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 ...

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