I was praying prior to speaking in a morning service, not long ago, when the Lord said to me, “Preaching without prayer is just performance.” He went on to say, “An actor learns a script and goes on stage and recites it. You can be trained to do that or learn it yourself.” He told me, “Don’t build your ministry on anything but prayer!”
I thought about what the Lord Jesus had said to me. The move is on, in the sight and sound generation, to be relevant in messages ministers speak. It is true we are in a sight and sound era because of technology. Ministers are trained and encouraged to have props, video and power point inserts in their messages. I am for having relevant material and visual aids. The Lord said to me, “Many ministers are so busy getting together all the visual material that they have no time left to pray. They get so caught up in the mental realm that the message they present appeals highly to the mind, will and emotions of the hearer. It does nothing or very little to change the spirit of the listener. The listener leaves the service all propped up mentally and emotionally but fails to have the Spiritual ability to live a Christian life.” Jesus said, “For without me you can do nothing.”
The truth about how to live the Christian life is found in the Bible. For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7). Dad Hagin used to say that anything you use in the natural world to help prop you up, will hinder you spiritually. He taught that we were to live from within, by the Holy Spirit. He told us that we were to be led by the Holy Spirit and not the natural world. Dad Hagin said using an alarm clock to wake you in the morning would hinder your faith. He said, “I always tell the Holy Spirit what time I want to wake up,” and he always woke up at that time. Of course, some considered Dad Hagin to have been washed up and out of touch with reality. Jesus never did! He appeared to him more times than anyone else I know of on planet earth. Kenneth E. Hagin told me personally that there were many things that he knew that he could not share with the church because they were not ready for them.
I encourage you to be relevant and have good powerful illustrations, but not at the expense of having no time to pray and seek the Lord. In fact, I believe you should never prepare a message before asking the Lord what He wants to say and how He wants you to say it.
I personally go before the Lord in prayer and wait in His presence until He tells me what to speak. I will pray and meditate on the Word of God and fast some during this time. Many times I don’t hear anything and just keep on worshipping Him. The closer it gets to the service time the more concerned my flesh seems to get if I haven’t heard anything. I have learned over the years to just keep on waiting and crucify the flesh. The flesh and mind don’t like that. Many times I get the message while I am praying to begin my message! No time to get props, illustrations or anything! My preaching is always filled with power and results when I yield to the Lord. If you have no prayer life, there will be no power in your life to help you, or others. I always ask the Lord for revelation and illustration of His Word so that I can communicate it clearly to others. He never fails me nor will He fail you, if you will ask Him.