As a pastor, I listen to everything around me. See, a lot of people think that pastors work for an hour or two on Sundays and take the rest of the week off. Nothing could be further from the truth. My mind is always on next Sunday, especially the sermon. Anything and everything could be a sermon illustration. Especially if what I’m listening to is a sermon by another pastor. Now, I don’t use anyone else’s sermons verbatim. That wouldn’t suit me – people would know because suddenly I was preaching so much better than normal. But as hard as it is sometimes to come up with messages, one can’t help but borrow ideas from others.
Now, I also pray aloud on Sundays, and like the messages, I try to keep them fresh and meaningful. I try to actually ‘pray’ when I’m in front of people, but most of the time when I pray alone, it’s a bunch of silence and ‘God…well, you know…’ So I find myself doing the same thing when others pray. If they say something really catchy, my ears perk up, not because Jesus just gave that guy a big high five for a great prayer, but because I might be able to use that! I make a mental note of how great that prayer was, so everyone at church can give me a high five when I sound all holy the next Sunday.
Now, I’m sure your pastor doesn’t do this, because it’s cheating.