I wish someone would have told me to make prayer more a part of my preparation as I prepared messages every week for our students. Oh sure, I prayed, but often, due to the busyness of the week, my prayers sounded more like the high school student sitting in class waiting for the test, "Lord, please help me!" I spent a ton of time reading commentaries. I spent a ton of time reading the passage over and over in context. I spent a ton of time creating PowerPoint presentations to make my messages more visually appealing. I spent hours upon hours searching for just the right movie clip to hammer home my point. I spent hours on creating handouts to help our students engage the message. I spent hours creating entire teaching journals for our students to track each message in the series. I spent hours writing questions to help our students engage the message they heard during the week. I spent hours arranging the room to be just right when the walked in.
I didn't spend hours in prayer.
I wish someone would have reminded me of the disciples' words in Acts 6:4, "But we will devote ourselves to prayer..." Sure, spending hours doing all of the above wasn't wrong, in and of itself, but where where the hours spent in prayer? I wish someone would have told me that I needed to talk to God about the students before I talked to the students about God.