For some odd reason, during my prayer time, I became so focused on my language. I’m always careful how I talk to others around me. I want to make sure that my conversation never comes across as arrogant or super spiritual. I need my conversations to be seasoned with grace and reflect godly humility. But, when it comes to talking with The Father I usually let it all hang out; the gripes, the hurts, the betrayals, etc. Strangely, thismorning, I found myself immersed in a cautious conversation with the Lord. It was as if EVERY word I spoke had meaning and consequence. It wasn’t like God was waiting for me to finish my prayer and then address it as a whole; it was a spotlight on every word.
Do you know our language influences thought and action? The words we use to describe things—to ourselves and others—affect how we and they think and act. Well, be assured, our language matters in our prayer time too! You see, there is more to our language than strict grammar and spelling. There is a real power to it. Our language dances with our imaginations. It creates an incredible range of emotions and feelings, which quite often make the difference between us loving our lives and sabotaging it. Think about this for a moment: What was the most beautiful thing someone has ever said to you? Take a second and revisit that experience… What do you see? How do you feel? It could have been just one sentence, one single sentence that changed you for a moment, or maybe even a lifetime.
Listen, the words we speak to other people and the thoughts we hear in our minds, add up and create our personal stories. Those stories eventually shape and create our realities. Words to stories…..stories to realities. My friend, this is the power of language. Would you believe that the words you use actually determine whether you succeed or not? Language shapes how we experience the world. Sometimes take a few minutes and just listen to the conversations around you. Count how often you hear the following words: but, want, should, hope, try. I did this experiment in a workshop I attended and got startling results. It wasn’t just the frequency at which these words came up, it was the context of the words created and the mindset that they put me in that literally determined whether I took any action—and what action I took.
Here are five of the actual phrases I find myself using throughout my day; and how the Word of God helps me to retract counter-productive statements:
1. I would love to BUT ________ Read Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
2. I WANT to ___________ Read Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
3. I SHOULD __________ Read Proverbs 17:27, “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.”
4. I HOPE __________ Read Proverbs 17:28, “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”
5. I’ll TRY to _________Read Proverbs 18:20, “From the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.”
Notice that every one of these phrases is passive. These statements are self-defeating. They take the accountability out of my hands and fling it into the stratosphere. Also, notice that these are all potential actions that go undone and hence, have no positive impact on the success of my dreams or ministry.
For example: Replace “want” with “am.” “Want” tends to be a passive word. Wanting doesn’t make anything happen. Consider using a verb. Instead of saying, “I want to,” you can say, “I am.” Simply changing “want” to “am” puts you more in control of the outcome. Replace “try” with “will.” The word “try” is another weak and slippery word. To say that you will “try to” gets you off the hook. Saying “I will” leaves no wiggle room about what is going to happen or who is going to make it happen. Replace “should” with “will.” Just like “try,” “should” is a weasel word and is best refuted with a strong action word like “will.” Replace “hope” with “intend.” Hope can go either way. Hope without action will leave you empty handed. Instead of hoping things fall into place, intend for things to fall into place!
Over the years I’ve learned the words we use can change our outlook and perspective on a situation. When we use words that are passive and weak, we will perceive our situations more negatively. When we use active, powerful and dynamic words, we will perceive ourselves as more powerful over our situations. I challenge you to simply stop yourself if you’ve made a weak statement and restate your thoughts using more powerful language. When you do, you’ll find that your whole perspective and demeanor will change.
Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, I thank You that You have provided Your Word to meditate on that I may prosper and succeed in all I do. When I don’t know what to say, please send Your word to bring light and understanding. Lord, instruct and guide my speech according to Your Word, and let me not turn aside to the left or to the right. In Jesus mighty name I pray, amen!”
One Simple Nugget: “Words are free; it’s how you use them that are costly!”
FYI: Don’t mix your words with your mood, you can change your mood, but you can’t take back your words!