“When their judges are overthrown in stony places they shall hear my words; for they are sweet.” (Psalm 141:6)
This psalm was written by David. He starts off by drawing attention (passively, I suppose) to his “voice” (verse 1). Verse two continues with “let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” It’s interesting to say the least that he would begin to equate the outward activities of incense burning and animal sacrifice with the inward qualities of prayer and worship. This is an immense comfort to me as I have long struggled with the notion that I have to do things to show the Lord what I think of Him. Were you to ask me on any given day, of course I’d tell you that He knows what’s on my mind and heart. But to see David plead with God that God recognize his heart motive in place of mere activity as represented by the two aforementioned actions–is both supremely validating, and also comforting. I find then that the words I speak to God in prayer and petition and conversation are of utmost importance and value to Him.
One too many
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” (Matthew 6:7)
Vain repetitions. The word “ploce” (plo-see) means “to repeat a word to give emphasis”. Jesus outlines the practicality of God-centric prayer(s) when speaking to His disciples about the right way to pray. He then proceeds to give us the Lord’s Prayer. As succinct and direct a prayer as anyone could hope to receive. And by that, I mean us. Jesus is showing us how to pray and also what will move the heart of God the Father.
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in Heaven…” (Matthew 6:9)
The Latin phrase ipsissima verba means “the same words used”. Its transliteration, that is. Another definition would be “verbatim”. I find that when we pray God’s word, either a psalm or The Lord’s Prayer, even though we’re most likely not using the original Hebrew (or Greek, or Aramaic), we are touching a pure line of thought, expressed from the heart of someone God chose to speak those words in the first place. And God hears us right the first time.
Thoughts that is
Think about the voices you hear in your head. Try and wind down your thinking and identify a thought that comes at you just so before it turns into anything with words. Because that’s what they are prior to a legible sentence we could write down on paper.
The whole of Psalm 141 centers around having God be the only one who hears us and truly sees what is going on in our world. David was inundated with trouble and conflict. In spite of the trouble swirling around him, he welcomes the rebuke of those who know better than he (verse 5) and also the best way to go. And so, fast-forwarding to the present, be ready for God to in turn speak to you. God speaks words (what else?), but when His answers come, look for everything you come into contact with to be God’s answer on the matter.
“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)