Preaching, Preachers, and Preachees
by Joseph Franks
Paul is writing to believers. The primary recipients of his letter are friends who have recognized their sin, received the righteousness of God that comes by faith, found themselves filled with the Holy Spirit, and were learning to thrive as living sacrifices for their Lord.
So, after sixteen chapters, how does he end his letter to his beloved brothers and sisters in Christ?
Romans 16:25–27 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.
Paul recognizes their need to be continually strengthened. Perpetually, they need additional doses of God’s grace. And how does the Apostle expect them to be spiritually strengthened? Paul expects God to grace them through the “preaching of Jesus Christ … through the prophetic writings.” Sermons, from God’s Word and focused on Jesus Christ, would be a “means of grace” whereby the souls of Christ’s followers would be improved.
Therefore, with this in mind, please pray for your minister. He is charged with a serious duty; his job is to strengthen you through his preaching. And this job is impossible unless he is aided and empowered by the Holy Spirit. So pray for his personal purity; pray for his spiritual vitality; ask the Father to grant him theological wisdom; pray that he might maintain a pastor’s heart; and also ask God to increase his communicative abilities. Pray for the man whose duty it is to feed your soul.
Secondly, pray for the heads and hearts of those sitting in the pews. Pray that God will focus the minds of hearers so they might ingest the truth from God’s Word. It is the Holy Spirit who opens blind eyes so men might see the truth. Then pray that God will soften the hearts of those in the pews so they might digest and apply that which they have learned. Many hear and never practice. May God make his Word powerful and effective this week.
Finally, pray for the feet of those in the church and neighborhood. Pray that they might not neglect the ministers and the preached Word on the Lord’s Day. God’s grace from the pulpit will not strengthen those who will not be found in the pews.