by Ernest V. Liddle
Preaching Magazine http://www.preaching.com
There is a dire need in today’s churches for the preachers to become praying preachers. Prayer will help the preachers to unlock the resources of heaven and become channels of blessing. Liddle says, “Preachers must have a vivid knowledge of the Holy One. That is discovered ‘in the shelter of the Most High,’ and ‘under the shadow of the Almighty.’ Psalm 91.1.” A preacher that seeks holiness must also desire solitude. Spending alone time with Jesus will help develop the preacher’s prayer life. Jesus, as our example, often went somewhere by himself to pray. Prayer should be done in an attitude of worship. Liddle says that after we seek God through prayer a joyous presence will envelope the preacher throughout the remainder of the day. Preachers that position themselves in a way that they will likely be distracted are less likely to hear from God. When going before God, preachers should not be the only one to speak. Sometimes they should just sit still and listen to what God has to say. Liddle believes that preachers should follow the prayer life of Jesus and Elijah. Jesus often went to the mountains to pray and have night-long conversations with God. Elijah also had an awesome relationship with God. During Elijah’s forty day and forty night journey to Horeb, the Mountain of God, he enjoyed companionship and fellowship with God. Having such a good relationship with God allowed Elijah to confront the prophets of Baal and challenge King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. When Elijah received death threats, God protected him. Liddle goes on to say that few people have ever had the kind of relationship with God that Elijah had. Elijah was intimate with God. Elijah knew what it was like to live in God’s presence and walk with Him. This could be the reason that Elijah was so bold and confident. He did all that God had called him to do and when his time on Earth was complete, God did not let him die but took him in a chariot of fire. The book of James references Elijah in chapter 5 by saying, “the prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective.” Elijah’s prayers were not redundant or full of meaningless words. Elijah did not waste his time or God’s time in prayer. Liddle explains that Elijah’s prayers are what made him such a dynamic prophet. Liddle tells preachers that God does not speak through tornadoes and earthquakes but through the inner sanctum of our being in a whisper. Preachers should seek out the quiet place with God where they can be alone with Him. Preachers must be committed to spending time alone with God. It will take discipline and sacrifice. Spending quality time with God means that we spend less time thinking of the temporal things of this world and set our mind on eternal things. Liddle closes by urging us to be a praying preacher.
This article hit me right in the face. You might call this a wake up call. I thought that I spent time alone with God. Then I realized how I could better prioritize my time to be able to spend more time alone with God. I understand now by the story of Elijah how much better my relationship with God could be. I should pray more and more often. I should pray more for my wife and our unborn child, I should pray for my pastor, and I should pray for my college students and their walk with Christ. Also, I should pray for myself a little more than I do. I should pray for my continual obedience to God and that when I preach, I preach in a way that is effective to the listeners and honors God at the same time. I should pray that I true to the Scriptures and that I preach them in an expository way. I do not believe that people give prayer much credit. Prayer is much more than saying the blessing over food or something you do with your child before bedtime. Prayer is powerful and meaningful communication with the Heavenly Father. My relationship could be better. I am now committed to more of a sacrifice and discipline so that I may be spend more time learning and hearing what God has to say to me.