1 Peter 4
7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. let’s pray.
Lord, we want to pray in 2019 like we’ve never prayed before. We want to deepen our fellowship with You. We want to increase in our intimacy with You. We want to believe with more certainty that You exist and that You are real, that You are indeed our Healer, our Redeemer, our Counselor, our Rewarder. And we want to seek You knowing that You hear our prayers.
Father, if there’s anything that’s blocking our prayers or hindering our prayers or obstructing our prayers, we pray that You would identify it more specifically. We pray that You would help us to tame our tongues. We need to have tongues that are under Your control and submitted to You and used for the right purposes. Help us, Lord. Like Isaiah, we know that we have unclean lips and we live among a people of unclean lips. We pray that with the blood of Jesus, You would clean up our lips so that we can pray to You without hindrance. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen
I think I already gave the main point in the prayer which is that we are to use our tongues for good and not evil. And if you do that, if you have a tame tongue, if you have a restrained tongue, if you’re using your tongue for good and not evil, to bless and not to curse, then you and I will be well prepared to pray. And you might not know that prayer takes preparation. You don’t just enter into the Lord’s presence. We don’t just demand that He hear us. We have to prepare ourselves to pray. I’m going to do an overview of First Peter today, but let me just read a few verses and comment about prayer taking preparation.
1 Peter 3:7
7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
Did you know that as a husband if you do not restrain your tongue and you’re not careful with your tone and you are harsh with your wife, it says it right there. Your prayers are hindered.
In the same chapter, 1 Peter 3:10-11 says
10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
These verses indicate that restraining our tongue from evil and using it for good – not for deceit, not cursing, not judging, not criticizing, not fault-finding, not retaliating – that the Lord says this is good and this is righteous. And if you are such a person, the Lord’s eyes are upon you. That is what this one definition of righteousness is in the area of our speech – that we are the kind of people who have tamed tongues who are under the control of God.
And therefore God sees us. Not only does God see us but God’s ears are open to our prayers. And that means to some people who are evil, to some people whose tongues are not tamed, to some people who are readily cursing and gossiping and judging, God’s ears are closed to such people’s prayers.
So we need to prepare ourselves for prayer. Of course there’s the verse that I read that we need to be self-controlled and sober-minded. And why 1 Peter 4:7? For the sake of our prayers because if we are not self controlled in this one area in terms of our speech – if we’re not self-controlled and sober minded, if we are loose with our lips, if we readily vent, if we’re treated badly and we have to tell somebody about how bad that person is who treated us badly, if we are that kind of person, then our prayers are not heard. We have not prepared ourselves efficiently to pray.
There are some famous verses here that are taken out of context and I just want to quickly clear this up. We read through as a family 1 Peter and it’s so dense. I was stuck for many days and some weeks on this book. Finally I got alone with the Lord yesterday for a good chunk and studied the original language and things just started to connect for me. There are verses that are taken out of context like 1 Peter 3:15:
15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect
We love quoting this verse in terms of evangelism – that we should be ready with our apologetic defense for why we believe in the resurrected Christ. The context here is about being persecuted unjustly and for righteousness sake you are suffering. For Jesus’ sake, you’re suffering. You’re doing good by not retaliating when you are mocked. You’re insulted but you restrain your tongue. That’s the context. And you do it because you revere Christ. You do it out of reverence for Christ because you honor Christ in your heart as holy.
And then someone sees your behavior. Your persecutor sees that you are not retaliating and they are confused because this is not human that when somebody is insulted, when somebody is spit upon or mocked, they usually get angry and retaliate. And so someone asks you and then you give a reason for the hope that you have. It says you do it with gentleness and respect. How you say something is as important as what you say. You could be defending Christ before mockers and before people who are antagonistic and hostile, but as you’re defending you can become agitated and hostile and you just want to win your argument. You’re not gentle. You’re not respectful. You’re just trying to prove that you’re right and that the person is wrong. And you might have said true things, but you said it in the wrong way. So how we say true things matters as much as what we say. We say it according to 1 Peter. We speak with gentleness and respect, with restraint over our tongue and our tone.
Another verse taken out of context is verse 1 Peter 4:17
17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
We use this verse to say the church is just messy. The church is backsliding, the church is unclean, the church needs to get her act together and judgment will begin at the house of God and God will clean up His church. I used to read it that way, too. But if you look at it in context, what does He say about the church? He says the church is righteous. Meaning, he’s not talking about a cleanup in His church. He’s talking about his pure bride that will be saved, but then it says they are scarcely saved. Why are the righteous scarcely saved? I can understand unrighteous within the church being scarcely saved but why does it say the righteous?
