A good minister spends a good deal of time preparing his sermon. It should never be a last minute thing or impulsive. He must study prayerfully to bring the food of the Word in order to feed God’s people. At the same time he must be preparing himself and not simply his sermon. One of my favorite preachers was Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. In his book on preaching he wrote this simple yet profound statement, “…the preacher’s first, and the most important task is to prepare himself, not his sermon.”
The sermon is a significant part of the worship of God. It is to be a time of instruction and explanation as to the character and call of God to his people. We too should come hungering to hear from the Lord who works through the preacher opening God’s Word to us.
So how do we prepare for the sermon? Pray for the preacher. Think about him during the week and ask God to seal the work of his study into his heart and mind that he might proclaim the Word with confidence and clarity.
Pray for yourself and others as well. Pray that we would have ears to hear and minds to understand. Another quote from Lloyd-Jones is helpful here, “Great listeners make great preachers.” Do we come hungry to listen? The Spirit often works powerfully in the messenger and the congregation when we are anticipating God’s work among us.
Finally, read the text of Scripture ahead of time that will be expounded on Sunday. The more familiar you are the more opportunity for the Spirit to seal the teaching in our hearts and lives. Ask the Lord to bring you hungry to his sanctuary to hear and feed upon his Word. “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding” (Psalm 119:103-104).
Pray this week for the pastoral staff. Though not all are preaching weekly, many are teaching and leading others in the Word of God. Pray for their preparation and those they are ministering to. The Word of God is central to all we do, and we need our leaders to prepare well and teach well.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Jerry McFarland. © 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org