Pray For Your Pastor To Have Unction!



It’s a term that sounds vaguely medical, as in, “I went to the doctor today and he told me that I have a bad case of unction in my lower GI tract.” Or it sounds like a term my mechanic would throw at me: “Yeah man, your unction piston is cracked right down the middle and we’re going to need to replace the entire engine block.”

But the word “unction” actually has a rich history behind it, even if we don’t use it too much any more. And let me tell you, I desperately need unction.

Unction is what separates a mighty sermon from a boring lecture. Unction is what causes a sermon to pierce the heart of a listener. Unction is what transforms a sermon from a boring load of facts to a mighty, God-filled, life-changing sermon.

Unction is what happens when the Holy Spirit puts life-giving power into the words spoken by a pastor. Unction is what happens when the Holy Spirit transforms a preacher’s words into weapons of divine warfare. Unction is what happens when the Holy Spirit causes the words of a pastor to become bullets of conviction.

See, here’s the deal. I could spend hours crafting the perfect sermon. I could have perfect illustrations that connect directly to people’s lives. I could have penetrating insight into the biblical text. I could speak with the tongues of men and angels! But without the Holy Spirit moving, without unction, absolutely nothing will happen. No lives will be changed. No hearts will be moved. No conviction or confession or adoration will take place. Christ will not be exalted. My sermon will be nothing more than words. The words may be interesting, they may be funny, but they won’t be life-changing.

Charles Spurgeon said:

Where there is no unction, it does not matter what we preach or how we preach it.

Spurgeon was the Prince of Preachers. If he needed unction, I do too.

When your pastor steps into the pulpit, pray that the Holy Spirit will give him unction. Pray that your pastor will be filled with Spirit-given passion and that his words will be propelled by Spirit-given power. Your pastor may not be Matt Chandler or Mark Driscoll, but with unction, the results of his sermon can be the same. Your pastor may not preach like Piper, but he can have the same Holy Spirit as Piper and the same unction as Piper.

So please, pray for your pastor. He desperately needs it. And you desperately need him to have unction too. Because without unction, there’s a good chance that the words of his sermon will bounce right off you.


  • thunderberrygrace says:

    thanks….unction should be the norm not the exception! and …….we shouldnt confuse a gregarious personality with unction…so unction is the power the holy spirit working in the Pastor and it is transfused into the hearer who receives it as words to live by! do I have an*Amen*???? :)

  • So that's why the old "Give me oil in my lamp" song has a verse about "Give me unction for my gumption" (or umption, but unction makes the song more spiritual! And it kind of makes sense!).

  • Dave says:

    I thought the Christocentric focus is what turned a sermon from a lecture into actual preaching. Where is unction in preaching taught in Scripture? I mean, I know Spurgeon was like the 14th apostle and all…but…I'm not familiar with the Scriptural underpinnings of this.

  • Stephen Altrogge says:


  • Stephen Altrogge says:

    Yeah I guess that…sort of makes sense.

  • Stephen Altrogge says:

    Well, I would push back and say that even a Christocentric sermon will be lifeless without the power of the Spirit making it effective. Of course you won't find the word "unction" in scripture anywhere, but you will see the Holy Spirit working during the preaching of the word. For example, in Acts 16:14 we see the Lord opening Lydia's heart to hear the preaching of the word from Paul. We also see in scripture that Holy Spirit is the one who brings conviction, illumines the scriptures, and enables us to be fruitful.

    Unction is when those things become operational through a sermon.

  • Interesting that you brought in a bit of a quote from 1 Co. 13. I wonder how much unction is influenced by a pastor's love for Christ, the Gospel, and his congregation…

  • brian says:

    wonderful as pastor we all need unction!

  • loubelleadams4 says:

    People really joined this event and I am sure they really had a great time and they spent their time very well. Fab Defense

  • danayoung says:

    You touch on something with your reference to Lydia that struck me as I read your post. I know that Spirit led and Spirit filled preaching and teaching is vital to the Church, but what about my need to have my ears opened and understanding given? Mt 13:15 (& Acts 28:27); Heb 5:11; Lk 24:25, 32, 45; Acts 16:14; Ps 119:18. Or the many warnings I receive, having been granted the Spirit, to “let him hear”?

    Certainly I pray for my pastors but it’s rather easy for me to come to church and put it all on the pastor to be Spirit filled and full of unction. Then I can sit week after week in judgement as to whether or not he had what it takes today. I need to pray for myself to have “unction” as a listener.

  • Ed Blackwood says:

    Helpful post.

    Actually, you will find the word unction in the Bible. 1 John 2:20 (KJV – most translations use "annointing" now) And, danayoung is spot-on when saying the listeners to pray for unction for themselves. In fact, the word in 1 John 2:20 is for the members of the church, not specifically the preacher/teacher.

    Unction as Spurgeon uses the term is not used in the Bible but the idea is found clearly in 1 Thess 1:5 – where he says their gospel (preaching) to the Thessalonians did not come in word only but also in power and in the Holy Spirit. In my words, it happens when the Holy Spirit works so that the words of the preacher come with power to the heart of the listeners.

    So, do pray – for the Holy Spirit's power to accompany the words of the preacher and the Holy Spirit's anointing to accompany the hearing of the listeners!

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