There is no “right way” to prepare for spiritual communion. Vital worship depends far more on a deeply-felt longing for God than upon any particular practice. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7).
Worship in Meeting may begin with stilling the mind and body, letting go of tensions and worries, feeling the fellowship of others, and opening oneself to the Spirit. It may include meditation, reflection on a remembered passage from the Bible or other devotional literature, silent prayer, thanksgiving, praise of God, consideration of one’s actions, remorse, request for forgiveness, or search for direction. There is a renewal of spirit when we turn away from worldly matters to rediscover inward serenity. Friends know from experience the validity of Jesus’ promise that “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20).
Direct communion with God is the living essence of the Meeting for Worship. Into its stillness may come spiritual leadings and fresh insight that are purely personal, not meant to be shared. At other times they are meant for the Meeting at large to hear.
When a leading is be shared, the worshipper feels a compelling inward call to vocal ministry. It may take many forms: as witness, prayer, praise of God, song, teaching, or sharing. These messages may center upon a single, vital theme; often, seemingly unrelated leadings are later discovered to have an underlying unity. Such ministry and prayer may answer the unrecognized or unvoiced needs of other seekers.
Friends gather for worship in quiet waiting upon God. We come together out of our care for one another and out of our shared hunger to know God and follow the leadings of the Spirit. At the close of the Meeting for Worship, we shake hands in acknowledgment of our commitment to one another and to God, and go forth with renewed trust in the power and reality of God’s grace and love.