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How to preach a good sermon

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Part 3: Prayer and a Good Sermon

(Content of this section: Why is it important to start sermon preparation with prayer)


A good sermon is not one that presents something of man, that is to say of yourself or another, but one that presents something of God, that is to say of the Spirit of God from the Place of God (His sanctuary). This means that preparation for a good sermon has to start with prayer and prayer has to start with praise. Before you present the petitions of prayer praise the Lord! Psa.100:4.

In prayer, first petition the Lord for those who are going to hear the sermon (the congregation), then for yourself as the one who is going to prepare and deliver the sermon (the preacher) and then ask the Lord to send His message (the Word) - the sermon content - to your heart and, from there, to your mind.

(Content of this section: How to pray for the congregation as you start preparing a sermon)


A good way to petition the Lord for the congregation is to pray in the way Paul declared he prayed for the congregation in Ephesus,

17 (My prayers:) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 1:17 - 20 - NKJV

(Content of this section: Giving thanks for the congregation in prayer is essential)


It is worth noting in Paul’s outline of prayer for his congregation that right before it, before he lists his petitions for them, he declares he gives thanks for them (see verse 15-16 in Ephesians 1). It is essential that every preacher first gives thanks for the congregation he’s about to preach a sermon to even before he makes any requests to God for them.

(Content of this section: How to pray for yourself as you start preparing a sermon)


A good way to pray for yourself, as the preacher, is to pray in the way David prayed,

Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law (His precepts, promises and prophetic utterances - the whole of His Word).

Psalm 119:18 - NKJV

(Content of this section: How to ask the Lord in prayer for His sermon content)


A good way to pray for God to send His message is to bring to Him His promise given by the Psalmist about the Lord sending His Word to heal and deliver. Yes, indeed it is a fulfilled promise but it remains a still active promise today. Ask the Lord to send His message (His Word) to your heart and mind as a response to this promise of His so it may become the core of your sermon content. Here is the scripture promise I'm referring to,

He (God) sent His word and healed them (God's people), and delivered them from their destructions.

Psalm 107:20 - NKJV


Pray on in these ways with praise and worship in the presence of the Lord with your heart open to hear from Him until you have a sense of assurance that God is giving you direction for your sermon.

Preview of content in next part:

  • Pray as you look to the Lord to show you His message for the sermon
  • How the Lord speaks to you about what to minister
  • Example ways in which the Lord speaks to you about what to minister
  • Some precious promises of God that He will instruct you and teach you
  • Wait for God's Spirit to minister to you what He wants you to minister

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