The Very First Step to Preparing a Sermon

The art of preaching is not just about delivering a message; it is a sacred responsibility that involves touching hearts, inspiring minds, and transforming lives.

Every sermon is a unique opportunity to communicate the profound wisdom of the Gospel. In this article, we will explore the foundational step in sermon preparation: the significance of prayer and the preparation of the preacher’s heart.

Understanding that the essence of a sermon is deeply rooted in the preacher’s spiritual connection and authenticity is paramount. Let’s delve into the spiritual journey that every preacher must embark upon before stepping into the pulpit.

The Preacher’s Heart: A Wellspring of Truth

Before the words of a sermon reach the ears of the congregation, they must flow from a heart deeply connected to the Divine.

The preacher’s heart is like a reservoir, filled with faith, love, and compassion. It is from this wellspring of faith that the sermon draws its authenticity and power.

A heart attuned to God’s wisdom can convey the message with sincerity and conviction, making the sermon resonate profoundly with the listeners.

The Role of Prayer in Sermon Preparation

Prayer is not just a ritual; it is a profound communion with the Divine. In the context of sermon preparation, prayer serves as the spiritual compass guiding the preacher through the process. Through prayer, the preacher seeks God’s guidance, wisdom, and inspiration. It is a moment of surrender, where the preacher opens their heart and mind to receive the divine message. Prayer illuminates the preacher’s understanding of the scripture, allowing them to discern its deeper meanings and relevance to the congregation’s lives.

Listening to God’s Voice

In the quietude of prayer, the preacher learns to listen—to listen not only to the words of the scripture but also to the subtle whispers of God’s voice. God speaks to the heart that is open and receptive. Through prayer, the preacher discerns the nuances of the message intended for the congregation. It might be a word of comfort for the broken-hearted, a call to repentance for the wayward, or a message of hope for the despairing. Listening to God’s voice in prayer enables the preacher to tailor the sermon according to the congregation’s spiritual needs.

Preparing the Preacher’s Heart: Humility and Authenticity

Preparing the heart is not just about filling it with divine wisdom; it is also about cultivating virtues that reflect the teachings of Christ. Humility is the cornerstone of effective preaching. A humble heart recognizes that the preacher is merely a vessel through which God’s message flows. It is not about the preacher’s eloquence or knowledge but about the transformative power of the Gospel. Authenticity is another vital virtue. A preacher’s authenticity stems from living a life in alignment with the teachings they proclaim. When the preacher’s life reflects the values they preach, the message gains credibility and impact.

Overcoming Challenges Through Prayer

The journey of preparing a sermon is not without its challenges. There might be moments of doubt, fear, or inadequacy. In these moments, prayer becomes a source of strength and courage. By surrendering these challenges to God in prayer, the preacher finds reassurance in the divine presence. Prayer reminds the preacher that they are not alone in this sacred endeavor. God’s strength is made perfect in weakness, and through prayer, the preacher draws upon this divine strength to overcome any obstacles.

Prayer and Empathy: Understanding the Congregation’s Needs

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. In the context of sermon preparation, empathy is crucial. Through prayer, the preacher develops empathy for the congregation. The preacher is able to discern their struggles, fears, and aspirations. This deep understanding allows the sermon to address the congregation’s needs with compassion and relevance. Prayer cultivates a heart of empathy, enabling the preacher to connect with the congregation on a profound level.

The Transformative Power of a Preacher’s Prayers

The prayers of a preacher are not limited to the sermon preparation alone; they extend to the congregation. A preacher’s prayers are like invisible threads that bind the congregation together in love and unity. Through prayer, the preacher intercedes for the congregation, lifting their concerns and aspirations to God. The transformative power of these prayers is often felt by the congregation, creating a sense of belonging and spiritual support.


In the grand tapestry of preaching, the very first step is the most crucial one. It is the step where the preacher, in the sanctuary of prayer, prepares their heart to be a vessel of God’s message. Through prayer, the preacher’s heart is attuned to the divine wisdom, and their spirit is filled with humility, authenticity, and empathy. It is from this sacred space that a sermon of profound impact and transformation emerges.

As preachers kneel in prayer, they are not just preparing a sermon; they are opening themselves to a divine partnership. They are inviting God to speak through them, to touch hearts, to heal wounds, and to inspire change. In the stillness of prayer, the preacher finds not only the words for the sermon but also the strength to deliver it with conviction and love. Thus, the very first step in preparing a sermon is not about the words on paper; it is about the Word written in the preacher’s heart, nurtured and illuminated through the power of prayer.

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