Being a disciple of Jesus is not primarily a matter of getting the right ideas and doctrines and beliefs into you head in order to guarantee proper behavior; rather, it’s a matter of being the kind of person who loves rightly—who loves God and neighbor and is orientated to the world by the primacy of that love. We are made to be such people by our immersion in the material practices of Christian worship—through affective impact, over time, of sights and smell in water and wine.
The liturgy is a “hearts and minds strategy, a pedagogy that trains us as disciples precisely by putting our bodies through a regimen of repeated practices that get hold of our heart and “aim” our love toward the kingdom of God. Before we articulate a worldview, we worship. Before we put into words the lineaments of an ontology or an epistemology, we pray for God’s healing and illumination. Before we theorize the nature of God, we sing his praises. Before we express moral principles, we receive forgiveness. Before we codify the doctrine of Christ’s two natures, we receive the body of Christ in the Eucharist. Before we think, we pray. That’s the kind of animals we are, first and foremost: loving, desiring, affective, liturgical animals who, for the most part, don’t inhabit the world as thinkers or cognitive machines…My contention is that given the sorts of animals we are, we pray before we believe, we worship before we know—or rather, we worship in order to know.
James K. A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation (Cultural Liturgies, Vol. 1), 33—34