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A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. Prov. 15:1-2

The tongue has the power of life and death. Prov. 18:21

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. James 5:6

Dear Lord Jesus, as with so many other Scriptures, these passages make me think of you. No one speaks life with their words like you. There’s no wiser tongue than yours. No one is more filled with kindness and gentle answers than you.

Even when I rush into your presence with demands dressed up like questions, arrogance pretending to be confusion, clenched fists rather than raised hands, you remain unperturbed  non-defensive, and ever so welcoming—and you speak the words which settle and center us.

You’re firm with us but never harsh. You don’t have to be, because you never get irritated, you don’t have any insecurities, and you don’t fear losing an argument. You’re not into “saving face” but saving us.

Lord Jesus, when I ignore your wooings, or act immature in response to your warnings, I simply reveal how little of the gospel I really get. For there’s nothing about you that justifies any other response from me but humility, gratitude, and submission.

I’m so glad Lent is about repentance and faith in you, and not penance and work done by me. As we get closer and closer to Holy Week, let your cross get bigger and bigger in my gaze. For if I had to atone for all the ways I misuse my tongue, if I had to finance redemption to pay for my poor stewardship of words, if I thought I had to gentle my own heart—I would surely despair.

Jesus, you never gush folly, but only the gospel—the words of life which are changing me. By the Holy Spirit, preach the gospel to my heart all this day long; for it’s never just about tongue control, but heart saturation—a heart saturated with your glory and grace. Then free my tongue for your praise and the building up of others. May others be drawn to you by the way I talk and love. So very Amen I pray, in your ever-so-glorious name.

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One thought on “A Prayer about the Stewardship of Words, by Jesus and Us”

  1. Ed says:

    I don’t think you meant to use the word “unnerved.” It means, “to deprive of courage, strength, determination, or confidence; upset.” That definition seems to be the opposite of what you intended. Otherwise, a very thoughtful and insightful prayer!

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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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