I stand in the middle of my bedroom, eyes closed in silence trying to listen to that soft, gentle voice of God.  A few minutes later I reach over to my laptop and hit the play button of that youtube worship song.  As the piano plays I pray out loud sharing my most honest thoughts with him. I feel a shift in the atmosphere as I know his presence is there with me. As I lift one hand I start to ponder more and more on the specific people that he has put on my heart to pray for.

Have you ever made a presentation that really got your adrenalin going? You maybe felt excited yet a bit nervous, with a tad bit of curiosity trying to wonder how it will all turn out? As a speaker you can get these weird combinations of emotions, I assume that’s normal for most people. Public speaking is fun but preaching is even more fun. Its one of my favorite things to do. You can feel this excitement and rush as you stand off to the side of the stage clenching your bible tight getting ready for your queue to walk up those few steps leading to the platform. You find yourself thinking in your head “OK this is it. Let’s do this.” I sometimes do a quick check to make sure everything is in place, looking at the water bottle off to the side, subtlety taping the microphone lightly once to make sure its on, placing my cell phone timer off to the side of my notes, the list goes on. I say all this to get my point across that when someone is on a stage there’s more to it than just opening your mouth and letting the words fall out. Preaching to people is only half of the job. Preparation and the prayer have a huge role to play as well.

Getting your notes all ready and some practicing out loud by yourself is obviously a crucial part. A week ago I sat at my desk looking at my long to do list, thinking in my head for a brief minute, “why do I have to do all these things, I just want to preach. That’s all I want to do.”  Then it hit me, wait I have to do all these things in order to preach. It really does make sense when you think about it, if you don’t send in your workshop description and title for the conference booking you, how are they to know what you’re going to be talking about. If you don’t reply to that pastor’s long email that has been sitting in your inbox for a few days, how are you to get there and confirm the invite? If you don’t practice your transitions of the points, how is it going to come across smooth and natural? If you don’t study and put in the work how will what you’re saying benefit anyone? It’s part of the job, you just do it, but personally I think the biggest thing that we can lack is praying even after the job is “done.” What I mean by that is it’s very common for most speakers to only spend a lot of time in prayer for what they are speaking on in preparation but then they forget to pray afterwards. I’m not talking about doing more altar calls.

What I’m saying is we don’t really think about going home after and  praying for those people’s hearts to really receive the message. After delivering a word from God, it then goes to the person who heard it and it’s their decision to do what they want with it. Sure ya, in the moment they could have responded to something you asked them to, but let’s be real here, it’s so easy to do that when your surround by a lot of other Christians. Is that message still resonating with them a month later is the question? In my opinion, part of the speaker’s job is to still continue to pray for those people even after they leave the building and return home. On Monday when everyone returns back to school/work that is where the real rubber meets the road. The challenging times come days after the message was given so wouldn’t that make sense to specifically cover people in prayer then? Will the audience act on what they heard from the weekend even when no one is watching. I really don’t think that peoples actions are impacted because of fancy words, mind blowing illustrations or a memorable slideshow. Those things are great and can help but ultimately and overall its Gods presence and conviction that steers us to make the right decisions in life. How do we get God’s presence and conviction? It’s through prayer! Many of us want Gods power but we forget to ask. We forget to put in the time to receive it. A confession I have is I tend to do my big in depth prayers most of the time as I’m getting ready before speaking in front of huge crowds or when I feel really weak… it would be great to pray passionately all the time. We should never stop praying. In Ephesians the bible says “Pray at all times”. Lets all try and do this together!  Easier said than done but it is doable. What would it look like to have a country focused on prayer? Picture with me what it would sound like if we gave God our full attention and prayed on the busy days and the slow days.

Like I was saying at the beginning, I stood in my room praying for people that will be in the audience of a place i’m speaking at next week. I then strongly heard God say in that soft voice, “Laura, why don’t you always pray to me like this, even on days when you’re not preparing for a message?” That revelation hit me like a pile of bricks. I do need to be in constant prayer, we all do. Why do we sometimes want to fight this spiritual battle on our own? Why not connect with our mighty God and see what he has to say at all times.

If you’re a communicator I challenge you with this. Next time you speak somewhere, set aside time a few days after to intentionally pray for those people that took the time to come sit in and hear God speak through you.