A Few Thoughts on Preaching
2. One should read the text in question aloud many times before preaching it, since this familiarizes you with the sound of the text. Besides hard study of the text (or topic), one should meditate on the material at length. I did this recently on Acts 17:24-34 and was amazed at what I found, even though I had preached it several times in the past five years.
3. Pray over every aspect of the message: preparation, execution, and how it will be received. Ask others to pray for you. Spurgeon, the great preacher, said his secret was that "my people pray for me." Americans do not pray. They are too busy doing "important things." Thus, there is little power or holiness in the pulpits of the land.
4. Try to find as much silence as possible on the way to preaching the sermon. If driving, do not listen to the radio or music, unless it is godly worship music. The best thing for me has been to drive in silence while thinking and praying through the message.
5. Try not to be distracted if people leave during the message. You may not know why they are leaving. Moreover, the truth often offends people who cannot take it. It is not necessarily a judgment on the value of your preaching. People called the Apostle Paul a "babbler," but he did not give up (Acts 17).
6. Pray before and after the message. Mean it. Call out to God to bless the message and to edify and convict you and your congregation. Don't preach in the prayer, but beseech God according to the truth you preach.
7. It often settles people down to take a moment of silence at the beginning and/or end of the service. Sadly, some churches throw so much clutter at the congregation--skits, bad music, pointless announcements, film clips--that silence is required to enter the proper frame of mind to preach and listen to the preaching.