Bible Verses and a Prayer about Words and the Power of the Tongue

  • Psalm 19:14 NASB
    Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    Be acceptable in Your sight,
    O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.
  • Psalm 141:3 NIV
    Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
    keep watch over the door of my lips.
  • Proverbs 10:19 ESV
    When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
    but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
  • Proverbs 12:18 NIV
    The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
    but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
  • Proverbs 13:3 NASB
    The one who guards his mouth preserves his life;
    The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
  • Proverbs 15:1 NASB
    A gentle answer turns away wrath,
    But a harsh word stirs up anger.
  • Proverbs 15:2 ESV
    The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
    but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
  • Proverbs 15:4 ESV
    A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
    but perverseness in it breaks the spirit
  • Proverbs 16:24 NIV
    Gracious words are a honeycomb,
    sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
  • Proverbs 17:27 NASB
    He who restrains his words has knowledge,
    And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
  • Proverbs 18:21 NIV
    The tongue has the power of life and death,
    and those who love it will eat its fruit.
  • Proverbs 21:23 NASB
    He who guards his mouth and his tongue,
    Guards his soul from troubles.
  • Proverbs 25:11 NASB
    Like apples of gold in settings of silver
    Is a word spoken in right circumstances.
  • Proverbs 25:25 NIV
    Like cold water to a weary soul
    is good news from a distant land.
  • Proverbs 29:20 NASB
    Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?
    There is more hope for a fool than for him.
  • Matthew 12:36 NASB
    But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.
  • Matthew 15:18 NASB
    But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.
  • Ephesians 4:29 NIV
    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
  • James 1:26 NLT
     If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.
  • James 3:3-10 NASB
    Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come bothblessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.

prayerwords

Praying it Out on a Hard Day

Worry hits me like a sharp, shallow breathing,  right in the middle  of the Wal-Mart.

There I am, just picking the cereal for the week and mentally running through what we already have at home in the pantry, when I realize my breaths are kind of shallow, kind of pained deep in my stomach.

Maybe it’s not even worry; it’s more just thought after thought piling on over time.

Thinking about the to-do-list items, an upcoming  event, soccer and dance, rehearsals, families around me in need, relationships and friendships and peace, work craziness, and ministry decisions.

I  feel “off.”  Unsettled.  Worn down.  Tangled up.

As I push my cart around the store, I take some deep breaths and pray some quick prayers.

Dear Jesus, for my children….

Dear Jesus, for my own brokenness and sin….

Dear Jesus, for those around me….

Send peace . Be our peace, Lord.

I also chide myself.  How foolish, like a tiny child, stressing over things not worth stressing over, thinking and mulling over decisions that will  just come and work out and happen.

It all piles on in one day, though, my own problems to  sort through and a host of others for people I care about:

A family in need, a friend who is grieving, another awaiting medical test results,.

This is a hard day.  A hard day that is making me tenderhearted.

All that sorrow tumbles me into  a sweet place of just crying with Jesus.  I think maybe He weeps, too, just as He did when He stood outside of Lazarus’s tomb and saw how hard it is for all of us, how scared we are, how we mourn.

For a little while, I feel guilty for letting the smallest things in my own life land on my wimpy shoulders  like heavy burdens.

I think, “Count your blessings!  Buck up!  Get over it already!”

And, maybe that’s a little right. Maybe my perspective is off and I needed a little spirit-check, that what has me personally weighed down is foolishness compared to the deep concerns of others.

But I read this also, right in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus says:

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? ( Matthew 6:25 ESV)

We’re no different than the crowd of people surrounding him on a mountainside that day.

We feel anxious over the daily things that pound at us.  The food we eat.  The clothes we wear.  The bodies we walk around in. The tiniest mundane details of our everyday life.

Jesus didn’t say, “Don’t be anxious about your cancer diagnosis or don’t be anxious about a divorce or a foreclosure.”

He said don’t worry about any of it.  Don’t worry about lunch and dinner and your outfit for the day and your body type.

And he was so gracious about it.   He didn’t tell  the crowd to get over petty concerns because He was actually going to–you know–be persecuted and die for them because they were, after  all, heading for  eternal  damnation.

Hannah Anderson writes:

“Jesus understood …that small things can unsettle us more than large things; so when He called  the people of Galilee to leave their anxiety–when He calls us to  do the same–He does so in context of very mundane, very ordinary concerns…  At the same time, He doesn’t shame us for worrying about them.  He doesn’t tell us just how to be grateful, to remember how much better we have it than other people…..Instead, He asks if our worry is actually accomplishing anything” (Humble Roots).

It’s not, of course.  Worry isn’t accomplishing  anything for anybody.

But it is a prompting to prayer.  It’s the catalyst that stops me from just standing nearby as a helpless bystander and instead rolling up my sleeves to get in the fight.

I can’t fix this.  Not any of it.  But I can pray.

I can pray it out.  Pray it like that’s our only hope because that’s exactly who Jesus is:  He’s our Hope and our Strength and our Peace and He is who we need when we’re worrying over our children and He is who we need when our friends are facing down death and despair.

