Praying for the Right Words

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14)

When David was a shepherd boy, he no doubt had periods of rest as the sheep rested. Then he probably reflected on God’s wonderful love and creative beauty (see Psalm 23:2). In Psalm 19, he looks at the human heart, a subject that occupies much of his thinking elsewhere (Psalm 32:2-4; 39:4, and many places). He also reflects on God’s creative power and the beauty of His Word. After pondering the treasures of God’s creation and Word (verses 4-11), David then reflects on the condition of his own human heart which, like all of ours, was prone to wander (verses 12-14). Knowing this, he senses his own inability to maintain a godly perspective, and so he appeals to God’s mercy and grace to supply him with the necessary strength to carry out God’s will (verse 13). Finally we come to the closing verse, a prayer for divine strength to govern both his tongue and heart. He prays that he would speak words and think thoughts that honor God.

Praying for the right words and thoughts

1. Let us ask God for grace to live for Him.
Notice in verse 14 that David acknowledges God as his rock and redeemer. He does not suppose he has it in himself to think or speak for God. Quite the contrary; he is more than aware of those slippages of the tongue where words leak out he wished he could take back, but alas, there they go. As David’s redeemer, God forgives David’s sin and ours, too. As David’s Rock, God provides the strength to bring about His will in our lives.

2. Ask God to shape our words to reflect His glory.
“Let the words of my mouth. . .” Here David asks God to tame the untamable (James 3:7-8). Even though no one can approach perfection, especially with words, we need to ask God for a tongue that honors Him and glorifies His name. As David knew his own weaknesses, we need to be acquainted with ours. God is not pleased with careless, callous words that slander others and make light of holy things (see Ephesians 4:29; Matthew 12:34-37). We need to pray often that God would speak through us and help us to overcome our sinful tendencies to speak words that do not bring Him honor.

3. Pray for a godly heart that reflects on divine truth.
David concludes this Psalm with a prayer and desire for a renewed heart. He knows where it comes from, so he asks God to grant him this request. Jesus would later say that thoughts we think end up as words we speak (Matthew 12:34). God’s Word spends much time addressing the human heart (Proverbs 3:3-6; 4:4; 6:20-21), we should, too.

Let us pray for God to fill us with His Spirit, and that He would help us to govern our tongue so that words of graciousness and encouragement flow from our tongues.

“Lord, thank you for Your marvelous Spirit and power that enables us to speak forth Your truth and also to say words that honor You. We confess that we lack the ability to speak as You would have us to, so we pray for power and grace to speak in righteousness. We confess that the stresses of the day tempt us to speak in haste and to utter words we know do not please You. Forgive us this sin and grant us a tongue that glorifies You. Thank you in Jesus’ dear name.”

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