How often do you pray about the words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart?
Have you ever prayed David’s prayer regularly? I’m referring to the prayer found at the end of Psalm 19.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heartPsalm 19:14 (ESV)
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
It’s an excellent prayer for one’s soul. But what led David, the mighty man of God, to pray in this manner? What’s the context of this prayer of one who had been described as a man after God’s heart?
My friend, Dr. Dan Woods, publicly asked this question some time back. “Why is the benediction of Psalm 19:14 so rarely presented in the context of the preceding two verses?”
A basic understanding of context makes everything better. Even before the set up of verses 12 and 13, which led to the cry of David’s heart for sanctifying grace, there’s more context to keep in mind.
David began this Psalm with a view of the Heavens, and a logical progression follows. By watching the skies, his mediations soon turn to the Creator of Heaven and Earth. The greatness of the Creator then leads him to ponder the beauty of the Word of God.
In verses 7-9, we find several phrases which describe the spoken and written Word of God: the Law of the Lord, the testimony of the Lord, the precepts of the Lord, the commandment of the Lord, and the rules of the Lord.
Overwhelmed by the beauty of God’s Word, David described it as more valuable than gold and sweeter than the raw honey from the comb. But suddenly, the descriptive turn is made from beauty to strength as the servant of God recognized his great need.
Meditation on the Word of God humbled David. This servant of God soon saw the progression that could land him in sin’s powerful grip. From personal weaknesses to doing what he knew better than to do, David knew his propensity to sin willfully.
As he spoke of presumptuous sin, David’s knowledge of God’s Word was critical. Grace taught him to avoid willfully transgressing God’s will. He also knew the inner weakness of his psyche.
And so, the Psalm turns intensely personal. In an earnest tone, I can imagine David stressing this phrase: “Let them not have dominion over me!” He does not want to be under the dominant control of willful sin. Before he moves to the familiar benediction, his cry to God is for deliverance from sin’s grip.
David desires to be a sanctified servant of God. What a fantastic find in an Old Testament patriarch!
Therefore, the servant’s prayerful close becomes one we can make our own. In light of the full Gospel and living under the better New Covenant, we can know what it means to be sanctified by grace.
And now I too pray, Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
Are you in full cooperation with God’s Word so His sanctifying grace can teach and train you for godliness?