Preaching When You Dont Feel Like Preaching

crying womanHow can you preach when you don’t feel like preaching? Someone asked that question a while ago. And this is a very interesting question. Let me first of all say that you don’t have to preach every week. In the vast majority of churches there is at least one other person who could preach. If you allowed someone else to preach in the pulpit God has entrusted to you every so often, it would do a lot towards rejuvenating your energies. You can even train your associates in this very important preaching ministry. I am not saying that you should allow people in the pulpit who are not ready or who don’t know what to do, but perhaps you can begin training them.

In addition, you you can find other preachers to preach at times. If not in your congregation, there are literally scores of preachers in every city who would love to go preach for you. Talk to other ministers about their new hot-shot associate or about the elderly retired minister who is in her congregation. You can always find others to help you in your preaching ministry. Often there are people out there who would just love to preach for you.

Preach On!

But I don’t want to sidestep the question. How do you preach when you don’t feel like it? In short the answer is to just preach. Preach on in your pain. Preach on through your pain. Often your pain can open up avenues in the scripture that you would not be able to see if you were feeling just fine. Andre Crouch sang: “If I didn’t have a problem, I wouldn’t know that God could solve them…” In addition, if the prophet Habakkuk didn’t get mad at God we wouldn’t have the book of Habakkuk. So just like Habakkuk wrote on and just like Andrea Sang on, I would encourage you to preach on.

Don’t Ignore Your Pain

As you preach, you should not attempt to ignore your pain while preaching or preparing. It is always important to be genuine. You may not connect with certain texts that you normally connect with. This time of pain might be a time of discovery and hope in the midst of hopelessness. It is easy to talk about God hooking you up when all is well, but when you in the midst of something….you gotta be more real…more connected to your congregation’s pain…more connected to humanity’s pain. hurt can be a gift to you as a preacher….

Finally, recognize that you are preaching for the help of the whole congregation and not just for yourself alone. While you shouldn’t ignore yourself, you must not only preach for or to yourself either. It is a balancing act, but you must ever realize that you are preaching to a congregation that needs a word. when you are in pain, that word may be a future-oriented hope. Meaning that it is not today that I am feeling good, but it is a future hope. Like the old song says “I’m so glad trouble don’t last always.”

Or perhaps it is not an overt hope, but one that comes from the other side of the articulation of pain. Like the slaves who sang: “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child.” You can’t learn about how good God’s gift is until you fully understand your present position apart from God. Whatever it is, send them home with a real…valid…Word….

Let me also add, when you get past this time of pain, and you will, don’t forget to look back at it. Look back at it and let your new vantage point from the other side of your pain guide you in your future preaching!!!

28 thoughts on “Preaching When You Dont Feel Like Preaching

  1. I am a minister that preaches very hard, however I was injured in a movie theatre fall in one of their chairs, which has me temporarily with a serious injury to my lower back and right hip and thigh. I am looking for some info as to others who preach in and through thir pains, and hurts. My wife and I are also gospel recording Artist who sing as well and because of thi injury, I’m not able to dance like I use to do, move like I use to do, but I do what I can, yet for a rap artist who is not moving and dancing, its very difficult, can you send me some info as some other preachers and or artist who have been in simular circumstances, and what they did or what they are doing. After 23 treatment centers and 23 years of drug adiction I’ve got to be able to express it and tell it, He’s been too good not to tell it. Thanks for what you have given me, and this is an awesome site
    In His Servic
    Minister Thaddeus K Bruce


  3. Brother Preachers,
    I agree that the short answer is “preach on!” Nevertheless, the reality of our pain is a source of preaching power, as Henri Nouwen suggested in “The Wounded Healer.” In fact, I have personally experienced that the very act of preaching is a cathartic, healing enterprise. As Paul wrote, God’s power is most manifest in our weakness. This wonderful gospel is indeed deposited in earthen vessels: the contents are revealed most readily when the vessel is broken!

  4. Pastor Jones,

    Yes, as we preach through our pain, we will be able to say with the Psalmist…”If I make my bed in hell..thou art with me.” Psalm 139:8.

  5. I agree that “preaching on” is the answer. When our Pastor has been sick or hurting because of injury, we are all very aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit while the Pastor is giving his message. It teaches us to learn to rely on God like that even in good times! However, I also can speak from the perspective of the newbie in the congregation who has the opportunity to preach once in a while at my home church. It’s a privilege and an incredible learning opportunity. The things I learn while preparing a message and giving it could not be learned any other way! God bless!

  6. There are moments in our preaching that we feel very low when our “battery” is drained. It is incumbent upon us preachers to bring light to the congregation, not from a “low batt.” So, it is better to recharge your energy and mind. When fully-charged then you can preach again.Likewise, under the hurting condition it is better to give the opportunity to associates to shine. But apostle Paul continued his ministry even though he was hurting, so it also a challenge for preachers to go on preaching even if they are in pain.

  7. My dear brother, Elder Cox,

    It is extremely refreshing and sobering receiving and reflecting upon the topic of discussions. Truly pain is a very real part of our lives and the “Sun does stand still” at times in all of our lives. As a product of the Black Church Tradition in America, our, experience has always been painful and not pain-less that’s why we can sing “nobody told me the road would be easy, but, I, don’t believe God brought me this far to leave me” and “I feel like going on tho trials come on every hand I feel like going on.” A strong Pastor will mentor those God has placed around them and not feel threaten when they’re given the opportunity to proclaim the Word of God.

