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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

Praying for Pleasing Words

Who are you trying to please?

I think we all agree that we need to please God first, that pleasing Him is in our best interest, that anything we do that pleases God makes us better as well.

Well, there’s a prayer for that. You’ve read it many times, probably quoted it in unison as a part of worship. But it’s not just a Sunday morning prayer. This prayer does serious work in your heart. Read it again with me:

May the words of my mouth

And the meditation of my heart

Be pleasing to you

O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

How many times have we said something out of frustration or hurt only to regret the words that left our mouth? They cannot be sucked back like inhaled breath. As soon as they are said, they have a life of their own, one we usually didn’t want them to have.

This prayer reminds us how to deal with them and duct-tape isn’t a part of the solution! Instead, we are to be mindful of our thoughts. Hurtful words don’t come out of nowhere. They grow from our thoughts, fears, pain, or insecurities. We have nursed them, often without knowing it.

Philippians 4:7 reminds us that God is willing to set a guard on your heart if you let Him. He will tell you when the thoughts of your heart are in danger of bringing you down.

How do I let my words take over in unpleasing ways to God? That question always haunts me. I know the answer too well. It is the power of what has been brewing in my heart. How I have kept some monologue going in my head about something or someone. God wouldn’t be able to get a word in if He tried. That’s the problem. What my heart is thinking has blinded me in ways I really don’t want.

That’s why I have to come back to this prayer with its simple request and bold surrender. I have to be willing to let God oversee, evaluate, and approve the things I think about in my heart. That’s where this prayer is won or lost. I can recite it as many times as I want, but if I don’t let God take complete charge of what my heart is thinking, I have already lost the battle.

It pains me more than you could know that the very part of my life that brings out my deepest creativity can also be my complete undoing. I need this prayer.

I pray it. I don’t recite it or treat it as a collection of nice-sounding words or assume that saying it gives me some artificial pass from dealing with the words and thoughts that do not please God. When I pray it, God can begin His clarifying, cleaning work.

So who do you want to please with your thoughts and the words that come from them? Don’t turn away from God’s magnifying glass set over your heart to show you what is there. That’s where the work of this prayer begins and pleasing words are born.

Prayer Prompts for the Week______________________________


Give God permission to look into your heart. What does He show you? Pray your acceptance.


What are your heart meditations today? Use the list from Philippians 4:8-9 to guide heart-thoughts. Or pray your gratitude to rightly order your heart.


With whom have you had words that did not please God? Consider asking forgiveness as part of your heart-cleaning work.


Ask God to expand the vocabulary of your heart to include affirmation and gratitude. Share your words with someone who needs them.


Let God’s overwhelming love and acceptance cancel any self-deprecating thought. Let His embrace so settle you that it squeezes out only pleasing words for you and those you live with.


Pray this prayer as you drive to work or start your day at home. Pray it before a meeting or before the kids come home. Learn to pray it before encounters to increase your awareness of using your words to please God.


Listen to God’s pleasing words about you. Keep those words in your heart and discover how they help you to use your words for others in similar ways.

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