Effective preaching must be preceded by effectual praying. Occasionally, the King James Version of the Bible still has a better choice of words than more modern translations. That’s why I prefer the KJV for James 5:16, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Assuming the righteous status of the preacher, effectual praying produces effective preaching. It matters little whether the sermon is categorized as textual, expository, topical, or the currently popular term, text-driven, a sermon will only reach its maximum potential if it comes from God through the preacher, rather than simply from the preacher to the people. In other words, before the preacher stands to preach, he should knell to pray. In his book, “Power Through Prayer” E.M. Bounds wrote, “Talking to men for God is a great thing but talking to God for men is greater still. He will never talk well and with real success to men for God who has not learned well how to talk to God for men.” So, the preacher should never talk to the people about God until he has talked to God about the people! I have a copy of a cartoon which pictures a preacher in the pulpit with a concerned look on his face. The caption says, “It occurs to Rev. Jones in the midst of point #2 that point #3 misses the point entirely.” The way to prevent this from happening is to pray through the preparation, as well as the presentation of the sermon. As a member of the congregation, one should assume the role of faithful intercessor. Praying for the preacher is a vital and helpful act of worship preparation. So, whether you are the preacher or a member of the audience, the way to receive the maximum message from a sermon is to spend time with God prior to its delivery. If not already active in this, try it for your next worship service.