Because this is an end time letter. He’s talking about how tribulation is going to be so hard that for the sake of the elect the days will be cut short and the church is just barely hanging on for life. It is scarcely saved in the end. It is the judgment that is for the church, but the church perseveres. And if it takes that kind of incredible faith, fortitude, endurance, and perseverance for the righteous church to be saved, what will become of the ungodly who do not obey the word of God? That is his point.
There are famous verses taken out of context. There are also controversial verses. I already read one of them – 1 Peter 3:7
7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel..
If you are an egalitarian or you’ve been trained in academic institutions that push forward feminism, this is such an offensive verse. What do you mean weaker vessel? Women are now weaker? I just saw a clip of a transgender rugby player who was playing Australian football – which is similar to rugby – and he’s competing against women. He is a blond, brawny, six-foot-three giant man, but he says “It’s my right. I feel like a woman, I want to compete against women.” And he is destroying the women. Men and women are not the same biologically. It is not fair for men to compete against women. But this type of truth in 1 Peter, just common sense truth, is so offensive in our day and age.
But scripture is clear. It first starts out with the women in 1 Peter 3. It talks about Sarah and how she is an example of a godly woman. If you are looking for a spouse, I pray that you find someone who fits this description in 1 Peter 3:4.
4 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.
She has imperishable beauty, not external beauty. She has an inner beauty and what kind of beauty is it? It is a gentle and quiet spirit. Women are trained these days to be loud and harsh and to fight for every right. That is not a godly woman. A godly woman knows how to restrain her tongue and has a beautiful inner character. A spirit that is gentle versus harsh. Not harsh but gentle, not loud but quiet. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Peter highlights Sarah who called her husband Abraham “lord” or “master” which showed such a sign of respect.
I’ve never asked Jackie to call me “master chief.” Well, maybe she should call me “master chief.” Just kidding. But it’s just such humility for a godly woman to look upon her spouse and call him lord. That is highlighted as the supreme example among women in terms of a godly character as a spouse, and you might read that and say well that’s not fair. How come the women have to act that way and not the men?
Well, if you read on, verse 7 says “”Likewise, husbands…” A better translation is that after reading about the woman with a gentle and quiet spirit and about Sarah who called her husband lord, then you read “likewise” which means “in the same manner” or “like manner, husbands.”
Be understanding. Show understanding to your wives because they are a weaker vessel. And how are we understanding? It comes down in many cases to our tongue and our tone that if I am harsh or if I am domineering as a husband, what does this say? My prayers are hindered. And then it says in verse 8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. All of us out of reverence for Christ, we are to live this way and treat one another with gentleness and with respect, humbling ourselves.
There are famous verses taken out of context, there are controversial verses and there are just weird verses in 1 Peter. The reason why I’m highlighting a few things that caught my attention is I want you to read this letter for yourself and I do not want you to be tripped up in the way that I was tripped up by these verses. I want you to have a smooth reading and get to the main point. The main point is for our prayers to be effective and how we need to prepare ourselves by restraining our tongue, using it for good and not evil, and we will be well prepared to pray in 2019.
The weird verses that I found are in 1 Peter 3:19-20. It talks about Jesus going to the spirits in prison because they formerly did not obey and it talks about Noah and the flood. There’s some controversy about what is Jesus doing? And who is he doing it to? He’s going to prison and he is speaking to spirits. And first of all, I do not think these are humans because the Bible does not refer to humans as spirits. Then the debate is, is this a fallen angel? Is this a demon or are they the same thing? What I see in scripture is that there seems to be a distinction and I never knew it before. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but it’s just an interesting thing to consider what angels are. They are created beings but different from humans. They are pure spirit, but they can manifest and take forms. Like Mary was visited by an angel and when she saw him, it was as if a tangible person came. When Lot was being rescued, an angel came and told him come out of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Demons usually have to have to be embodied. They take over a person. They come into a person and that’s why even in the gospels, Jesus casts out these demons and these demons don’t want to be just bodiless. They don’t want to just float around and so they ask to be cast into the pigs and the pigs go over the cliff. So demons seem to be somewhat different. We know that Satan was an angel who was cast down to earth and he took a third of the angels with him. And so there are fallen angels here. Then there’s an interesting verse in Genesis 6 – it talks about the sons of God and I believe that these are fallen angels – they are having intimate relationships with the daughters of men. Somehow these fallen angels took form and they were able to procreate with women and they had offspring called Nephilim which were giants – and then God judges the world through a flood.
