The Importance of Focused Thinking in Sermon Preparation

"I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on Your statutes." (Psalm 119:99, NIV)

Reflection is the devotional part of sermon preparation. The word for "reflection" in the Bible is the word "meditation."

God promises over and over in Scripture that when we meditate on His Word, He will give us wisdom. Psalm 119:99 says, "I have more insight than all my teachers because I meditate on Your statutes."

Meditation is simply focused thinking.

A synonym for "meditation" is "to contemplate," to be fascinated with; another synonym for meditation is the word "rumination."

Rumination is what a cow does when it chews its cud. The cow chews up the grass, swallows it and lets it sit in the stomach for a while. Then, the cow burps it back up and chews a little bit more, swallowing the cud again.

In a way, that's what meditation is – thought digestion. It's thinking about the Scripture you will be preaching on over and over and over.

How do I use this time of reflection?


I listen to what God is saying: In other words, lay aside all the technical manuals, all the commentaries and pray, "God, let me understand the teachings of Your precepts as I meditate on your wonders."


I record any insights God gives: You should always have a notepad or a small recorder with you to take note of any ideas. Believe me, as you digest thought, ideas will come to you in the strangest places.

When should you digest thought?

All the time - 24-hours a day! You can do it in a quiet study. You can do it when you're driving. You can do it when you're showering. You can do it running on a treadmill. You can do it when you're doing almost anything.

Don't try to rush this part of sermon preparation: it is reflection, not research, that produces the application of Scripture that leads to transformed lives.

This article is used by permission from From Rick Warren's Ministry ToolBox, a free weekly e-newsletter for those in ministry.