You may not feel comfortable with the message. You may be afraid of their faces. You may be in a place where preaching is out of season. You need God to guard your heart from fear, worry or discouragement. Or the sermon may go well. The congregation gets the message. There is the sense that God is at work. You need God to guard your heart from sinful pride.
I need God to govern my words.
I advocate writing full sermon manuscripts for each sermon. Writing yourself clear will keep you from filibustering in the pulpit. Yet it does not mean you should say everything in the manuscript. You need God to edit out what he wants out and edit in what he wants in.
The Apostle Paul often asked that he would be given the right words to say (Eph. 6:19-20; Col. 4:3-4). This, too, should be our prayer. The pulpit is not a stage for your performance. It is the throne of the word of God. The King’s herald must be careful not to say anything in preaching that is untrue, or unwise, or unhelpful.
Standing to preach is dangerous business. The Lord will judge teachers with greater strictness (James 3:1). There are unbelievers, baby Christians and mature saints in the congregation. Your preaching of the gospel is the fragrance of life to those who are being saved and the fragrance of death to those who are perishing. Our preaching of the gospel should be faithful, clear and compelling. We need God’s help to this end.
What do you pray as your preach?