Prayer before preaching is essential because, without God’s help, we are useless.
In Deuteronomy 32 Moses is no doubt feeling quite a burden. You see, Moses is about to die–and he knows it. He is going to look into the eyes of the covenant community once again. He is going to preach and plead God’s character, promises, and threatenings to them. In the ensuing words of chapter 32 he uncorks one if the heaviest, pastoral, and most passionate sermons in print. Remember, it was this chapter that proved to be the sermon text for Edwards’ Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.
How does he begin?
May my teaching drop as the rain….For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God! Deu. 32.2-3
The preacher’s burden has never changed, therefore his prayer remains the same. God–may you be pleased to use my words to magnify your name!
Moses knew himself, a dying man preaching to dying men (to use Baxter’s phrase). As a result, he did not long for such temporal and base things like what the crowd would think of him, how they would remember him, or how he would feel saying what needed to be said. Instead, he pleaded the living word of the living God! And in his prayer he struck the flint for God to light up his people with an awareness of God’s awesomeness and sin’s repulsiveness. Oh, that more preachers would preach a deep awareness of their own mortality as well as God’s eternality!
Whether you are stepping into the pulpit today or will be in the pews, this is they type of prayer that you can pray for the sermon: “May this teaching drop as the rain…may the name of the Lord be proclaimed, may he ascribe greatness to our God!
The best part about this: God answered the prayer. Read the sermon; it drips with God-centeredness.
As you ascend to the sacred desk, consider afresh the words of Deu. 32:
Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak,
and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
2 May my teaching drop as the rain,
my speech distill as the dew,
like gentle rain upon the tender grass,
and like showers upon the herb.
3 For I will proclaim the name of the LORD;
ascribe greatness to our God! Dt 32:1-3.
SAMPLE PRAYER BEFORE DELIVERANCE
Dear God, in the name of Jesus:
According to Romans 10:9 I confess with my lips that JESUS is Lord and in my heart I believe that You raised him from the dead. According to Luke 13:3 I repent of my past sins and I admit and confess that I have sinned and I believe that You are faithful and just to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I call upon You, Lord JESUS to cleanse me from all sin and unrighteousness by Your Blood (1 John 1:7). And as Your word says in Romans 10:13 Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.
I confess and repent of occult practices such as (witchcraft, fortune-telling, horoscopes, astrology, water witching, etc.)
I renounce all occult practices and satan and break all curses associated with those occult practices. According to Galatians 3:13 Christ purchased our freedom from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written , Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (is crucified); Deut. 21:23.
I confess and repent of all sins listed in Deuteronomy 27 and 28 and break the curses associated with these sins.
I confess and repent of my iniquities and my father’s iniquities according to Leviticus 26:40 and I break the curses associated with these iniquities.
I break and loose myself from all evil soul ties with my mother, father, brother, sisters, spouses, former spouses, former sex partners, pastors, churches, friends, etc.
Lord JESUS: I forgive my mother, father, brothers, sisters and anyone else who has ever hurt me, including all whites, blacks, indians, etc. Matthew 6:15, 18:21, 22, 35; Luke 11:4 (Lord’s prayer).
I break and loose myself and my family from all curses that have been and are being placed upon me and my family, including any demons being sent to us: curses of witchcraft, physic thoughts or prayers, ungodly intercessory prayers; all words spoken in anger, hurt, sorrow, or bitterness; all incense being burned for or against us, in JESUS’ name. AMEN!
There are certain requirements we must fulfill before God will listen to our prayers.
We Must Belong to God.
“There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus” (1Timothy 2:5). Because Jesus is the mediator between us and God, we must give Him our total allegiance.
Before I yielded the control of my life to Jesus Christ, I would pray, but I was never sure if God was listening or would answer. After I asked Him to be the Lord of my life, I had confidence that God was hearing and answering my prayers.
We Must Pray to God the Father in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ.
Only the name of Jesus Christ gives us credibility with the Father — not our education, our wealth or poverty, our church, our background or our position — only Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14).
Sometimes I use my husband’s name, or my church, or my work to gain credibility with people I meet. But only Jesus’ name gives us credibility with the Father.
We Must have a Clean Heart.
Psalm 66:18 says, “If I had known of any sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened to me.”
It is very important to keep a clean heart before God. Someone said, “I ‘fess them as I does them, I don’t bunch them.” Don’t wait until you go to church or a crisis arises in your life to confess your sins to God. As soon as you become aware of an attitude or action that is displeasing to God, admit that it is wrong and thank God for His forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We Must have a Forgiving Spirit.
