Praying the Mission: The Father is the Ground and Goal of our MissionTuesday, October 05, 2010
I began a new Sunday morning series for Church in the Boro on "The Lord's Prayer" this past week. It's entitled "Praying the Mission" primarily because the thrust of the prayer Jesus taught us to pray is about His kingdom and our conduct. Together, these reflect the mission Jesus called all of His disciples to.
Despite the twelve pages of notes prepared, I only got to page three. The Holy Spirit was teaching me while I was teaching. This happens often to many preachers, including Spurgeon who wrote to his students,
"I do not see where the opportunity is given to the Spirit of God to help us in preaching, if every jot and tittle is settled beforehand. Do let your trust in God be free to move hand and foot. While you are preaching, believe that God the Holy Spirit can give you, in the self-same hour, what you shall speak; and can make you say what you had not previously thought of; yes, and make this newly-given utterance to be the very arrowhead of the discourse, which shall strike deeper into the heart than anything you had prepared" (An All-Round Ministry, pp. 349-350. An All Round Ministry by Charles Spurgeon (Google Book Version)).
That is very much what happened to me this past Sunday, but it happened through the difficult labor of exegesis in Matthew 6, in preparation for the message itself. Though the Holy Spirit works in this way, He also is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6). Diligently seek Him in the labor of exegesis, Bible study, hermeneutics, etc., and He will richly reward you with illumination and prophetic insight in the very act of preaching itself. The hilarious difficulty, however, is that you can't take notes on what He's teaching you while you're trying to teach others!
Thank God for this blessing built into the gospel, that good news that tells me that even though the outward circumstances of life and decay of my mind and body may seem overwhelming, the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is at work in my mortal body giving me life, vitality, and supernatural ability to hear from Him and speak on behalf of Him. The preaching of the Word is one of the most significant, prophetic moments in the life of a preacher whom the gospel has gotten a hold of.