Prayer and the Pulpit

Sometimes you will find a preacher who studies impeccably, the preacher brings together sermons that make the people shout and holla. The preacher gets invitations to preach in many locales, but there is no lasting change among the hearers. They come, shout at the entertaining presentation and leave. There can be many reasons for such an outcome. However, one of the primary ones is a lack of prayer.

Where Does Your Wisdom Come From?

Too many preachers stand in the pulpit without having had the wisdom that only comes from being connected to our mighty God through prayer. Certainly many of us say grace at the meal. Many of us give some prayers in our work of ministry in the church or outside of the church, but what is the connection of prayer to your sermons?

I am becoming more and more convinced that the lack of power in our own lives and in the lives of our people comes from a lack of the divine wisdom that only comes through prayer. No wonder we resort to “self-help” tactics that turns preachers into self help gurus. No wonder many start “whooping” about nothing to get the people riled up when God has not showed up. No wonder many of us get our sermons from television preachers than from our own sitting and struggling with the word.

Bathe Preparation in Prayer

We should bathe our sermon preparation in prayer. We should bathe our ministry in prayer. Every step of the way should be bathed in prayer. Before we pick up our Bibles to read in preparation for our sermons, pray. Pray that God will lead you to the correct text. Pray that God will help you find the text that is needed at such a time as this. When you exegete the text. Before you run to see what others have said about the text, pray. Ask God to tell you what the text is saying. Ask God how to apply it. Ask God to help you in your attempts to follow it. Pray, Pray, Pray.

Before you stand up and preach to others, you commune with God. In fact the only way to fully prepare for the very difficult work that you have to do is to pray for wisdom that only comes from God. Then we will come to the point of not looking for a “shout” but looking for a changed life that will result in a “shout” from the depths of the people’s hearts. As I close, I want to remind you of the old cliche’ that perhaps we have forgotten: “Much prayer, much power, little prayer, little power, no prayer, no power at all!” Pray and your people will hear not just from you, but from God as well.

Comments

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Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

Posted in blog, Planning, Preaching
3 comments on “Prayer and the Pulpit
  1. Rev. Kenneth R. Jenkins says:

    Professor Cox, thank you for the advise especially to this young preacher. I remember the first time I started preaching I would pray and study preparing to go before the people and felt the presence of the Holy Spirit within me while preaching.

    Right before I went up the pulpit to took my seat,I had a little time alone with God in thanksgiving for what He has done and what He was about to do. I even prayed those there was praying for me as well and this was a small audience which I believe was preparing me for what I am going to do now as continue trainning.

    So, I thank you so much for the advise from this young preacher as go before the people again this time a much larger audience.

  2. leslie valrie says:

    AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    PRAY!

  3. Paul Marquez says:

    God has called me to minister many years ago,but recently he has placed a burning desire to increase my wisdom of knowing him even more on a personal level. On the 30th of May god has given me the privilege of being ordained,and this to further the vision of ministry that he has given me and my proverbs 31 wife.god bless each and everyone of you.to those who are seeking to be a preacher,may god always be first in every aspect of your lives. God Bless Merry Christmas.

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Revised Common Lectionary
Proper 14 (February 26, 2017)
  • OT: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
  • Psalm: Psalm 105: 1-6, 16-22, 45b
  • Epistle: Romans 10:5-15
  • Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33
Af Am Heritage Lectionary
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