In Mark 11:25, Jesus says, “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven my forgive your transgressions.”
Jesus makes it very clear that we can’t carry anger, hatred, or bitterness in our hearts toward anyone if we expect God to forgive us and/or hear our prayers.
We must Pray in Faith.
Jesus said in Matthew 21:22, “And everything you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.”
The very fact that you are asking God for your needs demonstrates your faith.
The answers come every time, but not always in the way we expect. There are times when God answeres prayer as soon as we pray. Other times we have to wait for them to be answered. Sometimes is anwer is “No”, like all good parents, He gives us what is good for us, but not what is harmful to us, but He always listens and answers.
by Katherine J Kehler
If you want to be sure God is listening to your prayers, consider if you have ever asked Jesus Christ into your life, you can do so right now by submitting to him with a simple but powerful prayer.
“Lord Jesus, I want you to listen and answer my prayers, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.”
If you prayed this prayer, we would love to hear from you . Perhaps we could connect you with a mentor or provide resourceful links that could help you in your journey to know God in a deeper way.
More Articles on Prayer:
- How to have a “Quiet Time”
- How did Jesus Pray?
- Should I pray every day?
- You asked for what?
- Praying th 23rd Psalm for Yourself and Others
- What should be included in prayer
- What is Worship? By Sylvia Gunter
- Continuous Partial Attention by John Grant
- Foundational Truths about Prayer by Sylvia Gunter
- Prayer is Talking to God
- How to Pray with Confidence – a Study
- Praying with Confidence
- Why Pray? A response to many emails
- Praying for our Society
- Prayer – Asking Specifically
- Praying for Children
- How to be sure God Listens to your Prayers
- Hearing God’s Voice
- Eagerly Watch – a story about eagerly watching for how God answers a prayer
- Conversational prayer (short version) or Long Version
- Pray and then Decide
- A Call to Prayer – seniors, bedridden individuals and others
- Concerts of Prayer
- Intercessory Prayer
- Walking and Talking with God
by Barb Epp part 1
- Prayer Initiated by God
by Barb Epp part 2
- Prayer Inspired by God
by Barb Epp part 3
- Promises of prayer
by Barb Epp part 4
- Joy of prayer The mystery of thanksgiving
by Barb Epp part 5
- Discipline of prayer Impact of praise and worship by Barb Epp part 5
- Reflecting on your Prayer Journey
- The Supernatural Power of Praise
- Hailing the Chief – a story about how we all pray differently but often don’t even stop to fellowship with God while we are praying.
- Pass it on! – using a prayer chain to pass it on.
- How to pray for our LEADERS
- Praying for you Neighbours – while taking a walk
Prayer Before a Sermon II
July 24, 2010 by Peg
The first “prayer before a sermon” I posted some time ago has become one of the most-read posts on this blog. IMO it’s a great prayer but not necessarily for contemporary worship use!
But because so many have checked it out, I wanted to post a prayer I *do* think is good for worship use. It’s one my pastor uses regularly. I know it pre-dates him, and I believe it is of British origin but I’m not certain. If any of my readers know who wrote it please post and tell me!
The prayer is:
“Now, O Lord, take my lips and speak through them;
Take our minds and think through them;
Take our hearts and set them on fire with love for Yourself, Lord Jesus. Amen.”
I’m back preaching on Sunday, for the first time in 10 months. I’m back in a proper pulpit for the first time since… I can’t remember when.
In my present church, we usually preach from a little portable lectern on the dais, not one of the matching lecterns either side the altar slightly further back. Often, the service leader will pray for the preacher before they start their sermon. Otherwise the preacher just launches in. Sometimes I’ve been comfortable doing that – especially if I’ve got a particularly strong opening to a sermon – but sometimes it doesn’t feel quite right.
I’m a guest preacher, on a special occasion, at All Saints, Basingstoke this weekend. It would be appropriate I feel, to offer a prayer before I preach. I will need it to settle myself into a now unfamiliar routine and place just as much as I think it right to formally recognise that what is offered before God and the people may need the ‘babel-fish’ of the Holy Spirit to speak into people’s hearts and minds.
But what words to use? (They might not get the Hitch-Hikers reference, or feel it appropriate!)
“In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” is true, but it’s a bit formal and stuffy for me.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD” (Psalm 19:14) is in the same league.
I’ve heard some lovely prayers from pulpits over the years, often thought I should ‘write that one down’ for future reference, but I never have.
