Sermon Helps: Write the Closing Prayer First

Most preachers end their sermons with a prayer or a prayer period. For some preachers, the prayer closing one sermon differs little from the prayer ending another. However, I have long found it helpful not only to plan and write my closing prayer (or, in some cases, the benediction to close the service), but to actually make that prayer the first thing I do when writing my sermon.

Here’s why. Defining what I will be praying for my listeners or asking of them at the sermon’s close is one of the best ways I know to define and sharpen the aim of the whole sermon from beginning to end. Knowing where I’m going to end helps me to know how to start and how to proceed. It starts the sermon preparation process “with the end in mind,” to cite a familiar phrase.

Do you plan to prompt your listeners to experience new life in Christ as a result of your sermon? Or do you hope that your hearers will reach a new level of commitment by the time the service concludes? Or are you going to ask them to surrender a particular sin or rise up to a specific task? Whatever the case, write the prayer that will close your sermon first, and then let it guide the rest of your preparation.

-Photo by Melyna Valle on Unsplash

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