So  as I stand there in the middle of the Wal-Mart and then in my minivan and then in my home, I begin to pray it out to Jesus.

Originally published 10/2017

Bible verses and a Prayer About Gentleness

verses about gentleness

  • Deuteronomy 32:2 ESV
    May my teaching drop as the rain,
        my speech distill as the dew,
    like gentle rain upon the tender grass,
        and like showers upon the herb.
  • Psalm 18:35 ESV
    You have given me the shield of your salvation,
        and your right hand supported me,
        and your gentleness made me great.
  • Proverbs 15:1 ESV
    A soft answer turns away wrath,
        but a harsh word stirs up anger.
  • Proverbs 15:4 ESV
    A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
        but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
  • Isaiah 40:11 ESV
    He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
        he will gather the lambs in his arms;
    he will carry them in his bosom,
        and gently lead those that are with young.
  • Matthew 11:29-30 ESV
     Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
  • 2  Corinthians 10:1 ESV
    I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!—
  • Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
  • Galatians 6:1 ESV
    Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
  • Ephesians 4:2 ESV
    with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
  • Ephesians 4:15 ESV
    Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ
  • Philippians 4:5 NIV
    Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:7 ESV
    But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.
  • 1 Timothy 6:11 ESV
    But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.
  • 2 Timothy 2:24-25 ESV
     And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone,able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth
  • Titus 3:2 NIV
    to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
  • Hebrews 5:1-2 ESV
    For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness.
  • James 3:17 ESV
    But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
  • 1 Peter 3:3-4 ESV
    Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
  • 1 Peter 3:15 NIV
    But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect

prayergentleness

This is why I need a Savior

psalm 103.jpg

I was a freshman in college when an older friend took me for a walk and confronted me about the deathly sharpness of my tongue, how I could cut another student to pieces and leave them in shreds on the campus floor.

Since then, there has been grace.

The Holy Spirit dug out mounds of trash and began growing kindness, gentleness, and self-control in me.

I started to think that this new ‘me’ is the real me, the gracious and gentle me who loves others and keeps her tongue in check.  I thought I had learned the lesson:

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
    but the tongue of the wise brings healing (Proverbs 12:18 ESV).

But it was pride, foolish pride.

Now, the Lord is breaking that self-righteousness right down. It stings and aches, and I’d just like Him to finish the construction project already so I can stop feeling so bruised and laid bare.

I’ve been losing my ‘cool,’ snapping back when I felt challenged, flashing to defend myself.

One time felt like a fluke, just a bad day. But then it happened again. And again.

Every time, I’d think, “What’s wrong with me?  That’s not who I am!”

I’d spend days, weeks even after each incident rehearsing the scenes in my mind, wincing at my words, embarrassed and ashamed.

I resolved to try harder next time. Be calm. Stay in control. Take deep breaths.  Don’t talk when provoked.  Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to get angry.

Not that I’m cursing or yelling, of course.  It’s just that temporary loss of control, speaking now and thinking later (with regret).

That’s not me.   I’m sweet and kind.  I’m patient and slow to speak.

That’s what I kept telling myself.

But the truth is even when I kept control of my tongue, the trash was in my heart–the criticism or judgments, the flashes of self-protective wit and anger.

Now God seems to be letting the trash of my heart come pouring out my mouth so I can’t hide it, not even from myself.

I keep entering the boxing ring and beating at myself with the same commentary.

I can’t believe I said that. 

That’s not me.  That’s not who I am. 

What’s wrong with me?

Why am I so easily provoked?

I am an idiot.

I’m so embarrassed.  

I review my day as a mom and realize I blew it here and I messed up there.  I hear how my tone of voices loses gentleness even with my own kids.

I’ve spent months carrying around a load of shame and embarrassment because I just can’t seem to shake my reactivity.

What’s wrong with me?

Then this weekend, I read Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman and she pinned me to a display board when she said this:

Shock and shame are my most natural and immediate responses when I make a bad choice or have a bad reaction….If I feel shocked and ashamed when I snap…, maybe I’m assuming I can handle life on my own and I don’t really need redemption, not really. And so when my soul has a bad idea, I can’t believe it.

Shock and shame. That’s been me.

Why am I so shocked by my own sinfulness?  Every. Single. Time.

It’s because I’ve been leaning so heavily on my own self-righteousness that I’ve failed to collapse in the arms of grace.

It’s because I’ve been assuming I could be perfect and am angry when I’m not.

I have messages I tell my kids over and over, hoping they’ll ring true in the deepest parts of them.

I love you.

You’re beautiful. 

I believe in you.

And this:

No one is perfect. We all mess up.  We sin.  That’s why we need a Savior.  If we could be perfect on our own, we wouldn’t need Jesus.

Maybe in this season of humility and the breaking down, I find myself learning the lesson I’ve been preaching—

Accept the grace.  Be loved.

Stop being shocked and embarrassed because I need a Savior.

Be humbled and live in awe of the One who Saves.

I don’t receive mercy because I’m perfect; I receive it because I’m imperfect and relying on Christ.

Aren’t we all?

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:8-12 NIV).

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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2015 Heather King