Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Words and the Word

This post accepts Holley Gerth and Ann Voskamp's invitation to share in community about the Christian's words.

The Lord GOD has given me
the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
him who is weary.
Morning by morning he awakens;
he awakens my ear
to hear as those who are taught.
The Lord GOD has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious;
I turned not backward (Isaiah 50:4-5, ESV).

These words from the Servant section of Isaiah have long guided my prayers for my own words.  Whether writing a blog post, poem, e-mail, text, or letter, I want given, taught words, an ear awakened to hear truly, and sustaining words for the broken and weary.  (The desire applies to spoken words, too, but I confess I pray less often about those.)

Such words are sourced first in a listening heart, one oriented towards Him and opened by God's grace to hear His voice. 

Sustaining words also are rooted in His Word, written and living.  Through God's words all creation came into being.  His words alone are assured of bearing fruit (Isaiah 55:10-11).  When my words are full of Scripture, grafted into His, they also bear good fruit.  In another sense, the living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the one truly able to sustain the weary in body and spirit.  My words cannot effect such sustenance by themselves, but only as they connect the hearer to the living Word who is the true satisfying bread, life, and light, the One in whom all things hold together.

Finally, in order to speak sustaining words, what I learn must move from my ear to my tongue.  This requires that I not be rebellious or turn back from God's direction.

Why would I shrink from something as simple as speaking or writing what I learn from the Lord and what gives this weary soul sustenance?  

First off, because of laziness.  For me, it takes considerable thought and energy to move something from my ears to my tongue or fingers.  That process of shaping ideas into words, words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into posts, continues my own learning process and so benefits me, but it's also work.  It's all too easy to convince myself that it doesn't really matter, and then the inertia wins.  In that sense, the hardest sentence is the first one.

Secondly, I turn back because of fear.  Sustaining words are costly words.  It's a bit scary for this shy girl to put my heart on paper for others to see.  Our words reveal our hearts, and what if you reject mine when you see it without makeup?  Sometimes the word I hear nudges me to write a note, maybe to someone with whom I've lost touch.  Obedience means they might think I'm as odd as I am, and then maybe they wouldn't like me any more.  Or maybe the sustaining word is a challenging word, the kind no one really wishes to hear but sometimes needs to.  Again, obedience means risking human disapproval.

And so I pray.  I can't do this word thing on my own.  I need the tongue of a learner, an awakened ear, soul-sustaining words, and courage and strength not to turn back from honoring and obeying God with my words, which ought to be full of Him.

May God fill our hearts and speech with His life-giving words.  May we learn to build up and not tear down and to ask quickly for forgiveness when we fail each other.

You may also like "A Blogger's Prayer" at www.aholyexperience.com and this site's post on the Day of Encouragement 2010.


  1. Oh, do I ever know the fear of putting your words on paper, which are typed up and sent in an email, which then go into thousands of papers, carrying your heart for others - anyone - to see. Were it not for Him, I would never do it. Could never sustain it. I would think small and talk small and hide, keeping the light under the bushel.

    But when He calls, we obey, right? And He blesses and creates and encourages through us. Oh, purify our words, Holy Spirit, and make them bear fruit.

  2. This is beautiful. These are my favorite lines: "It's a bit scary for this shy girl to put my heart on paper for others to see. Our words reveal our hearts, and what if you reject mine when you see it without makeup?" Makes me want to hug you. I love shy people. I am not a shy person. Blogging or writing for others (even prayers) feels right and comfortable. But God is challenging me in other respects. Today I had (& took) the opportunity to pray w/ someone over the phone. It was, like, the second time in my life. I wonder if she knew I was nervous? I doubt it. I just love how big God is, and how--if we allow Him--He does what we could never do, through us. Once again, your scripture choice is PERFECT for my day! Lots of love to you.

  3. @Rhonda Schrock Thanks for the insight and understanding, Rhonda. I'm glad you stopped by today.

    Amen to your prayer!

  4. @Brandee Shafer Thank you, Brandee, for the virtual hug. :)

    GOOD FOR YOU for stepping out of your comfort zone and following God's lead to pray over the phone! Bravo!

    Thanks once again for the encouragement. It always amazes me when the Lord matches thoughts and needs in the body of Christ across miles and circumstance.

    God bless you!


Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.