SCRIPTURE: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer” – Psalm 19:14 – NIV
I have heard Psalm 19:14 spoken from many a church pulpit. It is a pastor’s plea that the message they have prepared for the congregation is pleasing to God, and anointed for edification. I can image the many hours ministers spend pondering a sermon’s theme, searching the scriptures and other references for accuracy, and carefully crafting their words to ensure they are informative, uplifting, inspirational, and Spirit-inspired.
What if you and I adopted this prayer for every day life? What if it became a priority to practice a kind of silence, or pause, to ensure that our spoken words are just the right words, in just the right tone, and pleasing in the Lord’s sight? And, of course, there is the obvious choice of saying nothing at all!
It is difficult in today’s world to take any kind of vow of silence, even for just a few hours. The scripture above shows, however, that there are two ways to make practicing silence practical:
- meditation of my heart – guarding what comes in the ears or eyes to feed your thinking,
- words of my mouth – guarding what comes out through the lips to feed others.
You know that what is in your heart is what comes out of your mouth, so it is no wonder the psalmist mentioned both. In his classic book, Celebration of Discipline, Richard J. Foster combined the two disciplines of silence and solitude into one. He suggests that practicing silence is more a matter of control than a lack of noise. When I first read this book, it was interesting to me to see the connection between the ego and the many words we speak. Foster says, “We fear so deeply what we think other people see in us that we talk in order to straighten out their understanding.”
The toughest place for me to practice silence is at work. I am making some progress. I find that I can prepare for this challenge by first meditating upon the blessings of my relationship with God, and feeling secure in his love and protection, I am equipped with right thinking and attitudes to control my tongue. Then I try expressing my ideas in as few words as possible. Silence is golden, and since you can’t speak and listen at the same time, you become a better listener too.
“If I could I would always work in silence and obscurity, and let my efforts be known by their results.” – Emily Bronte
A.S.K. (the Higher Choices Process)
Ask – questions to discover the direction God would suggest you take.
|1. How much of your speech is telling others about yourself, or what you want?|
|2. Would God be pleased with most of the meditations of your heart?|
|3. Experiment with a day of silence, speaking only when necessary. What did you observe?|
|Seek – ideas on choices that will take you further along your higher path.|
|Knock – truth embraced through practice and persistence; abiding.|