Right before I preach, I usually offer up some sort of prayer asking God to move me out of the way and preach the sermon through me.
I asked to be moved out of the way because the best sermons are the ones when people truly receive a word from God, not a person. Something powerful and fresh, something that each individual feels is just for them. A message that will resonate with them for months and years to come and change their lives for the better.
Since I can’t possibly write and deliver anything that magnificent on my own, I pray a lot during the sermon writing process. Then, just as I’m about to preach, I throw up one last prayer: “God, let me decrease so that you may increase.”
I gotta tell ya, that prayer really works. When you sincerely pray to have your ego, your pride, your crude sense of humor, your fear, and your unworthiness pushed aside and replaced by God’s wisdom and power, some amazing things can happen.
Then I realized, this prayer is too good to only use at the preaching moment. Why not use it all the time? Headed into a meeting? “God, move me out of the way so that I can listen and speak with your wisdom.” Feel an argument coming on? “God, fight this battle for me, because I like to fight dirty, and without you, I will only make matters worse.”
There is a small, dense, profound book called Light on the Path by Mabel Collins that perhaps says it best:
“Stand aside in the coming battle, and though thou fightest be not thou the warrior.”