Prayer and Preaching

PrayingThe sermon is coming and the preacher is praying.  Sometimes this can be really passionate prayer.  Sometimes there can be a sense of a spiritual breakthrough.  Praying for the message, for the church, for the people, for the lost!  This can be a time of great excitement and great expectation.  And this can be a time of intense battle.  We fight not against flesh and blood, but against the forces of evil.  And in the intensity of battle the expectation for devil-destruction in the power of the glorious grace of the gospel can increase.

Then comes the sermon and it can all feel so, well, normal.  The sermon goes ok, and the listeners say nice things, but this wasn’t what you prayed for and longed for and hoped for.  It is just normal.

It is easy to let the normal-ness of ministry diminish our sense of expectation.  After a while it can become as if  we don’t really expect people to be transformed or the Spirit of God to be at work.  This is understandable, but it is wrong.  As Haddon Robinson once put it, “we’re handling dynamite, and we didn’t expect it to explode!”

The Spirit of God is at work, the Word of God is powerful, and whether we see it or not, we should prepare and pray with great expectation.  (What about the disappointments and struggles that come internally after we preach?  We pour them out to God and then press on, daring to dream again, daring to pray big and preach big for a big God!)

Preach the glorious gospel into the normal world of life and church.  Preach the wonder of God’s grace so that it connects with people in normal world.  But don’t preach as if preaching is just normal.  It is not.  It is a moment where the character of God is held forth in His self-revealing Word to draw hearts and lives into profound transformation.  This life changing process may feel normal all too often, but it is not normal.  It is supernatural.

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