Such is the theological foundation for the ministry of preaching. God is light; God has acted; God has spoken; and God has caused His action and speech to be preserved in writing. Through this written Word He continues to speak with a living voice powerfully. And the Church needs to listen attentively to His Word, since its health and maturity depend upon it. So pastors must expound it; is is to this they have been called. Whenever they do so with integrity, the voice of God is heard, and the Church is convicted and humbled, restored and reinvigorated, and transformed into an instrument for His glory (John R. W. Stott, Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Preaching Today, p. 133).
We would like to assume that much prayer goes into the preparation of sermons. How tragic it is when men stand in the pulpit to speak for God having briefly consulted Him during the week. However, it is possible that even less prayer comes from the lips of those who preach after they have delivered the sermon. We should be just as urgent in prayer after we have preached! Consider the following prayer focuses for praying following your preaching:
- Release all glory to the Father (Eph. 3:20-21).
- Praise the Father as the God of the Word (2 Tim. 3:16).
- Magnify His Word as the source of power in the pulpit (Eph. 6:17).
- Magnify His omniscience and providence in the lives of your hearers, rather than basking in your eloquence (Heb. 4:12).
- Rejoice in the presence of God that His Word does not return void or empty (Is. 55:11).
- Thank the Father for revealing His strength in your weakness (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
- Ask the Father to enable your people to be doers of the Word and not hearers only (Jas. 1:22); not forgetful hearers, but doers of the work (Jas. 1:25).
- Intercede intensely that the enemy will not snatch the Word away (Matt. 13:19).
- Pray that difficulties will not cause hearers to stumble and forget the Word (Matt. 13:20-21).
- Pray that the Word will not be choked out by the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches (Matt. 13:22).
- Pray that the Holy Spirit will captivate the minds of hearers with the Scripture text from Sunday, guiding them into meditation and obedience (Ps. 1:1-3).