One of the most powerful experiences of my life occurred when someone challenged me to prioritize prayer in my life. When I embraced prayer in my college years, not only did it change my life, it also became formative for everything in my life.
To this very day, beginning my day with God in His Word and having an ongoing conversation with Him has been the greatest key to my entire life and ministry. The ministry of preaching will not ever go beyond the preacher’s personal walk with God.
Prayer Is Built Upon the Word of God
Prayer is built on the Word of God. This prevents us from getting out of balance or off into theological error. Sometimes people think those who practice prayer are intellectual midgets or theologically inferior. Great prayer warriors base their praying on God’s Word, the surest truth in this world.
The most highly intelligent and theologically astute should be the greatest prayer warriors on the face of the earth. They should realize the Bible is God’s Word and authority on all things, praying with deep belief in God and His power. Preaching must be in the power of the Holy Spirit and this will never occur if a preacher and his prayer life is not built upon the Word of God.
As a pastor is preparing a sermon, it is imperative to seek God first above all else. Preaching is a relationship between the preacher and the people of God; however, this relationship will never supersede the preacher’s relationship with God personally.
How can we expect to communicate God’s Word effectively if we don’t communicate with Him consistently? A pastor must have a consistent time of prayer daily, but not only for his personal life. He also needs to call out to God about the people of God and the Word of the Lord he is supposed to proclaim to them.
Personally, I ask God daily to give me His Word and His message of faith that He wants me to communicate to the people of God. When I have the Word of the Lord living and burning in my heart, the people of God know it.
Prayer Must Be Consistent
If you do not have a plan to pray, you will not pray consistently. You will be all over the place in your praying, even though your intentions are good.
I use my iPad to help me establish an ongoing plan to pray daily. This helps me stay on target in my prayer and permits me the needed flexibility to ensure the ongoing plan is relevant and up to date.
My plan to pray is seasonal. I am always changing it along the way, but when I sense a chapter has closed and God wants to create a new chapter in my life and ministry, then I begin a new plan.
What is your plan to pray? Whatever your plan to pray is, just have one. Stop and take the time to prepare a plan. Before you enter your daily sermon preparation, be sure you have already been with God in His Word and in His presence via prayer. Then, as you walk through your sermon preparation, pray throughout it. When preparation is coming to an end, pray through it again.
One of the most dynamic experiences in the Christian life is when the preacher, the man of God, walks with God deeply. Then, when this dynamic experience goes on display to the world through the ministry of preaching, God alone is exalted.
The church does not need to hear better sermons. The church needs to hear a message from God, delivered by the man of God who has been set on fire by the power of God. This power of God will never be any greater than the personal prayer life of the preacher.
Dr. Ronnie Floyd
Senior Pastor, Cross Church
Immediate Past President, Southern Baptist Convention