“Yet I long that people might be edified with divine truth, that an honest testimony might be borne for Thee.”
So reads the next section in the prayer “A Minister’s Preaching” in the book Valley of Vision.
Why do we preach? We preach because people need to hear from God. We, like the writer of the lines above, long that people might be edified with divine truth. We want to see them grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, to see them mature in their faith, to see them live out the truth of Scripture in their lives.
Spiritual growth – in our own lives as well as in the lives of others – takes time. I used to compare what we do when we preach to the way layers of newspaper and paste become a paper mache creation. Change is imperceptible, but as layer upon layer is added, the object takes shape. So it is with preaching.
And by the way – let that encourage you. Watching our people grow is like watching children grow. You don’t see much of anything if you look day after day, but over time, it becomes visible. Often we get discouraged because it seems like nothing is “happening.” But we don’t see the hearts of our people, and we don’t know what God is doing in them.
The goal of preaching is that people grow to be like Christ. That’s what the author of this prayer means when he expresses his desire that his people to be edified. Pray that God will do that in your life and in the lives of your people as you preach and teach this Sunday. May God bless in your work.