I wish I wasn’t admitting this. To be truthful I have never shared this with another soul. On my short drive to the church building every Sunday morning I always try to sing “Jesus Loves Me.” I sing it out-loud. Then I pray out-loud - it’s a prayer of thanksgiving that I get to do what I get to do and that I will stay out of the way of the text, and I pray for the people I will speak to that morning.
I certainly wish I could say that was it. You'd think me pious, humble, and compassionate, maybe even godly. But there is more and it’s the part I don't relish sharing but it's time I come clean. It seems not to matter how prepared I am, how much study I've done, how clear my goal is for the message, how well I've memorized my text, there's another prayer I find myself praying more Sundays than not.
It's the only prayer of a mostly selfish man. It’s the desperate prayer of a man with no one else to turn to. It's the penitent prayer of a man who knew he wasn't all he should be. “‘O Lord God,’ Samson began, ‘please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God…’” Judges 16:28.
God, I have no one else to turn to. All the study and prep and work in the world means nothing if You are not with me in this sermon. May this never been about me or without You. I've asked before but I ask again, “strengthen me only this once.” I feel weak, these words mean nothing if You are not in them. “Strengthen me only this once.”