The worship song, “Change My Heart, Oh God” (by Eddie Espinosa, 1982) has been a meaningful and challenging song for me ever since I first heard it a couple decades ago. Lately, I’ve been thinking about it in regard to sermon preparation.
A common pitfall for preachers is to preach to others but not to one’s self. This happens when a preacher prepares sermons to “fix” the people in his or her congregation. It’s a dangerous pitfall.
Of course, sermons must be preached that offer challenge, and even correction, at times. That’s not the point. The point is, am I part of the intended audience that God’s Word is speaking to? I should be! Questions like, “What is God saying to us (preacher, included) through the Scriptures?” help preachers stay on the right track.
I love what Bill Hybels says to leaders: “People take their cue from you!” In order for people in churches to experience transformation, their pastors must model transformation.
In light of this, an area of my own preparation that I want to ramp up is that the transformation I want to see in others must start in me! (This is the idea behind “cultivation,” the first stage in the 5 Stages of Sermon Preparation).
The words to “Change My Heart, Oh God” provide a good framework for this kind of cultivating prayer …
Change my heart, oh God. Make it ever true. Change my heart, oh God. May I be like You. Change my heart, oh God. Make it ever true. Change my heart, oh God. May I be like You. You are the potter. I am the clay. Mold me and make me. This is what I pray. Change my heart, oh God. Make it ever true. Change my heart, oh God. May I be like You.