A Prayer before a Preacher

Friday is for Heart Songs

Augustine Icon
Orthodox Icon of Augustine of Hippo

I still remember my Latin professor at the University of Maryland saying, “No man can consider himself educated who has not read The Confessions of Augustine.” Great men like Augustine deserve to be read in every generation. But not everyone has the time or opportunity. That is one of the reasons I appreciate ministries like Kairos Journal that plumb the writings of history’s great minds and pull out gems like this one below.

Remember to pray for your pastor this weekend.  The following is from Kairos Journal.

“A man of prayer before becoming a man of words’”
—Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354 – 430)

Augustine of Hippo—famous bishop, pastor, theologian, and philosopher—was a superlative preacher. In On Christian Teaching, he shares with his brother pastors his meditations on the sacred art. This famous pastoral manual remains worthy of sustained study, the fourth chapter containing Augustine’s most developed understanding of preaching. This extract contains words that may find an abiding place in the heart of the pastor, as Augustine calls for prayer before preaching, a turning to God before turning to the congregation.

The aim of our orator, then, when speaking of things that are just and holy and good – and he should not speak of anything else – the aim, as I say, that he pursues to the best of his ability when he speaks of these things is to be listened to with understanding, with pleasure, and with obedience. He should be in no doubt that any ability he has and however much he has, derives more from his devotion to prayer than his dedication to oratory; and so, by praying for himself and for those he is about to address, he must become a man of prayer before becoming a man of words. As the hour of his address approaches, before he opens his thrusting lips he should lift his thirsting soul to God so that he may utter what he has drunk in and pour out what has filled him.1

Footnote:

1 Saint Augustine, On Christian Teaching, trans. R. P. H. Green (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 121.

Pastors: Let’s be men who thirst for Christ in prayer before we thrust our words at his people. Let’s be thirsting souls for God before we speak to souls about him.


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