Great preachers and professors today differ on the best way to communicate the gospel. I’m still a strong advocate of book-by-book, expository preaching and I’ve found it to be a very divinely blessed method in the spiritual growth of God’s people. I also believe that expository preaching is the greatest way to preach the gospel of Jesus to our generation. Nonetheless, there is a more important aspect of preparing sermons than the method used. There is also the spiritual aspect, the prayer factor.
After a text has been studied, a proposition written, the points penned to flow from the main thesis, there is still spiritual work to be done. There is a time of intense prayer to be had before God. My chosen way to accomplish this task is to take my completed outline and my Bible into the stillness of an empty auditorium and pace before God’s presence begging for His power.
This is also the time when, in a spirit of prayer, the message is committed to my heart and soul, my memory and my affections. The personal application to my life comes at this point, and it doesn’t have to related to my job, family, or finances to be relevant. It can simply stir my soul to seek God’s face as never before.
The passage before me is one about God’s pleading with the nation of Israel, His pronouncement of punishment, and His prophecy of a coming restoration. God has spoken to me of revival through the passage. Now it is my assignment to take the ouline in prayer to beg God for that revival. It’s my privilege to boldly approach the throne with the urgent request for God to fill His preacher with power and use the message to turn hearts toward Himself.
Salvation and spiritual growth are sovereign works of God, and our sovereign God has chosen that prayer be the means to calling for His power and intervention in the souls of men. Brethren, if you’re reading, prepare your sermon thoroughly, but prepare with prayer most of all!