I know you pray for your sermon at least once a week. As you're walking toward the front on Sunday morning, prayers are flying thick and fast: Help! You know people need to hear something more than an inspiring thought or tip. They need to hear from God. And if it's going to happen, it's going to happen through you. So you pray!
But beyond that moment of truth each week, and beyond asking God to give you understanding and a heart for your people, does prayer play a role in your sermon preparation? Too many of us treat prayer as if it's simply a step in the process between reading the text for the first time and finding our illustrations. We need to regain a theological vision in which prayer becomes the posture of the preacher, for before our people can hear from God through us, we must hear from God ourselves. And hearing from God through his Word is the fundamental work of prayer.
We live in a culture and age that values self-expression above all else. When we pray, we're keeping it real with God; we're telling him what's on our mind, what we're concerned about, or what we need. And that's a problem, because in Scripture pouring out our hearts to God is never the essential point of prayer. The point of prayer is realignment, as our hearts assume a posture of dependence and humility before God. Prayer places our needs in the perspective of God's sufficiency, our problems in the perspective of his sovereignty, and our desires in the perspective of his will. Prayer is not a monologue. Rather, prayer invites God to have the last word with us, and for his Word to shape and define us.
So prayer must be the constant attitude of the preacher in sermon preparation. For me, that means meditation and prayer on the text every morning ...