.  And, if I may add, walking in late is disrespectful to the pastor (even if he is your husband!).


Can we change it?  Can we create, in our hearts and in our homes, an atmosphere that causes us to say,

“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD!’” ~Psalm 122:1




What are some ways that you maintain a worshipful attitude and atmosphere in your homes on the Lord’s Day?  And, how do you get your family ready, and out the door, on time?


  1. Jennifer

    Wonderful blog entry! I totally agree 🙂 it is a challenge to get our family out the door on Orchestra Sundays , since we leave the house at 7:15 , but preparing Saturday night, and having a good morning routine can make Sunday mornings much smoother !

  2. Doing my ironing on Saturday is one of the best preparations for a peaceful Sunday morning! Great post!

  3. A good reminder! When we moved I made a promise to myself (and God) that I would be better about going to church, and getting our family ready in all ways to be there! We have been blessed by finding a wonderful new church home, which helps us want to get up in the morning. 🙂 Setting out clothes, especially for the little one is a must the night before which always helps alleviate Sunday morning clothing battles. 🙂

  4. These are all great thoughts that I absolutely agree with! When my pastor preached about the Sabbath, during a 10 Commandments series, he mentioned this very thought.

    How can we focus on worship, when we are running around like crazy not even preparing for what is ahead of us during church? Great ideas!


  5. Thanks for the mention of Seeds Family Worship! Email me and I’ll tell you all the latest and greatest news about Seeds!

  6. […] Sunday Starts Saturday Night from A Quiet Heart – If your family struggles to have a peaceful Sunday morning in the midst of trying to get to church on time, this post is for you! […]

  7. Wow! Thank you for sharing this article. This is how we used to prepare for church when I was a little girl … on Saturday! I heard about you through Erin@Closingtime.

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