Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Preaching Without Praying

Preaching without praying is dangerous.  Preaching is not ordinary communication.  It is about "...thus says the Lord."   It is about becoming the voice of God.  It is heavy stuff to stand in the pulpit and to be the one who is speaking for God.   Preaching without listening to what God is saying is the epitome of human arrogance.  The secular world which is listening, or watching, or, perhaps, even ignoring declares the preaching to be just another moment of public speaking, but the real preacher knows and understands that preaching is not just about entertainment.  Something far more important happens when the preacher stands to speak for the Holy One.

Every Sunday there are people out there in the pews who have come with unspoken and unimaginable needs.  Some are dealing with unhandled guilt.  Some are struggling with children who are breaking their hearts.  Some are dealing with illness.  Some have been told they are dying.  It goes on and on.  There is no way to bring to a conclusion the list of the things people bring to the sanctuary.  And when the preacher stands, there is in the beginning this single moment of desperate hope.  They come hoping the preacher will have a Word that will somehow enable them to go home, live through the day, and get up to face one more.

A preacher is a fool to stand and attempt to preach in that arena depending only on his or her insight and creativity.  God brings to any sanctuary on any given Sunday such people who are in life and death struggles and the preacher is the one they trust to give them hope.  Preaching is indeed heavy stuff.  Preaching without praying is dangerous.  The danger is not the possibility of failing to communicate, but failing to be so spiritually equipped that God's work can be done. 

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