Prayer Before Words, Prayer After Words

Pastor, as you are putting the finishing touches on your message for Sunday, even as you are getting ready to begin the service, consider this counsel from Augustine of Hippo—

“He should be in no doubt that any ability he has and however much he has derives more from his devotion to prayer than his dedication to oratory; and so, by praying for himself and for those he is about to address, he must become a man of prayer before becoming a man of words. As the hour of his address approaches, before he opens his thrusting lips he should lift his thirsting soul to God so that he may utter what he has drunk in and pour out what has filled him.”

Pray for yourself—that you would be a living example of what you preach.

Pray for your vocabulary—that the Holy Spirit would direct your words.

Pray for your ego—that you would not be puffed up nor brought down by the people’s response.

Pray for your congregation—that they would receive and apply the Word of God.

Pray for your community—that they would desire the life of Christ that is evident in you and your congregation.

And on Monday morning perhaps you will pray this prayer of commitment from Augustine—

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. 

Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. 

Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. 

Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. 

Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. 

Amen.

I’m praying for you this weekend!

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