Friday, July 5, 2013

Praying for the Sunday Sermon

I was reading something the other day and was struck with the reality of how much I need the prayers of God's people as I prepare for my sermon each week. Do you pray for your preacher during the week as he prepares for the sermon? Do you pray that he would be impacted personally by what he studies? Do you pray that his life would be changed through the Word of God? If you don't, let me encourage you to start. We need it.

Here is what you should do. Talk to your preacher and ask him his study schedule. If the main time he takes to study is Wednesday mornings, make a calendar appointment or task reminder to pray for him sometime that morning. There might even be a few times during that week that he studies. And then, as you are going about your business on Saturday night, odds are that your pastor is going over his notes one last time. That is a good time to pray for him. And then as you wake up on Sunday morning and head to church, take one last time to pray for him as he gets up to deliver God's Word. My guess is that if you were to do this, you would find yourself looking forward to the sermon much more than you normally do. You are invested into it.

Now, of course, you should pray for your own heart as well. You should be praying that your heart would be soft and sensitive to the message God has for you that morning. Don't discount how much praying for the sermon will change your perspective of the message that morning.

Why should we pray? Well, the early church modeled praying for boldness for their preachers (Acts 4:24-31). The Apostle Paul asked that the churches would pray for him as he spoke the truth of God. His main prayer was that doors would be opened and that he would be able to make his message clear (Colossians 4:3-4). But even more than each of these examples, we need to pray because the preaching event is a spiritual event. There is so much more going on that simply words and speaking. There is a spiritual battle taking place. The Enemy would rather you not listen and the preacher to not do a good job. Your life, the pastor's life, and the sermon is under attack each week. So pray. Let me end with a quote I read the other day. This is why we need to pray.
"God doesn't use people because they are gifted. He uses people (even preachers) because he is gracious. Do we actually believe that? If we do believe it, then we will pray--we will pray before we speak, and we will pray for others before they speak. It's that simple" (Saving Eutychus, 21).

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