Prayer and Preaching

From David Helm’s new little book in the 9Marks Building Healthy Churches Series, Expositional Preaching: How We Speak God’s Word Today (Wheaton: Crossway, 2014), 68-69:

There is an intimate connection between the revelation of the identity of Christ – seeing him as the fulfillment of the Scriptures – and moments of prayerful quiet.

Luke makes this connection on a number of occasions. When Peter responds to Jesus’s question, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ with ‘the Christ of God,’ the readers had just been told that Jesus was praying alone (Luke 9:18-20). In other words, Luke wants his readers to know that Jesus was revealed to Peter in the context of prayer. The transfiguration, when Jesus was revealed in his glory as the Son, the Chosen One, follows Jesus taking Peter, James, and John to go to the mountain and pray (Luke 9:28-36). Back in the beginning of the Gospel, aged Simeon and Anna are both identified as pious people of prayer – statements that immediately precede God’s revealing Jesus to them (Luke 2:27, 37; cf. Luke 2:28-32, 38). Even when God reveals the identity of Jesus at his baptism, Luke records that the heavens were opened and that God spoke, claiming Jesus as his Son. Luke records that the heavens opened just as Jesus was praying (Luke 3:21-22).

Luke could not have been any clearer: God reveals Jesus to people as a consequence of prayer. And so, if we really want Jesus to be revealed in our preaching – if we really want to uncover Jesus as the very center of all the Scriptures – then we must begin with prayer in our preparation.

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