On Sunday morning I preached about the importance of renewing our thinking in God’s word by the Spirit, and by our fellowship with each other. The prayers this week are a development of this theme.
Our words shape us, and they shape others – they also reveal what is really in us, especially when we are under pressure. The Bible tells us that renewed thinking leads to control of our tongue with the ability to use wise, life-giving words.
Our words carry such import and power. They reveal what is going on on the inside – what we truly value – how we truly assess others – what our insecurities are – and what motivates and drives us in life.
We can say all the right things when we do not feel pressure. If, when the pressure is turned up, we manage to say the right things, as we can when we are relaxed – that is a good sign.
However, if we have to start to justify ourselves – start to denigrate others in order to prove our point – start to make demands – use our words to force an issue, then we are not yet mature in the faith. Our characters are not yet Christ-like. Instead of the Fruit of the Spirit, we produce carnal fruit.
I think one of those really important Psalms in this area is Psalm 19.
31 Oct – Father, thank You that in these verses David reminds himself that Creation itself proclaims the nature and glory of its Creator in the wonder of daily life and in the rhythm of nature.
He also declares that Your word revives the soul when its flagging, brings wisdom to those who are humble, brings an inner joy to the heart, and guidance in the everyday decisions we have to make.
As reverence for You leads to purity and separation from the world’s culture and corrupt standards for living – teach me how to reverence You as I should, and us as a church to do so.
David then said, ‘how can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?’ Lord, forgive and sanctify me – that is, set me apart from the world so that I am wholeheartedly devoted to the cause of Christ. ‘May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and Redeemer.’ Amen
Nov 1 – Father, David knew that he needed help to protect his inner life and so prayed asking that his heart and thinking, his inner life, would be pleasing to You.
He also reminded himself of the importance of
i. ensuring that his words would not negatively affect himself – hearing what we say affects us
ii. that his inner thoughts would be pleasing to You
iii. that the mood music of his soul would be full of praise, thanksgiving and worship
iv. that his fantasy life would be sanctified and honouring to You thus keeping his relationship with Christ open, honest and spiritually vibrant.
David knew that if he focused on keeping these four elements right within, and praying about them, then it helped to protect him from hidden faults, from deliberate sins, and from the great sins that separate him from You.
‘Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction. The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences’ (Proverbs 18:20-21, NLT). I commit to remember this, and to apply the principles to my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Nov 2 – I wonder what the mood music is like inside your life? Jesus said the following in Luke 6:43-45, NLT, ‘“A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”’
‘What you say flows from what is in your heart,’ is such a profound statement by Jesus. How we talk reveals a lot of about the state of our hearts. Bock here says that the ‘heart’ refers ‘to the person as he or she is, especially in the deepest thoughts and being.’
What is going on in our thoughts, in the inner life, causes our mouth to speak, overflows from our hearts – us as we really are, revealing our deepest thoughts and nature.
Father, some people live with a very positive, constructive, faith-filled mind creating a godly inner voice which generates real power in their lives as they walk in the Spirit, full of Your Word, remaining in fellowship with Your people. Others live with a negative, destructive inner voice which destroys faith and leads to powerlessness.
I pray for the renewal of the thinking and mindset of this latter group through the ministry of our church so they develop a godly inner voice – if not yet believers, I pray for their salvation in Christ. I pray for the continued development of the former group so they become even more Christ-like in every area of their lives.
Many live with a mixture of the two at work and so can be quite positive in most areas of their lives, but struggle and feel helpless in a few areas wherein they have lost confidence in their own ability to connect with You, or because of past trauma or bad experiences in that area.
May Christ’s freedom be ministered to them by our church, in person and online, and they guided into a new place of freedom from whatever it is that binds them to the past or a negative outlook on life. I pray for wholeness and wellbeing of soul. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Nov 3 – Father, thank You for the words in James 1:26, NLT, ‘If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.’ There is so much wisdom in this verse. Teach me how to renew my mind so that my words reveal a Christ-like nature, thinking and speaking, and the self-control of Your Holy Spirit.
Proverbs 21:23-24, NLT, ‘Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble. Mockers are proud and haughty; they act with boundless arrogance.’ Lord, some will not mock outwardly, but on the inside they do mock others – they wear a mask. Ultimately, their words will reveal the proud inner voice in their own hearts and head.
One way to think of the power or nature of the inner voice is to think about how people react to challenges. Some initially flap around a bit and then begin to face the challenges with prayer and a can do attitude because that is how they respond on the inside; others run and hide from You, and the challenge – burying their head in the sand hoping that the situation will change. Some think, ‘I can’t face it’ or ‘I can never overcome the challenge in that area.’
I pray that You will enable us, as a church, to minister in such a way so that the inner voice is transformed, and everyone we minister to in person or online will be able to face life through the lense of Christ the Saviour, Healer and Lord. Amen
Nov 4 – Father, I pray for those who believe that only bad things happen to them because of a mixture of past experience, negative voices from authority figures in their lives, from their own fears in that area, and the negative voice within. It is so difficult to change a lifetime’s habit of looking at life negatively.
Your word has the power to renew the mind. I pray therefore for our church to model a deep love and commitment to reading/listening to Your word. May the Spirit so richly anoint this aspect of our church’s ministry so that many are brought into a deep, abiding love for Your word.
Sadly, many others blame other people for their woes pushing onto them the reason for their misfortune – blaming someone else for how they feel, react and the troubles that arise. Such an attitude thus absolves them of any personal responsibility for what is happening, how they are reacting and the effect they are having on others.
This way of thinking, speaking and behaving is destructive to the building of a godly, open and honest community. Grant us the discernment we need to recognise this at work, and the wisdom to then effectively confront, challenge and seek to see change in the hearts and minds of those who have lived this way.
Protect our church from the influence and attack of such people; instead, may we be a church that is full of love and humility, people who will take personal responsibility for their actions, and will treat others with the love, respect and dignity that You call us to. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Nov 5 – Father, we need to understand there is power in our words, and in the words of our inner voice. Three verses in Proverbs are helpful:
i. 12:18, ‘Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.’ Cutting remarks separate and bring division whereas wise words heal broken relationships, and help to bring healing within to the broken.
ii.15:28, ‘The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking;’
iii. 18:21, ‘The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.’
Our words have such power – we either minister life by them or death. This is equally applicable to what we say inside our own head to ourselves. If we say, ’you are useless,’ ‘you always fail,’ ‘you never learn’ – then these produce fruit in keeping with the negative and destructive nature of the words.
Holy Spirit lead us into Christ’s truth, to be true with ourselves, and to think and speak faith-filled words which inspire a godly life and attitude. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Nov 6 – Father, Your beloved Son said that we will give an account for our careless words on the day of judgement. The whole context of that passage is about the reaction of the Pharisees to Jesus’ ministry – they accused Him of operating in Satan’s power.
Jesus stated clearly that their words were showing that they were not of You, for whatever is in our heart determines what we say. ‘A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart’ (Matthew 12:34c-35).
Lord, help each of us to change a negative, fearful, destructive inner voice into a more positive, biblically inspired, faith-filled one which brings life, health and wholeness in Christ. Instead of careless words – may we be filled with wise words which encourage and edify. In Jesus’ name. Amen