Thirty-one Ordinary Prayers, #26

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Prayer for Help (Paraphrase of Psalm 140)

Rescue me, O LORD, from evil thoughts; protect me from doing violence to truth in the self-made courtroom of my mind where I set myself up as jury and judge. There I devise stories to defend my selfish behaviours. There I create rationales and retorts to support my man-made arguments. My tongue has become as sharp as a serpent’s when it ought to be as gentle as a lamb’s. I know, LORD, that the tongue is never tamed until the thoughts are held captive by the restraint of love.

Keep me, O LORD, from godless actions. Help me notice when my hands fall under the unspoken command of selfish thoughts. Help me attend to the direction my feet move me throughout the day, especially in moments of leisure. I catch glimpses of the snares about to trip me up as I push forward in my proud and selfish plans, yet I so often ignore them. Help me see the nets and webs and traps those paths hold.

O LORD, I hear myself saying to You, “You are my God,” but I wonder if I actually think and speak and live it. Hear, O LORD, my cry for mercy. O Sovereign LORD, my strong deliverer, who rescues me from myself. Do not grant me the prayers that arise from my selfishness. Cause my desires to grow out of a love and respect for You and for every person You created, for Your glory and their good.

I know You uphold the cause of the needy—I am that person, Father. Change me. remake me according to the pattern of Your True Son, Jesus. Then I will be able to praise Your Name with a tongue that is not forked. And then my upright living will not be skin-deep but rather be genuine to the core. You, God, are my only help.

(Photo Credit: By Chris Paul from England – CNP_3289, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25737936)

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Thirty-one Ordinary Prayers, #6

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Prayer for Tongue-healing (Paraphrase of Psalm 120)

I’m on my knees before You, God. I’m more than disappointed in myself and others; I’m appalled. And yet, I know from Your Word that You hear the heart that repents.

Save me, O LORD, from undercurrents of deception. They’re everywhere I look and listen. Even my own lips have worded thoughts in ways that are not wholly true. What can be done to heal a lying tongue? Pierce it with the arrow of Your Truth—embed Your very being into it, so that truth becomes a good infection filling it. Redeem it for Your true and eternal purposes.

Too long have I let pride and selfishness influence the way I speak; that is the worldview of my fallen nature within me and the godless culture around me. The deception goes deep. It says that You are absent, impotent or nonexistent, and truth is only what we make it.

Instead, fill me with a deep sense of Your ever-present companionship. Let the overflow of this reality be expressed as words of truth and love; let my tongue be Your faithful servant, not only here in this quiet place with You, but also in my world where war is being waged against truth. Teach me to speak truth and life for eternity, where I will praise and honour You without end.