It’s what every pastor wants from our Sunday sermons (or talks, messages, homilies – take your pick).
We want to have impact. We want the message to stick. We want the words we speak to help people follow Jesus more closely.
Sermons aren’t just about Sunday. Preaching God’s Word is supposed to help people live better lives Monday through Saturday.
A few years ago I had one of those “aha” moments in which I realized that despite all the work, prayer and study to prepare my Sunday messages, there was one step I was missing that could really make them stick.
And that step can be stated in three simple words.
Pray on Monday
Yes, it’s that simple.
Pray on Monday.
If you’re a pastor like me, Monday is a down day – at least emotionally, if not an actual day off.
In preparation for my Sunday messages, I work, study and pray that God will use my words about His Word to have staying power with my congregation.
But Monday is my day. My Sabbath. My “leave me alone” day.
A few years ago I was kicking back on a well-deserved Monday off, when this question popped into my head and heart, “Why aren’t you praying about your Sunday message today?”
That was a weird idea, since the message was already “in the can” as they say, so I dismissed it. But the nagging thought wouldn’t go away. So I paused and considered the implications of it.
Don’t Be AWOL On Monday
“Why wasn’t I praying for the Sunday message?” I wondered. After all, as I’m preparing for it I pray constantly that it will have impact in people’s lives beyond the time they’re in the service.
Then, here I am on Monday, the first full day on which congregation members can put Sunday’s message into practice, but I’m AWOL in my prayers for them.
So I started doing that day what I’ve done most Mondays since. I pray for the people in my congregation as they’re at work, school, at home caring for kids – whatever their day may bring – that the Holy Spirit will bring his Word into their life when they need it the most.
As a small church pastor, I have the advantage of knowing most of the names of the people who heard my Sunday message, so I pray for people by name as they come to mind. I especially pray for those who I know are struggling with the issue that was raised on Sunday.