I am preacher. I am also a sinner. This dichotomy causes me to feel, almost always, the gap between the wonders of the truths I preach and the coldness I often feel within my heart. Each time I walk up to the pulpit I am urged by my need to cry out to the Lord and ask Him to do what I am unable to do: change hearts, raise the dead, sanctify the Church.
Because of this I am often looking for new words to express myself in prayer directly before I preach. Lest you think this is just for preachers, don’t turn away just yet. This is not just for me, or just for preachers…this is for all of us because each congregation should also be aware of their pastors inability apart from God’s grace. So just as we preachers are urged by our own need to cry out for help when preaching so too every Christian in the congregation should also be crying out to do through their pastor what he cannot do.
Keith Getty and Stuart Townend have given all of us words to express these desires. This song is from 2005 and it’s called ‘Speak O’ Lord.’ Here’s the lyrics:
“Speak, O Lord, as we come to You, to receive the food of Your Holy Word. Take Your truth, plant it deep in us; shape and fashion us, in Your likeness. That the light of Christ might be seen today, in our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us, all Your purposes for Your glory. Teach us, Lord, full obedience, holy reverence, true humility; test our thoughts and our attitudes, in the radiance of Your purity. Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see Your majestic love and authority. Words of pow’r that can never fail, let their truth prevail over unbelief.
Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds; help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us. Truths unchanged from the dawn of time, that will echo down through eternity. And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises, and by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your Church is built, and the earth is filled with Your glory.”
Here’s how it sounds: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=my90e3a_nlM
Pastors, may you be encouraged to cry out as you study and before you preach with these words. Church, may you be encouraged to be praying this for your pastor(s) throughout the week and while he preaches. The more we rely on and remind ourselves of our need and God’s sufficient grace in our need, the more we all will benefit.