“From the Hart” Devotional for Jan. 25, 2024

“Acceptable Unto You”
by Julie Hart, Director of Connectional Ministries

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight, LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

As you may or may not know, this is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but the world sure does need more prayer! There are just so many things tearing us apart these days. There are wars are breaking out in countries, neighborhoods, and families. We are divided over race, politics, and religion. Sometimes it seems like our differences are too much for us to get past. Like nothing can possibly bring us together. But we know that there is one thing that can. We know that prayer can always bring God’s people together.

I have heard many people say that they don’t know how to pray, or what to pray, sometimes asking me to pray saying that I am just better at it than they are. Don’t get me wrong, I love to pray. But I am no better at praying than the next guy. Besides that, God isn’t interested in whose prayers are the most poetic or articulate. God is just interested in us praying.

If you have been wanting to incorporate prayer into your life a little more, or just need help getting started, I would like to suggest a very simple prayer that comes from a familiar Psalm. It is a prayer short enough to memorize. Many of you probably already have. After all, it’s a prayer that we hear Pastor David pray every Sunday morning: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.” This comes from Psalm 19, written by a different David — David the son, brother, shepherd, warrior, king, sinner, and saint. Unlike our David who prays this prayer before offering his sermon, the David in the Bible closes his Psalm in hopes that the words that he has just written and his meditation on God’s word will be acceptable to God.

Why would both of these Davids be concerned that their words are acceptable, or as some translations say “pleasing” unto God? I believe that they take seriously their mediation on God’s word and the responsibility they have to share it with others. They study and pray about what God’s word means not just in their lives, but the lives of others. They understand that God is counting on them to lead us, and they want the gift of their words to bear fruit in God’s kingdom.

While we are not writing songs or preaching great sermons like David and David, the way that we share God’s message with others throughout our days matters too. So praying with hopes that our words will be pleasing is not just a prayer to God but a gentle reminder to ourselves. It is a reminder to speak words of love, kindness, and compassion — the kind of words that we know would please God.

Just a few questions to meditate on this week:

What do you think might happen if you prayed Psalm 19:14 for a week?
Do you think you might choose your words with others a little differently?

In order to meditate on God’s word, we probably have to be reading God’s word regularly.
Can you commit to spending just 10 minutes a day in scripture this week?

The great thing about prayer is that it is a gift to the one praying, the one being prayed for, and the one being prayed to. As long as your words are coming from your heart, trust that they are both acceptable and pleasing to God.
So who can you offer to pray for today?

The picture I chose for this week’s devotional is of LoAn — a woman whose every word is pleasing to God. Anyone who goes to the 8:00 service can attest to this.
Who else do you know that only speaks words that are pleasing and acceptable to God?

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight, LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.

Extra Credit:
The week of Prayer for Christian Unity is January 18th through the 25th, but you can never have enough prayer in the world, so I invite you to the Prayer Service for Christian Unity on Friday, January 26, 2024 at 6:30pm at Christ Church Episcopal. Both our District Superintendent Rev. Timote Piukala and our Bishop Carlo Raptnut will be attending.