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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Watch Your Mouth

Today I'm reading Ecclesiastes 5:2.

Do not be quick with your mouth, 
do not be hasty in your heart 
to utter anything before God. 
God is in heaven 
and you are on earth, 
so let your words be few.

When we're in a mess the tendency is to do two things with our prayers: (1) Vent loudly to God over our misfortune and to plead with God for a quick and easy solution (miracle) to get us out of our mess, or (2) if the miracle doesn't happen on our time-table we get awfully quiet, as though God is harmed by our silent treatment.

When words don't come, it's important to remember that God does not stand far off from us with his arms crossed as we struggle to speak with Him. He listens with more than casual attention to more than our words. He listens to our hearts, and he knows more about us than we know about ourselves. He can even translate our silence or our gibberish and hears the prayer inside. "He hears my sighs and uncertain gropings as if they were fine prose. We do not like to stand speechless or stammering before God, but that does not mean God hold it against us when we do." (Timothy Jones, The Art of Prayer).

The psalmist writes, "Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord." (139:4)

God hears our words: our silence, our thoughts, our intentions, our griefs, our regrets, our lusts, our hopes, our emotions. He hears it all. Our groans and our grammer. And because of his grace, and not our eloquence, we are praying whether we realize it or not.

Today's prayer: Lord, help me not to worry about the words, but address you with the language of the heart, that my prayers, while not eloquent, will be sincere.

Lord, I do not know what to ask of you; only you know what I need. I simply present myself to you; I open my heart to you. I haven no other desire than to accomplish your will. Teach me to pray. (Fançois Fenelon)


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