CHARLES G. FINNEY'S
XIX. PULPIT EXERCISES.
1. General remarks.(1) Remember, from the moment you enter, all eyes are fixed upon you.
(2) Be quiet and reverential on entering the pulpit.
2. Invocation.(1) Raise your voice until you feel that you fill the house.
(2) Be short, solemn, earnest.
3. Reading.(1) Read slowly, and so loud that you can see that all understand you. Read well, feel it.
(2) Read the Bible as the Word of God, with correct emphasis. Make an impression.
4. Hymns.(1) Name the place with a firm, full voice.
(2) Look and read to those farthest off.
(3) Observe whether they hear you. Name the place until they all turn to their books, then read well and slowly, especially if the congregation is large.
(4) Always read slowly in public worship.
(5) Make an impression in reading hymns.
5. Prayer.(1) Let your heart out. Pray the people not to sleep, but into the Spirit.
(2) Secure the Spirit of prayer, before you go on.
(3) Pour your heart out to God.
(4) Pray so as to carry the people with you.
(5) If you do so, you will feel their sympathy and help.
(6) Let the Spirit lead you, as to matter and manner.
(7) Be filled with the Spirit yourself and you will interest and carry the people with you.
(8) If you get hold of God in prayer, you will preach and the people hear, in the Spirit.
(9) Much will depend on this.
(10) Don't pray long, unless pressed by the Spirit.
(11) Pray for what the congregation most needs now.
(12) Also for all classes: Praying, wrestling ones, church officers, backsliders, the self-deceived, formalists, legalists, worldly-minded professors, converts, inquirers, procrastinationists, pharisees, skeptics, heretics, Sabbath-breakers, profane, covetous, intemperate, thieves, scoffers, careless, prayerless, old, young, tempted, bereaved, afflicted, poor, rich, sick, dying, friendly, outpouring of the Spirit, ministers, missionaries, Sabbath Schools, Common Schools &emdash; give yourself up to the teaching of the Spirit.
(13) In so doing, you will often find your prayer answered, and some of these classes touched by the Spirit while you are yet speaking.
(14) Pray for yourself and the people now.
(15) Of course you cannot name all classes in one prayer. But this is the way to develop the spirit of prayer.
(16) Pray intelligently &emdash; try to understand what classes attend, and accustom yourself to pray both in secret and in public for all those classes.
(17) This will help you to consider their wants.
(18) And to meet their wants in preaching.
(19) It tends to convict each class of their wants.
(20) To lead the church to consider the wants of these classes, and to pray and labor for them.
(21) You will naturally do this, if you are in real prayerful earnestness with your people.
(22) Do not preach nor exhort, but confess and supplicate.
(23) Don't omit thanksgiving, praise, worship.
(24) Enter into all the devotional exercises with your whole heart, else you will quench the Spirit.
(25) Also, so effectually as to take the people with you.
(26) Or so as to secure the felt presence of God in the whole congregation.
(27) If you fail in this, your preaching will be a failure.
(28) To secure this, you must come filled with the Spirit.
(29) Spiritless opening exercises will let down your influence by destroying confidence in your earnestness.
(30) The people will judge more by the tone of your devotional exercises, than by your preaching.
(31) They will be more touched with your preaching as they are affected by your praying.
(32) If the pulse of your spiritual life does not throb strongly in prayer, you need not expect your preaching to take saving effect.
(33) If you backslide in heart, you can't conceal it from your praying people. Your words will be light.
(34) They will be affected by your preaching more or less, as they are more or less by your praying.
(35) A minister must have and retain the Spirit of prayer.
(36) If he has not this, he will not have power with God or man.
(37) If you don't prevail in prayer before a sermon, you will not have unction in preaching it.
(38) If not unction in preaching, however learned, no success.
(39) The want of unction a fatal defect in the ministry.
(40) Also, the most common of all defects.
(41) Ministers and churches are too apt to depend on learning.
(42) Also, more on his learning than on his prayers.
(43) Also, more on his learning than on their own prayers.
(44) Thus both minister and people tempt God.
(45) Don't think, nor let them think, that they truly depend on God unless you and they are in the spirit of prayer.
(46) Too much stress can't be laid on prayer.
(47) A minister will lose nothing in study by taking time to pray.
(48) You may refuse to preach without the unction. (Whitefield).
(49) But you must watch unto prayer.
6. Announcements.(1) Before preaching and not after, to divert attention.
(2) Not at close of the service, as the people will not wait to hear.
(3) Arise and wait until the people are still and listening.
(4) Read or speak aloud, distinctly, to the most remote.
(5) Repeat, if they appear not to understand you.
(6) Beware what kind of notices you give from the pulpit on Sabbath.
(7) It is often well to give an important notice twice, repeat it distinctly.
(8) If the people move and some don't hear, raise your hand and remain silent until they listen, and then speak loud and distinctly.
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