Then you fast forward to Genesis 19 where Lot is in Sodom and Gomorrah and godly angels come to Lot and want to rescue him from Sodom and Gomorrah. There’s such degradation that the men of the town want to have sexual relations with the godly angels. It’s almost a continuation and a further degradation of what we see in Genesis 6. It was a fallen angel with a woman. Now it’s men wanting to have improper relations with godly angels and what does God do with these type of fallen angels?
An interesting verse in Jude verse 6 says that there are angels that did not stay within their own position or authority but left their proper dwelling. They are kept in eternal chains in gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day. So these are angels who did not stay within their position of authority or in their proper dwelling, but they fell, they came to earth like in Genesis 6 and what did God do? He has kept these fallen angels in bondage until the great judgement. It is interesting to consider that Jesus preaches to these fallen angels, these spirits in prison. I think Jesus is being declaratory. He is declaring his victory over them after he conquered sin and death and resurrected. Part of that was to go to the spirits – the fallen angels – and declare victory. Okay, so these are just a few controversial verses verses taken out of context and some weird verses.
Prayer needs preparation. I think if you and I understood our calling, we would be well prepared. Our prayers would just soar if we understood what our calling is. We would be well prepared to pray. I said a few months ago that our calling is to be saved first and foremost and 1 Peter declares it in multiple places.
1 Peter 1:15 says that God has called you. What is He calling you to? He’s not calling you to a job. He’s not calling you to a ministry assignment. He’s calling you to salvation. It says in 1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Not only has God called you to initial salvation. He is calling you to finish your race to final salvation and to enter into glory to see the glory of Christ which will be revealed on the last day. He has called us to be saved.
1 Peter 1:15-16 says, “But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” You’ve been called to be saved. Second, you have been called to be holy and holiness does not mean sinlessness. It does not mean moral perfection because none of us are morally perfect. But to be holy is to be set apart. At the beginning of every year you’ve been called to be saved while you’ve also been called to be set apart.
Have you dedicated yourself in 2019 to the Lord? Are you preparing yourself to pray, that you say “Lord, 2019 is Yours. Whatever happens in this life, it is Yours. Whatever trials I face, I trust You. Whatever victories, they are Yours. Whatever blessings you will give me, they are Yours. I dedicate and set myself apart for you, Lord, to do as you will.
We’re called to be saved and called to be holy. We’re also called to suffer and that’s not a popular message. In chapter 2 verse 20 it says:
20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
How did Christ suffer? Unjustly and brutally. He was innocent. He was without sin and as He was being led to the slaughter, He was being reviled, mocked, insulted and persecuted. What did He do? He didn’t even open his mouth. Jesus is leaving us a supreme example and He expects that you and I will follow in His steps. We’ve been called to suffer the way Christ did, not exactly but in the same manner as Christ. Meaning that you can suffer for the evil that’s being done to you, but we are called to suffer for doing good, by being like Christ while being persecuted and not responding the way that 99.9% of the people would respond in your shoes and instead you restrain your tongue. Your tongue will be trained over the years and when the final testing and the fiery trial is upon you, you look and you act and you sound just like Christ was silent. You believe “God has my back. He’s going to reward me.” So we are called to be saved, to be holy and set apart, and to suffer.
1 Peter 4:1-3
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.
If you’re called not only to be saved but to be holy and set apart and to suffer, if you embrace this suffering, the byproduct of having gone through this suffering is that you cease from sinning. And again, this does not mean moral perfection because we can stumble into sin. We can have a bad day and lose our temper. We can be not vigilant and Satan just devours us in a moment even though you are not looking for it. You’re not willfully moving in that direction when it says that if you suffer in the flesh you will cease from sin. It means you will no longer want to gratify blatantly or willingly want to gratify your flesh because there’s been a training that has occurred.
The byproduct of someone having gone through a beating of his flesh and a restraining of his tongue under persecution is that you will cease from a life of pursuing the gratification of your flesh. You’re called to be saved, called to be set apart, called to suffer, and finally, we are called to bless. Use our tongue to bless.
1 Peter 3:9
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
You are called to use your mouth to bless people. You’re called to this. It is part of your calling to be saved. It is part of your calling to be set apart for the Lord. It is part of your calling to undergo suffering for righteousness sake. It is a refining and a purification process so that your tongue can be used for good which is to bless. And who do we bless?
