Is there a preacher anywhere who has not struggled to keep his heart warm and right with God? Don’t all of us have to deal with discouragement, irritation, disappointment, and just plain cold-heartedness from time to time? Here are some suggestions that have helped me warm my own heart.
1. Return to the Prayer Closet
Almost every time the temperature of my heart decreases, my time in the prayer closet has decreased. You cannot pray sincerely, fervently, seriously, and intently very long without your heart becoming warm.
2. Read the Bible
Nearly every time that my heart grows cold, I find that my Bible reading has become perfunctory. If I slow down and ask the Holy Spirit to illumine His Word to my heart and pay attention to what He says, my heart always becomes warmer.
3. Remember What You Were
Many preachers were once insurance salesmen, factory workers, or truck drivers. Some lived lives of deep sin. How can we be discouraged about our responsibilities and obligations as men of God when we look at what we were before God called us?
4. Recall How Badly You Wanted the Privilege of Being in the Ministry
Can you remember when you were without a church? Do you recall those days in college when you thought you’d never be able to graduate and start serving God? Can you bring to mind the intense longing that you had to be doing God’s work full-time? A man who left our church twelve years ago and has recently returned, said, “I realized that what I was looking for was what I had left.” Remembering those early days will help you realize that what you now have is what you once intensely wanted.
5. Review the Blessings of God
When some people in the church are unhappy with the way things are going and become critical, praying through the list of all the church members reminds me of how many good families God has given us. When some areas of need financially are not being met in abundance, reviewing how God has met similar needs in the past reminds me of His promise to care for us in the present.
6. Review Bible Promises and Principles
Stopping to think that, “All things work together for good to them that love God,” that “no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper,” that “you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good,” and that “in due season ye shall reap if ye faint not,” help warm my heart.
Philippians 4:6–7 tells us that rather than worrying, we should pray with thanksgiving. Instead of complaining about what is not the way it should be or simply asking God for what I need, I am to bring my requests to Him with a spirit of gratitude for all that He is and all that He has done. It is then that, “The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”