As teachers, we have an opportunity to teach people how to listen. The following recommendations will help your listeners be more receptive to the teaching of the Word.
Read through and think about the biblical passage ahead of time. Often the passage is announced the week before from the pulpit or in the bulletin. Pre-reading will help put you into a state of mental readiness to hear God’s teaching. Ideally, you should do this on Saturday evening or Sunday morning just before church.
As the speaker begins, ask the Lord to teach you by His Spirit. This will put you in a state of spiritual readiness. The speaker has studied diligently and has himself prayed that the Spirit would use his efforts to powerfully communicate God’s teaching to your hearts. It is only when God works in both your life and the speaker’s life that the human words of the message become charged with spiritual power—it is a two-way dynamic.
Even if you find the message initially uninteresting, or maybe the speaker is “off” this particular day, the Spirit can still take some aspect of the message or passage and provide a message for you.
Make a point of selecting one take-away from the message—something to apply to your life, put into practice, praise God for, or share with others. It is only when this happens that the preaching of the Word has its intended effect: a changed life.
As soon after the message as possible, read the passage again and review your notes. This will help remind you and solidify the teaching in your mind and heart.
If you desire more of a challenge, take a key verse from the message and commit it to memory. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart.”