Enjoying the Journey

5 Things I Pray Before I Preach

Several years ago when I served on a church staff a college student came to me at the end of a service with an interesting question. He said, “I hear you pray publicly for the preacher when he is about to come with God’s Word. You always pray the same things for him. Why?”

My perceptive young friend was right. There are specific things that I pray for those who are preaching God’s Word. They are the same things that I pray before I stand to preach.

I share them with you in the hope that you will be encouraged to pray them for those who minister God’s Word to you, and pray them for yourself when you stand to teach or preach the Bible.

  • I pray to be clean. 2 Timothy 2:21. God uses prepared vessels. Before I stand to speak I ask the Lord to remove every sin or hindrance that is in me.
  • I pray for wisdom. James 1:5. The Lord promises His wisdom is available and all sufficient. I lack it. I need it. I want it. The preacher needs to know not only what to say but how to say it.
  • I pray for liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” There is nothing quite as wonderful as the liberty the Holy Spirit gives and nothing quite as miserable as trying to labor without it.
  • I pray for quickening. Psalm 119:25. My sermon is not enough. Even an accurate interpretation of Scripture falls short. We must have divine stirring, the life giving power of God. God must speak through His Word.
  • I pray for prepared hearts. Matthew 13:23. My prayers must not be only for me. All who are there to receive the message are a part of the spiritual work God wants to do. What a difference when the hearts of the hearers are good ground for God!

Many preachers have a public prayer when they get up to preach. That is not my normal practice, though I think it is a good one. Instead, these are the definite prayer requests that I pray just before I stand to speak. Sometimes the Lord will lead me to pray something specific for a service, but always these are the things in my heart.

Preaching is nothing without praying. Praying is what brings preaching and all of life into the presence of God. Leonard Ravenhill often said that it is not better preachers we need but better pray-ers.

May God help us to pray definitely and to pray in faith.

3 Comments

  1. Wes on February 10, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    Your story reminds me of the prayer a deacon would pray for our pastor during services according to 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2. (“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.”)

    Yes, for the preacher the sermon should be the end result of much time spent on his knees in prayer. Without prayer, how is the Word to have free course in the hearts of men?

  2. Gary Ledford on February 15, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Bro. Pauley,

    Thank you for your words of wisdom. Your insight is a challenge to both young and old preachers alike.

    Thanks for being my friend.
    Pastor Gary Ledford

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