In this series of devotionals we’re talking about how to get the most out of a sermon.
If you’re a follower of Jesus, you listen to a lot of sermons. Yes, you certainly do other things like worship, read the Bible, pray, love your neighbours and serve others. But you also listen to sermons.
Here are two things you can do to prepare.
First, pray for the preacher to faithfully understand, explain and apply God’s word.
If God can use preaching to build up and guide his people, and if the preacher has been called to the task, and if you have committed yourself to a local group of believers, and if Satan and the world are against us, and if he has specifically set himself against preachers and their families, then you need to be praying for the preacher and his work in your specific congregation. Pray that they understand the text, that they explain it well, and that they help you apply its insights to your life.
Second, pray for your own personal illumination ahead of time.
Before you plant seeds in a garden, you need to till the soil. That’s what happens in prayer as you ask the Holy Spirit to ready your heart and mind to hear from the Lord himself as you sit under biblical preaching. J.I. Packer writes: “If we dare to ask God to let us hear His word to us personally about our lives, He will.”*
Pray today. And certainly on Saturday.
Pray for the preacher to faithfully understand, explain and apply God’s word, and pray for your own personal illumination ahead of time.
David has a great attitude with his own prayer in Psalm 19:14: “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
–“How to get the most out of a sermon.” You can listen, watch, OR access the shortened text version here.
— *J.I. Packer, Rediscovering Holiness: Know the Fullness of Life with God (Wheaton: Crossway, 2021), 2nd ed., 175.