“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Every day our mouths utter innumerable words, and our minds express countless thoughts in word or imagery. Some of them are carefully conceived, others spring up from the state of our hearts. If we could listen objectively to them all we would probably be surprised, and concerned, at what they reveal about us. They may be positive or negative, critical or affirming, covetous or generous, lustful or loving, murderous or accepting, vengeful or forgiving. These are the words and thoughts that God hears and sees, even if others do not and we are barely conscious of them.
Jesus made it clear in His teaching that He was concerned not only with our actions but with our thoughts as well. He particularly stressed that both adultery and murder could take place in the imagination as well as in the deed, and that both would be judged. In fact, the tenth commandment deals exclusively with what goes on inside us. In enlarging our understanding of the law He is making us aware of the fact that our deeds come from what we are like within. To transform the inner person, which was His focus and is the focus of the Holy Spirit, will have the natural consequence of changing the way we live and act. This is an act of grace on the part of God, but one which takes place over time and which requires our conscious participation and co-operation. We are not automatons but individuals with the freedom to choose. Habits have to be broken and changed, and new choices made.
To pray the prayer above is to acknowledge that what comes out of ‘my mouth’ and what goes on in ‘my heart’ is my responsibility and for my account. It is also an admission that, in our own strength, we have neither the will nor the power to change. But change is important both for us and for those around us. It is also important that we more clearly reflect the glory and grace of God, our Father, Saviour and Redeemer. Finally, the prayer aims to make our words and thoughts an offering, a love gift, to our Father – something that we hope will delight Him.
Whenever you pick up a thought or deed that does not honour God pause, and ask for forgiveness and healing. Where it is critical of others ask God to bless them.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”