The Cinderella of the Church today is the prayer meeting. This handmaid of the Lord is unloved and unwooed because she is not dripping with pearls of intellectualism, nor glamorous with the silks of philosophy, neither is she enchanting with the tiara of psychology. She wears the homespuns of sincerity and humility and so is not afraid to kneel!
The offense of prayer is that it does not essentially tie in to mental efficiency. That is not to say that prayer is a partner to mental sloth. But in these days, efficiency and smartness are at a premium. Prayer is conditioned to one thing alone, and that is to spirituality. One does not need to be spiritual to preach, that is, to make and deliver sermons of homiletical perfection and exegetical exactitude. By a combination of memory, knowledge, ambition, personality, plus well-lined book shelves, self-confidence and a sense of having arrived – the pulpit is yours almost anywhere these days. Preaching of the type mentioned affects men; prayer affects God. Preaching affects time; prayer affects eternity. The pulpit can be a shop window to display our talents; the closet speaks death to display.
The tragedy of this last hour is that we have too many dead men in the pulpits giving out too many dead sermons to too many dead people. There is a strange thing that I have seen even in the fundamentalist circles: it is preaching without unction. What is unction? I hardly know what it is, but I know what it is not, or at least I know when it is not upon my own soul. Preaching without unction kills instead of giving life. The unctionless preacher is a savor of death unto death. The Word does not live unless the unction is upon the preacher. Preacher, with all thy getting, get unction.
Brethren, we could well manage to be half as intellectual if we were twice as spiritual. Preaching is a spiritual business. A sermon born in the head reaches the head. A sermon born in the heart reaches the heart. A spiritual preacher will under God produce spiritually-minded people. Unction is not a gentle dove beating her wings against the bars outside of the preacher’s soul; rather she must be pursued and won. Unction cannot be learned, only earned by prayer. Unction is God’s knighthood for the soldier-preacher who has wrestled in prayer and gained the victory. Victory is not won in the pulpit by firing intellectual bullets or wisecracks, but in the prayer closet. The meeting is won or lost before the preacher’s foot enters the pulpit. Unction is like perfume. Unction is like dynamite. Unction comes not by the medium of the bishop’s hands, neither does it mildew when the preacher is cast into prison. Unction will pierce and percolate. It will sweeten and soften. When the hammer of logic and the fire of human zeal fail to open the stony heart, unction will succeed.
What a fever of church building there is just now, yet without unctionized preachers these altars will never see anxious penitents. Suppose that we saw fishing boats with the latest in radar equipment and fishing gear launched month after month and put out to sea only to return without a catch – what excuse would we take for this barrenness? Yet thousands of churches see empty altars week after week and year after year and cover this sterile situation by misapplying the Scripture. “My word . . . shall not return unto me void.” Incidentally, this seems to be one of the very few texts that the dispensationalists forgot to tell us was written to the Jews!
The ugly fact is that the altar fires are either out or burning very low. The prayer meeting is dead or dying. By our attitude to prayer we tell God that what was begun in the Spirit we can finish in the flesh. What church ever asks its candidating ministers what time they spend in prayer? Ministers who do not spend two hours a day in prayer are not worth a dime a dozen – degrees or no degrees. Where are our unctionized pulpit crusaders? Preachers who should be fishing for men are now too often fishing for compliments from men. Preachers used to sow seed; now they string intellectual pearls.
Source: Christian Articles
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Very well said Walter!
I looked up unction, being fairly unfamiliar with the word. Do you mean the “anointing” or “fervor” version of the word?
I once had a pastor…a man who had come from the brink of suicide to faith, through leaving his job and going to seminary, to the pulpit. He was nervous at first, but was very sincere, unaffected, with only the desire to say whatever it was God wanted him to say. So he prayed, and kept an open heart and a calm mind. And he was powerful (in a gentle and wise way). He once said that he felt comfortable in the pulpit when he realized that “I’m not doing the speaking…it is the Spirit. If God has something to say through me, I could read from the phone book, and the Spirit would help the people hear.” Is that, maybe, the anointed version of unction? I would take it over the hammer of logic and the fire of human zeal any day. My vulnerable heart can hear it better. I am enjoying reading your blog, and hope my comment isn’t out of place! Blessings! Diane
In my circle we use it in place of the “anointing” but you are absolutely right it could mean favor or the Spirit’s enabling power… thanks for sharing and your comments – they are anointed and right on. I am sorry for the late reply.
Sad my friend because it is true…
Very sad indeed… Thank you for the comment…
That is so very true Walter many preachers are preaching don’t even have the unction of The Holy Spirit on them. And it’s sad because it’s as if they lost their fire that was once there. Or maybe something else has occupied their time. One thing is for sure, anytime anyone speaks they must have the spirit other wise they speak for themselves.
I agree with you, we must all strive to make space for the Spirit of God use us, because – “When the hammer of logic and the fire of human zeal fail to open the stony heart, unction will succeed.”
Thank you so much for your input…
I love your stuff! Keep it up!
Thank you for the comment and most especially the encouragement… With the Lord we will continue do what He alone enables us to do… Thank you much!