A good reminder from James Rosscup:
Prayer is not an elective but the principal element in the kaleidoscope of spiritual characteristics that mark a preacher. These traits unite into a powerful spiritual force; they build a spokesman for God. Jesus, the finest model, and other effective spokesmen for God have been mighty in prayer coupled with the virtues of godliness and dependence on God. The composite of spiritual qualities that centers in prayer is conspicuous in God’s long line of proclaimers in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and in church history, even to the present day. . . . Preachers who follow the biblical model take prayer very seriously. In sermon preparation, they steep themselves in prayer. (“The Priority of Prayer in Expository Preaching,” in Rediscovering Expository Preaching, 63, emphasis mine)
Questions I Must Ask Myself
- Do I view prayer as “an elective,” or is it at the core of my spiritual life as a preacher?
- How would my preaching change if I really steeped my sermon preparation in prayer?
- What is my view of the relationship between speaking “to God” and speaking “for God”?
- Am I ultimately depending on God, or am I relying primarily (as evidenced by my lack of prayer) on my own ability to understand the Bible and communicate it effectively?