Preachers, I hope you labor in the preparation of your sermons. But I fear that we put too much trust in the mechanics of "sermon prep," believing excellent commentaries, classic writings, a good homiletic outline, and a strong conviction are all that's needed to prepare to preach the word. But this is not enough. It's not even close, because it misses out on what may be the most critical component of sermon study. In his classic work, The Christian Ministry, Charles Bridges offers the following.
After preaching for nearly twenty years, I can assure you I have learned this the hard way. It is easy to rely on a great tool, like Logos Bible Software, without relying on God for our clarity, conviction, and confidence in preaching. We need tools to help us, but we need the Holy Spirit to illumine, convict, and empower. And much of the Spirit's work in us will be done in conjunction with prayer. I guess I shouldn't say I have learned this. I am still learning it.
So preachers, before we preach, let's seek the Lord's help in prayer, praying over the text, for our own minds and hearts, for the good of those who will hear, and for the glory of Jesus Christ.