Oh how bad I felt after preaching at the 11.00 service at Feltham last Sunday. I felt the sermon as it stood was decent. The material was OK. It accurately dealt with the text. It had the capacity for probing application into the lives of those listening regardless of their age. And yet I came away with regret and dismay. My wife and elder two boys also concluded it was not one of my better efforts. And speaking with others afterwards, I felt that the truth had not been communicated.
It is not to say that I felt people were not listening, It just seems that it was a non-event as a living encounter with the living LORD through His living Word.
So what do I conclude? With remorse and shame, I confess to a prayerless sermon. The recriminations are specifically with myself here. Where was the energy in coming before the LORD and pleading before the LORD for His gracious energy to fall upon the Word preached?
I said to some afterwards that I felt that the sermon lacked “oomph” or to put it technically, it lacked unction.
I was guilty of a lacklustre Saturday evening. Perhaps this a is a wake-up call to me as regards to preaching. Perhaps, I have been running my tank down over many days. So I hear the mantra ringing in my ears: “more prayer; more power”. And I remember how in Acts 6 the, apostles determined to give themselves, not just to the Word, but to the Word of God and prayer. In fact, the order was prayer and the ministry of teh Word (see Acts 6:4).
Oh Philip, you must change; you must be praying for the preaching, for the hearers, for the LORD to be in the event and for the consequences, Praying for a clear understanding of the text, for relevant interpretation, and above all for the glory of God. You cannot do it yourself – you need God.
Oh LORD, have mercy. May things be different from hence.