Friday, April 24, 2009

A Minister's Preaching

My Master God,
I am desired to preach today,
but go weak and needy to my task;
Yet I long that people might be edified
with divine truth,
that an honest testimony might be borne
for thee;
Give me assistance in preaching and prayer,
with heart uplifted for grace and unction.
Present to my view things pertinent to
my subject,
with fullness of matter and clarity of thought,
proper expressions, fluency, fervency,
a feeling sense of the things I preach,
and grace to apply them to men's consciences.
Keep me conscious all the while of my defects,
and let me not gloat in pride over
my performance.
Help me offer a testimony for thyself,
and to leave sinners inexcusable in neglecting
thy mercy.
Give me freedom to open the sorrows of thy people,
and to set before them comforting considerations.
Attend with power the truth preached,
and awaken the attention of my slothful audience.
May thy people be refreshed, melted, convicted,
and help me use the strongest arguments
drawn from Christ's incarnation and sufferings,
that men might be made holy.

I myself need thy support, comfort, strength,
that I might be a pure channel of thy grace,
and be able to do something for thee;
Give me then refreshment among thy people,
and help me not to treat excellent matter
in a defective way,
or bear a broken testimony to so worthy
a Redeemer,
or be harsh in treating of Christ's death,
its design and end,
from lack of warmth and fervency.
And keep me in tune with thee
as I do this work.

[Bennett, Arthur G. The Valley of Vision A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 2003, 348-349.]