Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer (v. 14).
Many preachers pray this Scripture aloud before a sermon. In my preaching class, I heard this so often it almost sounded like a magic phrase, as if praying these words would make the sermon stronger. I believe these prayers were sincere. The preachers’ heartfelt words were an offering to God. I always wonder, though, about the acceptable to you part. What makes a servant’s offering acceptable, anyway?
The psalmist focuses on the servant’s heart, praying that it be uncovered, unconcealed, and open for examination. Being vulnerable is the servant’s task. Being unpolluted by falsehoods is the goal. Being authentic seems like a must. So, if someone does all of that, and checks off all those boxes, what will that “acceptable” offering sound like?
It sounds like a contribution that is uniquely, authentically you. Nothing else will do. No one else’s artistry or giftedness or ability is an adequate substitute.
My sister Ashley once stepped up to the pulpit, bowed her head, and began: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts. . .”, looking up with a mischievous grin, she continued, “set our souls to dancing!”
How might we paraphrase this psalm-prayer to reflect the authentic response of what we will offer God? “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts __________.” Do we pray that our words will shake up the congregation, surprise the neighbors, settle our souls, or dislodge our certainties?
What does a vulnerable, authentic offering of your own look like? How will you complete this prayer: May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts _________?
God, you know our hearts. May our offerings reflect our whole selves. Amen.