So, as I ponder something that has authenticity for me (which may I realise be different in different circumstances), if you feel able to share some of your favourite prayers before preaching, I’d really welcome your encouragement and guidance.
When you preached on earth, Lord, you found the divine words that were able to reach the hearts of your hearers. Your truth moved them deeply and prompted them to follow you and to live for you.
Lord, bless now the words of the preacher. Allow him to forget himself, his mediocrity, the effect he would like to produce, so that he can speak solely and in all truth of you and your doctrine.
So that he can say the things that all his listeners await, something that truly comes from you, laden with your love, filled with your wisdom, which is not the wisdom of this world.
Grant, Lord, that the Holy Spirit may pervade him, so that he may become a true mediator of your word. But give to us, his hearers, a good spirit, so that we may really hear your word and not simply indulge our mania for criticism–in our irritation at the mediocrity of what he has said and at the faulty manner in which he expressed it–to the point where we see only the preacher and his weakness, and nothing more of your word and Spirit.
Instead, let this hour become a holy hour in which the mediator and the hearer are united in your Spirit.
Helps us to welcome your word as the living word of God and allow it to work in us, so that we may take it home with us; so that a bit of the Church may spring up wherever we are; so that our week may be filled with the gift your grace gives us today.
Let us not forget what we have heard but rather build on it; give us the love it takes to build, let this love work in us.
Remain the light of our days, become the goal of our love, and bestow on us through this homily a new life in your faith, a life that is both prayer and work in your love. Amen.
- Adrienne von Speyr, With God and With Men: Prayers, 15-17.
A friend of mine is preaching her first sermon tomorrow morning. Woo hoo!
Tonight I wanted to wish her well, in words of encouragement that caught both the weight of responsibility that comes with this calling, and the lightness you can access when you remember you’re part of something so much bigger than your own performance. Thinking of what to write to her reminded me of this puritan prayer.
When I was a student and preached at Roskill Baptist, years ago, the minister there kindly shared this 400ish-year-old prayer with me. He regularly prayed it in his study before preaching, and I took on the practice too.
I’ve also prayed it aloud with congregations before preaching, sort of letting them overhear my prayer for the sermon. The ‘slothful audience’ line usually gets a muffled giggle.
The unnamed puritan preacher who wrote this is living in a time, place and culture that are all pretty different from mine. But I feel a sense of comradeship in these lines. I, too, ‘go weak and needy to my task,’ and need to be reminded not to be proud. And I often choke up when I get to the lines near the end:
‘help me not to treat excellent matter in a defective way,
or bear a broken testimony to so worthy a redeemer’
This preacher knows the importance of the task, and pays attention to the role of the preacher, the congregation, and God, in joining together in the event of preaching.
It inspires me every time I pray it, and I offer it to you to share around, as it was generously shared with me.
My Master God
I am desired to preach today,
but go weak and needy to my task;
Yet I long that people might be edified with divine truth,
that an honest testimony might be borne for thee;
Give me assistance in preaching and prayer,
with heart uplifted for grace and unction.
Present to my view things pertinent to my subject,
with fullness of matter and clarity of thought,
proper expressions, fluency, fervency,
a feeling sense of the things I preach,
and grace to apply them to people’s consciences.
Keep me conscious all the while of my defects,
and let me not gloat in pride over my performance.
Help me to offer a testimony for thyself,
and to leave sinners inexcusable in neglecting thy mercy.
Give me freedom to open the sorrows of thy people,
and to set before them comforting considerations.
Attend with power the truth preached,
and awaken the attention of my slothful audience.
May thy people be refreshed, melted, convicted, comforted,
and help me to use the strongest arguments
drawn from Christ’s incarnation and sufferings,
that people might be made holy.
I myself need thy support, comfort, strength, holiness,
that I might be a pure channel of thy grace,
and be able to do something for thee;
Give me then refreshment among thy people,
and help me not to treat excellent matter in a defective way,
or bear a broken testimony to so worthy a redeemer,
or be harsh in treating of Christ’s death, its design and end,
from lack of warmth and fervency.
And keep me in tune with thee as I do this work.
So Cheryl, all the very best for tomorrow. May you feel the weight and the lightness, and may the Holy Spirit speak to the people through your preaching.
The rest of you, I’d be interested to hear which lines resonate most with you – or surprise you, or whatever… Leave us a comment with your response, yeah?
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On the subject of preaching, you may also want to check out these posts:
- The Church’s Missing Workforce
- 101 Christian Women Speakers to Discover in New Zealand