  8. Elder Cox,

    You echo the sentiments of Dr. Jerry L. Schmalenberger in his book, The Preacher’s Edge, in that the preacher is helped by preaching, whether he or she appreciates it or not.

    Rev. Kelly

  9. Rev Cox,
    thanks for the blog it is encouraging. I am not a preacher however I strive to write a weekly devotion or tesitmony and it becomes a chanllenge some weeks to create a new messag/topic of choice and yes you have to preach (write) through the pain.


  10. I am associate pastor of First Central Garden Baptist Church in Houston Texas. Sometimes when my Pastor does not fill like preaching he puts me on the spot if I fill like it or not. Something that he always tell me is; We never know the time nor the hour, so we must stay ready. So in times like that I just allow the Holy Ghost to take control. And when I’m in situations like that, people always tell me they enjoyed my message.

  11. I’m doing fine with my preaching only somehow sometimes i’m losing track prepairing myself accordingly.

  12. Thank you, that’s all I can say. This website, your website, God’s tool has been a mighty blessing to me; in just a few weeks time I have received so many relative and important aspects of preaching that has helped me in my walk with as well as preaching for the Kingdom of God. Although, I have had my share of homiletic courses this website is where the rubber meats the road. Once again Thank you. O2002C

  13. Thank you, that’ all I can say. This website, your website, God’s tool has been a mighty blessing to me; in just a few weeks time I have received so many relevant and important aspects of preaching that have helped me in my walk as well as preaching for the Kingdom of God. Although I have had my share of homiletic courses, this website is where the rubber meats the road. Once again, Thank you.

  14. God is good…I pray that this site will continue to be a blessing to the Body of Christ…

  15. Blessings family, I truly agree it gets hard to preach during our time of pain and hurt. I too have dealt with severe pain and suffering; especially when the doctor told me I had cancer. I did not ask nor wanted to be a preacher, but as Jeremiah 1:5 states. God has blessed me with healing hands to lay on the sick and myself. I said ” there is no woe is me in me.” I am now cancer free and at times just dont want to preach. I have found that God really use me in the spirit when I beg and plead to Him. There have been and I am sure there will be many more days; when my entire witten message is LET the HOLY SPIRIT use you! I also have men and women in the church who can preach the word of God. This give me a little wisdom to realize Jesus had to have a break and get away. As pastors let us not fear as some have in my past of someone preaching a better word than us. What God have for us is for is for us.Thanks for this site. Brother Haywood may God continue to use you. GEA

  16. daer brother cox for so long i’ve been searching for an edge to my own god giving talents,we as preacher’s and teachers won’t preach the same but the message should be the same if you are preahing the true gospel i’m greatful that i came upon your site and i will use it for the glory of god thank you so much and god bless you for giving the servants of god the right edge.

  17. In the last few years, I’ve had several opportunities to “preach on.” My mother passed on. My wife became ill and the treatments nearly killed her. We’ve faced other struggles in our family. But God is faithful. The Spirit gave me the strength to say one more word, one more sentence, eventually one more sermon. I’m here to testify to his sustaining grace. Thank you this encouraging post.

  18. I would never minimize the pain that anyone goes through. But in Jesus, God can use it for His glory and our good. At the end of it all, Job’s eyes opened after pain and loneliness that I cannot appreciate, turns to God and says;

    My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. – Job 42:5

    May God open our eyes through pain to to see and worship the savior.

  19. I have not really had to preach through pain, but the pastor of the church I attend some years ago lose his wife. He was left with four small children and dealt with a lot of pain. He now has a great ministry that deals with the family and people who are hurting.

  20. Jesus carried His cross in the time of pain therefore we also often preached in the time of pain as if nothing hurt happened in our heart ,yes the crisis are dangerous opportunity for success!

  21. It is,indeed,a challenge to preach when you are going through a test. However, I have learned that it is His strength that compels and propels you through your declaration.

  22. What a topic.Through pain we can tell other people how great is our God.Thank you. I am blessed.

  23. As an instrument fit for our Master’s use, I have learned that pain and the many faces it will bare, presents the opportunity for personal growth/death and the glorification of our God.
    Romans 8:18 says: I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Our greatest experiences with God isn’t necessarily the ones that take place on the mountain tops, but rather those that happen in the valley where Johovah becomes our way maker out of no way. Take a stroll down memory lane and you can witness, Thoughout the history of the 66 and 40 it is noted that whomever God chose to carry out His will, they were never chosen based upon their own personal ability. They were all chosen because of their “availability”. You ask why? I’m glad you asked, because Jesus Christ alone is the True Preacher and scripture has never deviated from that. This is what He said:
    Just as the Holy Spirit of God is the True Teacher, as recorded:
    1JN 2:27 
    as for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.
    When we position ourselves as the instruments of God our character,conduct and commitment to God will allow Him (God) to look out of the portal of heaven and remain fully effective in our lives as the author and finisher of our faith…..

  24. When preaching seems difficult based on our senses. Jesus tells us that His grace is sufficient for us. The Lord’s strength is made perfect in our weakness 2Cor. 12:9. Therefore, let us press forward because we are willing, and never based on our feeling! We are in it to preach God’s Will anyway. If we had to preach based on our circumstances, I feel like we would all have periods of silence! Let us never allow our will to over-ride the perfect Will of God. Great word Pastor Cox II…

  25. Brother Cox I thank Almighty God for you, and the rich gift he has placed in you for the body of Christ, right on time, i can keep preaching through pain.

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