I ask God for four things every time I have to opportunity to speak:
First, as I prepare to step to the pulpit, I silently pray, “Help me be clear in what I say.” Clarity is something I greatly value. I have discovered in interacting with people that many do not enjoy preachers because they are too difficult to follow. I don’t want to be in that camp. I certainly don’t want to make the gospel unclear.
Secondly, I pray, “Help me enunciate carefully.” Because of the inherited speech defect from which God delivered me, I need His help each time I begin to speak to an audience. Any kind of praise regarding my presentation sends me to my knees because apart from God’s working, I would not be a speaker today! I continue to need His help enunciating properly.
Thirdly, I pray, “Help me speak slowly.” Coming from the Northeast, I have had to slow down in my speech. People from the Northeast speak faster than other places and it is always easy for me to speak too fast.
Finally, I ask God, “Help me to depend on you.” I am always conscious of John 15:5: “without Me You can do nothing.”
As I make these four requests of God, I experience His presence in a special way in the pulpit. I am ever aware that it is not me speaking through Christ, but Him speaking through me.