Preaching is not simply about getting information across. The idea is not simply to increase people's knowledge. Neither is preaching simply about stirring people's emotions. Preaching is not just a Christian form of public speaking. Rather, preaching is about God's work. As the preacher faithfully proclaims God's Word, God acts by His Holy Spirit through the Word preached.
Sometimes this is easy to forget. After all, the preacher has to put in a lot of hard work studying the biblical text and crafting a sermon which is faithful to the text. So, sometimes we focus a lot on the preacher's work. Yet we should never forget that the preacher is not alone in the act of preaching. He is not a lone proclaimer, announcing his own message on his own authority. Rather, he is God's herald, proclaiming the Word of the Sovereign Ruler of the universe with the authority that comes from the message itself.
It is not the preacher who convicts of sin; it is the Holy Spirit. It is not the preacher who converts the sinner; it is the Holy Spirit. It is not the preacher who sanctifies; it is the Holy Spirit. It is not the preacher who gives assurance; it is the Holy Spirit.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is essential to our preaching. Man's words are not sufficient; rather it is God's Word accompanied by His Spirit which is living and active. So let us pray for the action of God's Spirit to accompany the preaching of the Word!
Preachers, pray that God would work by His Spirit as you preach and afterward, as well as during your preparation.
Listeners, pray throughout the week for Sunday's sermon. Pray not only for the preacher's preparation, but also that you would be prepared to listen. Pray for the Holy Spirit's action so that the preached Word might be effective in your life and the life of the church.
Pray for preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit.