The Challenges of Preaching

Preaching is not just the physical act of speaking publicly about the Word of God, but it is also a full-on battle in the spiritual realm. For this reason, preaching is hard work, and can often be mentally, spiritually and physically exhausting. Preaching also has many challenges which are not always obvious to the eye, so I would like to share what I have learnt about preaching so far. Please bear in mind that compared to seasoned pastors and ministers, I have relatively little experience in preaching, so what I have written here is by no means exhaustive, and as such I'll be updating this article as and when I learn new things about preaching.



Satanic Attacks

Types of Satanic Attacks

Preaching is not just about delivering God's Word to the people, but it is a full-on war in the spiritual realm against Satan, as stated in:

Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Satan knows those who are truly anointed by God to preach, and he works his hardest to stop you from being effective. He also knows what buttons of yours to push, he knows what your weaknesses are, he knows what will get you annoyed, and he will use these to get to you. By being aware of his attacks, you can learn to overcome him. Satan will attack you beforeduring and after your sermon. He tries to catch you off guard, but there are only so many tricks that he can do, so if you can be aware of as many of his tricks as possible, he stands little or no chance of causing havoc. Here is a list of the attacks to watch out for that I have experienced first-hand; these may come any time before, during, or after a sermon.
  • As soon as you are scheduled to preach, ramp up your watch for satanic attacks in the week and days leading up to the preaching. You may wish to put calendar reminders for this to help you remember in the midst of your busy schedule. It is when you forget that you can get caught off guard.
  • Watch out for people irritating you on the roads (cutting you up, near misses, tailgating you, police, etc).
  • Watch out for disagreement / arguments with family, friends and colleagues.
  • Watch out for Satan making you feel bad about yourself, making you feel like a failure or a hypocrite, and especially telling you that you have just done the opposite to what you are about to preach / or what you have just preached about.
  • Watch out for Satan attacking your self-esteem. He will use people around you to make you feel worthless, useless and stupid. This is actually his favourite attack.  
  • Watch out for frustrations in your tasks (delays, etc) and also in things that suddenly stops working (computers, internet, printer, etc).
  • Watch out for illnesses prior to preaching such as headaches, losing your voice, etc. 
  • Watch out for friends or family giving you extra work to do which will tire you out, and which will reduce your time for preaching preparation. As I usually cannot say "no" to them (and Satan knows it), I have had to avoid them in the days leading up to my sermon.  
  • I have also known Satan to attack on stage as I was actually preaching -- this can be pretty hard to cope with, but with prior awareness, he can easily be defeated and you can retain your concentration and focus in preaching. He has tried the following:
  • Microphone falling off or playing up.
  • People getting up, or people distracting others by opening windows / blinds, people's texts and phone calls.
  • People falling asleep.
  • My shoes wanting to come off as I walk around the stage.
  • Satan pointing out I missed a point or two at the beginning of the sermon, and tells me thus the rest of the sermon is going to be a disaster.
  • Satan telling me that people are bored and not listening to me.
  • Satan telling me that people do not need the message, that the message is irrelevant to them, and that I am wasting everyone's time.
  • Satan telling me that I am not good at preaching and that my sermon is no good.
  • Satan also attacks after the sermon has finished, and he can attack for days afterwards with the same things over and over again.  He does this to try and put you off preaching in future, and these are the sort of things he pounds your head with:
  • Telling you that you did an awful job in preaching, and that you should have done better!
  • Pointing out all the things that you should have said and done that you didn't say and do.
  • Making you feel so bad about having preached, that it makes you feel like you should give up preaching altogether.
  • Saying that no one liked your sermon, that it didn't touch anyone's heart, and that it was a waste of time.
  • Using loved ones, friends and colleagues to attack you to upset you in some way about your sermons, or about anything else for that matter!

Combating Satanic Attacks
  • Take Satan's attacks as compliments!  Since he is attacking you, you must be a threat to him, so this means you are doing something right and something good - hallelujah!!!
  • Try to identify Satan early in his attacks.  By doing so, you can prevent his attacks from succeeding.  For example, arguments can be prevented, accidents can be avoided, and you can stand firm in the gift of preaching that God has anointed you with.
  • When possible rebuke Satan with the Word of God (just as Jesus did in the desert), especially when he is pounding your head with lies.
  • Get as many of your friends and family as possible to support you in prayer.
  • It has been suggested to pray hourly before preaching - to combat the attacks of Satan. I have never done this, but may try this some time.