5 Prayer Requests For Preachers
Prayer is the most effective and often neglected tool in the preparation of a sermon. It should go without saying (though sadly it cannot), that the preparation of a sermon requires meditating on the text, reading commentary, studying cultural background, and the hard work of illustrating and applying God’s word in a way that’s helpful.
However, no amount of study will make up for a lack of supplication. Ingenuity won’t cover up the obvious absence of intercession for the church body. Rhetorical power is a sorry substitute for prayer-soaked proclamation.
The preacher preps the sermon, but prayer preps the preacher.
People should have a sense that their preacher has been much with God and prayer is an indispensable means of doing just that. But what should we as preachers be praying for? Here are 5 prayer requests for preachers:
1. Faithfulness to the text.
God’s not nearly as interested in articulate, humorous, impressive communicators as we are. God wants a man who trembles at his word (Is.66:2). Nothing will keep us faithful to the text like the fear of saying something God never said. Each day we pray that God would keep us faithful to his word.
2. A loving heart toward those listening.
A sermon without love is like a sun without heat - it fails at its very purpose. You may preach with all the eloquence of an angel, but if you don’t love the people listening, you may as well strip a cymbal of the drum kit and bang on that for 40-minutes (1 Cor. 13:1). I’m begging God to increase my love for those He’s entrusted to me.
3. Retention of what has been prepared.
I don’t know about you, but I work hard on my notes. I don’t ever “wing it” and I’m hoping you don’t either. As a result, there are few things more frustrating than missing something I thought would be helpful and serve those listening. One of my chief prayers on Sunday morning is that God would press what I’ve prepared into my heart, so I’m not trying to remember lines. I simply want to say what he’s said.
4. Empowered and lead by the Spirit.
It’s humbling to tackle a task you know you’re incapable of. Sermons don’t save people, the Spirit does. There has never been a preacher so proficient that his gifts could awaken dead hearts to new life. Apart from the empowerment and leading of the Spirit, we are alone. We need the Spirit to awaken, convict, encourage, and regenerate the hearts of those who hear the word (John 3:8).
Nothing should tether the preacher to God’s word like the promise of Isaiah 55:11:
“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
Our job is to be faithful to the word. God’s job is to produce fruit. When we pray for what God has already promised we can ask with the assurance that He will deliver.
Nothing impacts preaching more than prayer.
You may not be a preacher, but if you have one, pray these things for him. If you’re a preacher, then read, meditate, study, parse, and prepare.
But above all, pray.