1 Peter 1:3 says “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Have you blessed the Lord? When was the last time you blessed the Lord? It is when you praise Him you think of Him and you exalt Him. That is why God gave you a mouth. That is why your mouth is being sanctified. That is why God is taming your tongue. So that it is used for His purposes. And God wants His Name to be glorified. That is why He gave you a tongue and a mouth.
1 Peter 2:1
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
Part of taming our tongue means we need to put away evil and the sins of the tongue. It is so easy when you get together with your best friend, your family or with fellow brothers and sisters. It is so easy to slander or gossip. You’re just being honest. You’re just venting. You had a bad week at work and your boss slammed you and you think, “It is my right to slander because I need to get this off my chest.” That is wicked.
The one caveat I would say is in the area of false teachers. Jesus before the Pharisees and false teachers is not careful with His words. He is very direct. He does not hold back and he is not gentle to false teachers. There’s ample warning about false teachers throughout the New Testament Epistles and how we are to respond to false teachers. What is a godly teacher, a godly shepherd, or a godly elder?
1 Peter 5:2-5 says:
Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
False teachers, pastors, or ministers are people who are all about themselves, they are all about their glory. They are loud and harsh and they are the complete opposite of someone clothed in humility or someone whose tongue has been tamed. They are the complete opposite of gentle or being quiet in their spirit, opposite of serving but instead domineering. So I would say the one caveat is when it comes to false teachers. We don’t have to go out of our way to blast them but we should warn people, especially people who have ears to hear, we should warn others without having to go into all the gory details. We have to be very selective who we share it to and there’s a redemptive purpose. We’re trying to warn, we’re trying to instruct. We’re trying to get them free from the influence of a false teacher if they have ears to hear, but we’re not to just blast every false teacher.
In Jude, the angel Michael when he’s speaking to Satan about Moses and his body doesn’t engage Satan even though Michael is right. Because Satan is not going to change his mind and if you engage with somebody who is set in his or her ways and they do not have ears to hear, you might think that you’re trying to help and you’re trying to show them the error of their ways. But even the angels they know this is a losing battle. You will become darkened by this exchange and so we should speak against false teachers, but only selectively – only what would be helpful and only when they have ears to hear. But to everybody else, we are to bless.
Another way to bless is to do good and that phrase appears multiple times in this letter to do good. 1 Peter 2:15 and 20 says to do good and it’s in the context of submitting under every human institution for the Lord’s sake. It says honor everybody even a Roman Emperor who is wicked and and is rounding up Christians. We are to honor the emperor. And do Christians today honor the office of the presidency? Do we honor our president? I’m not saying this because I’m pro or against him. I’m just saying biblically we should honor as Peter honored his emperor and he restrained his criticism because he trusted in the Lord’s sovereignty. Are Christians today honoring the president or are they so crass with their words and upset? Are they pronouncing judgment and obscenities and all types of evil against the office?
An example in Chapter 2 is Jesus. How did He respond? When he was unjustly treated and he was innocent, how did he respond when he was being persecuted and led to the slaughter? He did good starting with his mouth. He did not speak. He spoke to Pilot but because there was something he needed to say to Pilate but to the rest of the Roman guards and to the crowds, He did not retaliate and He did not speak.
1 Peter 3:6. This is about Sarah speaking and restraining her tongue. She was beautiful in character and she had a gentle and quiet spirit. She calls her husband “lord” and she has been lifted up as an example. There’s a training that happens for godly women so that when they one day face something very frightening or a fiery trial, or persecution globally, they have been trained to hold their tongue. They were not constantly nagging and bossing around their husband and saying words to diminish their husband, they’ve been tamed in their tongue. Luckily Sarah had a godly husband.
What if you have an ungodly husband? What if you have a non-believing husband who treats you badly? Are you allowed to be loud and harsh and speak out against that husband? If you are the believing wife, you are supposed to win him over by your conduct and by your restraint and respect. God looks at that kind of behavior – the character of that godly woman – and says she has done a gracious thing, she is blessed and she is well prepared to face a fiery trial and of course to do good.
1 Peter 3:10-11 says
For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.
These verses are about our tongues doing good and turning away from evil and being kept from evil. 1 Peter 3:17 says For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. And 1 Peter 4:19 says Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
These verses are in the context of persecution. This is an end time letter and getting back to 1 Peter 4:7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
When you are at the end, things get crystal clear of what needs to be emphasized. Peter is trying to get his church ready to pray because you will need to learn how to pray during the end. During the fiery trial when everybody is rounded up and persecuted worldwide, you will need to have been refined and to learn how to pray and to prepare for prayer so that you’re ready to go when the trial hits.
