This is an excerpt from last week's sermon by Pastor Johann Odendaal.
For the full sermon go to: http://www.christbaptist.co.za/sermons/body-life-prayer-involvement
The pastor's have their responsibility in preaching the word in truth. and we the church members can simply come every Sunday and warm the pews, drink tea and go home..... Really??
We as church members are also called upon to support. Your practical involvement has the potential not only to change your life forever, but also the life of these ministries and other that will believe, and respond on God's Word. The focus of your prayers for the preaching is like that of the preacher also threefold.
A) Pray for the preparation of the sermon.
- Pray that your pastor and his message become one. It is our duty to as members of the body of Christ to pray that our pastor preaches with integrity. God hates hypocrisy. The major component of the strength of a sermon is the integrity of its preacher(s). The old testament deals extensively with the integrity of Shepherds. Jeremiah 3:15 " And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding." Jeremiah 32:2 "Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attned to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord."
It is our task as members of the church to ask the Holy Spirit to convict a pastor of sin regarding the practice of the truth he seeks to understand and proclaim.
- Pray that your pastor could prepare uninterrupted. Pastors face many obstacles in the preparation of their sermons. It is a matter of Eph 6:12 "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." That becomes a reality when he sits down to prepare. The interruption of phone calls, emails, and any others means that might try to steal time from the one thing that has the power to make our Church stand out as a church seeking to be a true model of a biblical church- the preaching of the Word.
- Pray that your pastor will receive grace and illumination by the Holy Spirit to rightly divide the Word of God. Only the Holy Spirit can bring clarity of insight from the passage he deals with. It is a matter of Psalm 119:18. (Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.)
Pray that for the glory of God and the edification of the church he will be an embodiment of 2 Tim 2:15. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
- Pray that the words your pastors will use in the outline of his sermon will be an effective tool for the Holy Spirit to convince and convict those who listen to the sermon. What the pastor desires for the Church is what the Psalmist said "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to the Lord."
His words must not be misleading or distracting but to bring light to the seeking soul.
- Pray that your pastor will have insight into the difficulties and needs of the Church as he prepares his sermon.
B- Pray for the delivery of the sermon.
- Pray that people will show up for church. A pastor cannot preach for empty seats. We need to pray that people will be faithful in attending Sunday services. Our Church members' spiritual battles start the moment they wake up on Sunday morning. We can never take it for granted that there will be people. It is God the Holy Spirit that work in us to will according to His will. Phil 2:13 " For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." Pray that the variety of obstacles and hindrances will be overcome so that the preaching venue(s) will be populated. Pray for yourselves that nothing will prevent you from coming.
- Pray that the people will show up with the right frame of mind. Remember that we are involved in a spiritual warfare. We can so easily be side tracked by bad relations and arguments that can even start where we park the car at the church building and then destroy our receptivity of God's word. Pray that your own heart be well prepared to receive His Word.
- Pray that God would guard us from any form of distraction during the preaching. It is so easy to be distracted by a crying baby, a cell phone ringing, a dead microphone, and many other things that might distract us. Bring this to God in prayer.
- Pray for clarity and power in the pastor's language. Power in the pulpit does not come from a manuscript that is learned by heart. Pray that the Holy Spirit give your pastor freedom of speech and words to use as was the case with Moses in Ex 4:11-12. " Then the Lord said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind. Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak."
- Pray that God will give understanding to those that hear God's word this week. Pray for alertness to hear God's voice and to make everyone attentive and eager to understand the preaching. Pray that God would prevent Satan to steal the Word of God as it is sown on the prepared soil of man's heart. Ask the Holy Spirit to illumine His Word and allow those present to mentally keep track with the truths that are preached.
- Ask the Lord for the most effective and fruitful sermon your pastor has ever preached. This is really a bold request but it is also reasonable. Literally pray what Paul commanded Timothy in 1 Tim 4:15 "Practice these things, immerse yourself i them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
C - Pray for the response to the preaching.
The spiritual attack on the preaching begins the moment the preacher said Amen. There are at least four specific items we can mention here in prayer.
- Pray that all of us will put the sermon into practice. The sermon does not end on Sunday. That is only the beginning. It is right here that we must ask what James 1:22 says - that all will be doers of God's Word. Ask the Lord that you will be the first to take the words of Christ seriously in Mat7:24-27. Pray specifically that everyone in the service will not walk away and be a hearer that forgets. James 1:25.
- Pray that the sermon will not be compartmentalized. Don't just apply the sermon to one area of your spiritual life. Pray that the Lord will even challenge you to trust him in areas that might ask of you to leave your comfort zone in order to please Him.
- Pray that the application of the sermon would be contagious. Pray that the Lord will make you enthusiastic about what has been shared and that you will pass it onto others. 2 Tim 2:2 " and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." Pray that you will be able to rejoice with Paul as he mentioned the faith of the people in Thessalonica - 1 Thes 1:8-9 "For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God." Pray that everyone would become an ambassador for Christ.
- Pray that the sermon itself will be repeatedly delivered. Pray that sermons will be studied and that the notes being taken or the CD's and MP3's that are send out will achieve its purposes to glorify God and extend His kingdom here on earth.
Praying like this will be the catalyst to transform lives, our Church and society. Let's be such a church.
Be praying my fellow brother and sister in the Lord. Be praying.