Lord, I call to you. Come quickly. Listen to me when I call to you. Let my prayer be like incense placed before you. Let my praise be like the evening sacrifice. Lord, help me control my tongue. Help me be careful about what I say. Don’t let me want to do evil or join others in doing wrong. Psalm 141:1-4A (ICB)
In today's passage the Psalmist prays for the Lord's help with controlling his tongue and being careful about what he says. But then the Psalmist adds a third request, "Don’t let me want to do evil or join others in doing wrong." Think about what often leads to the misuse of the tongue: we want to react to someone we feel is misusing their tongue with us. We easily develop a pattern of wanting to give it right back. All to often we are ready to blast others who come up against us with their words. If this is what we want to do then it is absolutely true that we "want to do evil." And if we do the evil of giving it back and blasting those who come up against us with their words, then it will be true that we are ones who "join others in doing wrong."
The Psalmist's threefold prayer is a great prayer to employ in our pursuit of the proper use of our tongues. In regard to our overall need for tongue management we can pray this way periodically in the regular prayer times we have with God. But we can also pray this way in those acute moments when we are about to let loose with our tongues. Perhaps this is what we are being shown in the Psalm through the Psalmist's opening words, "Lord, I call to you. Come quickly. Listen to me when I call to you." The Lord is only a prayer away and our prayer in the heat of the moment only has to go from our mouth to our heart where the Lord lives in us through the Holy Spirit. Call on him as often as you need and pray like the Psalmist. The Lord will listen to you, he will come quickly, and he will do all three things: (1) He will help you control your tongue; (2) He will help you be careful about what you say; and (3) He will take away your desire to do evil so that you are delivered from joining another person in doing wrong.
Lord, I make the Psalmist's prayer my prayer today. I ask for a special grace to be able to offer this same prayer to you when I am in the thick of things and desperately need your help with managing my tongue. Make me a blessing to others and help me not to be so prone to return evil for evil. Lord, grant that my life increasing glorifies you through the attitudes of my heart and the words I speak. Amen!
Posted on Fri, July 10, 2015
by Alan Porter