The offense of prayer is that it does not essentially tie in to mental efficiency. Prayer is conditioned by one thing–spirituality. You do not need to be spiritual to preach or deliver sermons of homiletical perfection of exegetical exactitude. Preaching affects men, but prayer affects God. Preaching often affects time, but prayer affects eternity. The pulpit can be a shop window to display our talent, but the prayer closet speaks death to fleshly display.
The tragedy of this hour is that we have too many dead men giving out dead sermons to dead people. Why? Because the strange thing today which exists in the pulpit is a horrible thing: it is preaching without unction. What is unction? It’s hard to define. Preaching without unction kills instead of giving life. The unctionless preacher is a savor of death unto death. The Word does not live unless divine unction is upon the preacher. Preachers, with all thy getting–get unction from above!
Preaching is a spiritual business. A sermon born in the head reaches the head, but a sermon born in the heart reaches the heart. Unction cannot be learned, but only experienced through prayer. Unction is like dynamite–it will pierce, it will sweeten, it will soften. When the hammer of logic and the fire of human zeal fail to open the stony heart, unction will succeed.
Away with this powerless preaching which is unmoving because it was born in a tomb instead of a womb, and nourished in a fireless, prayerless soul. If God has called us preachers to the ministry, then we should get unctionized. With all thy getting–get unction, lest barrenness will be the badge of our unctionless intellectualism.
– Leonard Ravenhill