It’s Saturday night as I pen this.  The day before Sunday.  Tomorrow preachers like myself will step to a speaking spot in their churches (i.e. pulpit, i.e. lectern, i.e. stand) and deliver a “message”.  And if things go well it will be received as a “message from God”.

Some of the preachers will be sophisticated, eloquent, flowing.  Others will be stumbling, stammering even stuttering.  Most will be somewhere in between bringing a thought from their preparations about God, life, people, heaven, safety, forgiveness, love, mercy, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, power, relationships.  And I could go on and on as the Bible is an exhaustless book of wisdom for the listener and an endless source of ideas for the preacher as he considers what God would say to people.

For me, I usually don’t have a problem sleeping on Saturday night.  A lot of my colleagues do.  I know my wife does.  I think the pressure is internal and external and even invisible.  There is pressure because the stakes are high when a preacher steps to front to bring God’s message for the day.  There is pressure because forces against wellness and health and spiritual vitality are always at work.  It’s not an easy place to stand and it’s a hard task to do.

But preachers keep on doing it.

If I were a listener, and these days I am often more in the position of listening than speaking, I always pray for the preacher as he stands.  And I pray for me–that I’ll be open to hearing what God might be saying.

Sometimes God speaks through the preacher–almost verbatim.  Other times the preacher stimulates me to think of other ideas.  And other times, the preacher loses me so badly that I wander around the wilderness of the sermon time creating my own word from God for that day!

But I always hear something from God.  You too?