It is said that among Church people the prayers are the main thing, and among Dissenters the sermon. I believe that in both cases this would be a fault. Praying should not eclipse preaching; for to preach or to listen to preaching, is as true an act of worship as to pray.
We never worship God better than when we hear his Word, reverently receive it, and are moved thereby to love and gratitude. To hear preaching is, in a sense, praying; since the true effect of all preaching that is worth the listening to, draws us into a spirit of devotion, and makes us ready for prayer and every other form of worship.
But what do we come here for? I am afraid there are some who come merely because it is the time to come, because the hour of worship has come round; and others come only because a certain preacher happens to stand upon the platform.
Ah! this is not how God’s own beloved ones come up to his house ! They desire to meet with him. Their prayer as they tread the hallowed courts of God’s house will be “My heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.”
There is no hymn sung so well as when we really do praise Jesus in it. No prayer is so true as that prayer which really comes to the mercy-seat, and spreads itself before the all-seeing eye. There is no preaching like that which is full of Christ, which gives forth a savor of his good ointments.
Worship is not to be commended because of the glorious swell of a Gregorian chant, or because of the equally majestic volume of sound which this great assembly may send forth from that sweet instrument, the human voice. A service is not to be commended because of the eloquence of the preacher, or because of the display of learning which he is able to make in expounding his discourse. No, to the Christian it is, “Was the Master there?”
C. H. Spurgeon, MTP vol. 10