--by Lois Lang
Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is counted prudent. Proverbs 17:28
The other day as I read Proverbs, this verse caught my attention. I thought, “How true this is!” Sometimes when I spout the first thought that comes into my head, what comes out sounds stupid or foolish or wrong or even hurtful, even to my ears. If I had kept my mouth shut for just a moment before I spoke, I would have appeared much wiser/nicer to my listener.
God must have wanted to get His message about my words across to me, because in my Adult Bible Fellowship group the next Sunday, our teacher presented a lesson on using our words, and the power of our tongues. Part of the lesson was a prayer guide, which I have copied from this teacher’s notes, because he did it much better than I could have. (Thank you, Don Anderson.) I’m glad he did not include the very convicting words from James 3:5-6: “So the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.” It’s so true--our tongues can wound, hurt, and destroy. But it is also true that our words can soothe, heal, encourage, teach, help, and comfort. I am hoping that the following prayer will help us all in our attempts to “tame the tongue.”
Lord, please make my words and the thoughts of my heart acceptable in Your sight. (Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”)
Lord, please keep me from speaking when what I say could get me in trouble. (Proverbs 21:23 “Whosoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”)
Lord, help me not to sin with my mouth. (Psalm 17:3b“I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.” Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.”)
Lord, please keep my words focused on praising You and pointing others to You. (Psalm 71:15 “My mouth will tell of Your righteous acts, of Your deeds of salvation all the day,”)
Please fill my heart with Your Word so that my tongue will speak Your Truth in my conversations. (Luke 6:45 “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”)
Help me to share Your words that bring eternal life. (John 6:68 “Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’”)
Help me speak words that build up others. (Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up,”)
Now, having prayed these things, I’m adding Psalm 39:1: I said, “I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle...”
Father, words are so powerful. You used words to speak all of creation into existence. Help me to use my words to continue to build up Your Kingdom. May what I speak bring You praise and glory, for You alone are worthy. Thank You for Your Word, in which I see everything I could ever need. I find myself struggling even now to find the right words to say to express how much I love You. I pray in the Name of Jesus, who is The Word. Amen.