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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Sunday, February 7

May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
—Psalm 19:14

This is one of my favorite prayers. Years ago, a wonderful ninety-eight-year-old woman, who had more energy than I had at forty-eight, told me that she prayed this “every morning before my feet touch the ground.”

I have tried to emulate this woman’s practice, and though my feet often touch the ground before I say it, most days this is the first thought I have: may my words and thoughts be acceptable to God. Fred Craddock, one of the most respected homiletics (preaching) professors in America, says, “Don’t tell me there’s a big difference between words and deeds. Words are deeds!”

Words are important! We all speak too much, write too much, and may even read too much these days, and this is from a constant reader and book collector. It is good to remember the power and impact of our words, so I believe it is wise to articulate this verse from Psalm 19, to keep it in our conscious minds.

This psalmist obviously had a close relationship with God: “my strength and my redeemer” are two powerful images. In the Hebrew, another term for strength is rock, connoting an impenetrable foundation. Redeemer here means kinship or family. In the ancient Near East, the stronger member of a family would literally redeem land or property lost by weaker family members.

Thus, this lovely prayer asks God, whom we trust and know, to guide our words and thoughts. Not a bad way to start the day!

May my words and thoughts today be grounded in your steadfast love. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2007.