Prayer is essential to sermon preparation as it is with any other preparation for ministry. Personal prayer is a must. However, it is often that we make a deeper penetration into the mind and heart of God when we pray with others of a kindred spirit.
Intercessory prayer is this type of prayer. It is as powerful as any sermon. In fact, without intercessory prayer the greatest sermon will not achieve its fullest impact. Dedicated intercessors should be in prayer before, during, and after the sermon. The enemy will do whatever he can get away with to steal the Word from the ears on the congregation. Intercession is the best defense.
One of the primary purposes of intercessory prayer is to enter into God’s presence with great humility and reverence. This cannot be rushed. We are to “enter his gates with thanksgiving and come into his court with praise.” Be sure to put all distractions aside. Spend time thanking and worshiping God for not only what He has done but for who He is. It is not the time for worldly distractions. It is not the time for personal agendas.
We must be sure to do all that we can to clear away obstacles to prayer in our own lives. One of the biggest is unforgiveness.
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. Mark 11:25-26
Intercessory prayer is orchestrated by God. In other words, we need to pray from God’s list and not our lists. Jesus showed us that prayer is about God’s kingdom and God’s will. Thus, we must spend much time in prayer listening to what God is saying to us. Then we must pray His Word. As we do, we are not only praying but prophesying in His name.
We must be willing to tarry in prayer until the Lord gives us His release. We need to pray with the passion and compassion of Jesus. If we do not have it then we should pray for it. James wrote:
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16