Week in and week out, the preacher has a tough job. In fact, it is an impossible job apart from work of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, preaching, from start to finish (even after the sermon has been preached), must be done in prayer. I have been in pastoral ministry for about 10 years now and the more I preach, the more I realize the vital place of prayer when it comes to the preaching task. The preacher is completely dependent upon God. As Jesus said, “apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). This is true of everything, including preaching.
But what should the preacher pray? Last year I stumbled upon a podcast from an outstanding preacher by the name of Steve Lawson. I have adapted it slightly, but he recommends praying the following prayers as you prepare to preach the Word.
- Lord, prepare my heart before you. May I submit myself to the teaching of this passage of Scripture.
- Lord help me to be disciplined and diligent as I prepare and craft this sermon. Help me to give myself to this task wholeheartedly.
- Lord help me to see the riches contained in this text of Scripture.
- Lord, help me come to the right interpretation of the text. Help me to be taught by the Holy Spirit of God.
- Lord, help me in the organization and construction of this sermon. Help me to pull together the various parts of this passage so that it might be clear and understandable.
- Lord, press this message to our hearts (both me and my listeners) and ignite a passion in our souls. Help us internalize this message and apply it to our lives.
- Lord, grant me an effective delivery and the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit.
- Lord, help my hearers to be attentive and receptive to the message. Help them to fight off distractions that they might clearly hear your Word.
- Lord, may this message accomplish your eternal purposes. Thank you for the promise that your Word will not return void and will accomplish all your purposes (Isaiah 55:11).