So the first step of our preparation for prayer is we need to repent. We need to repent for the sins of our tongue. Think back to what you used your tongue for. In the last week, last month, over the holidays, last year. What was your tongue used for? Was it used for good? Or was it used for evil?
When a non-believing boss is harsh to you, does that give you a right to go and and rail against your boss to your spouse and your Christian brothers and sisters? No, they are the world. It’s expected. We don’t take it personally. They’re actually reacting to Jesus in us. It is a spiritual thing. It is a persecution they don’t. We are not allowed to speak out against a non-believing person who’s just being themselves. They have no choice but to be that way. Why are we surprised? Why are we so offended? Why do we take it so personally?
You’re supposed to honor them because they are our boss and it talks about slave and master. The best analogy for modern-day is employer and employee – even if your master is unjust and they treat you like property and they demean you, does that give us a right? Does that give the right to the servants and the slaves in the first century in Peter’s day? Did they have the right to speak out against their masters?
No, imagine if they thought “I do have a right. I am going to speak out against my non-believing boss. I am going to speak out against my president. I am going to speak out against my non-believing parents who didn’t raise me right.” And you’re loose with your tongue. How do you think you and I will be? What kind of witness will we be in the end when they’re rounding us up and leading us to the slaughter and when we are persecuted for our faith? How will we be when our tongue has been loose all our lives?
You better believe we will reap what we sow. If you’ve sewn sins of your tongue if you’ve been loose with your tongue because you thought it was your right to complain about a non-believing boss, non-believing president, or a non-believing parent, imagine how you will respond when they are killing you for your faith. You’re going to lash out and you might actually say true things. But because they are asking you, you defend yourself but the way you say it will be angry. The way you say it will be “I’m so right.” It will be with a tone of harshness and condemnation and judgment, which is not righteous in God’s sight. So the first way to prepare to pray is to repent. Spend some time today repenting of the sins of our tongue.
1 Peter 4:7 says be self-controlled and be sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. To be self-controlled is to be temperate or moderate and this is related to good things. Watching a movie is is good. It’s fine. It’s neutral. Having a good meal is good. but if you have these things in excess like one can of ginger ale a month is good. It may be debatable having it once a week but asking for it once a day? That is not good. Self-controlled means you take the good things in life and you are moderate. You put a limit on it. And if anything, you learn during the holidays that too much of a good thing is not good. Too many movies and too many meals with family and friends. My family is good, but hours and hours for days and days and it becomes weeks and weeks by the end. You’ve lost self-control and you’re limping into the new year with no boundaries. Yeah, these are good. I experienced a good holiday, but it was too much of a good thing and I am not prepared to pray.
Because when you pray within the first 10 seconds, you’re distracted. And you see images of the movie you saw. And a news article you read and the game that you played. You just cannot focus.Too much of a good thing. You’re not prepared to pray because you’ve lost self-control. So one way to prepare for prayer is to be self-controlled. To say okay, these are good things, but let’s put limits. Let’s put boundaries. Let’s put a schedule. Okay, we’ve had some fun. Okay, we need to get away. We need to have just a chunk of time with the Lord to detox and get ready. And then you will realize after about five or six hours of detox, you can have a solid timer of prayer and even if it’s a short prayer, it’s a meaningful prayer.
We prepare to pray by repenting the sins of our tongue. We prepare our to pray by being self controlled with good things and to be sober-minded. Literally here, it is to abstain from wine.
Now we’re talking about things that could potentially cloud your judgment. Things that are potentially harmful to you. We’re not talking about good things. Now, we’re talking about things that we need to be very careful about.
Like movies are fine. We need to be self-controlled with movies. We need to also be sober with certain movies that can be potentially harmful. We need to abstain, and be weary and careful to identify potentially harmful things. And you need to do these three things to repent about how we’ve used our tongue. To have self control with good things and put limits on them, and third, is to identify potentially harmful wine-like things that will lead us in a direction that we did not want to go. And if you do these three things, you and I will be well-prepared to pray effectively and deeply and have a deeper connection with the Lord in 2019. Okay. Let’s pray.
Father, forgive us for the sins of our lips. We get mad so easily we get offended so easily. We fight for our rights so instinctively. And the world is just being the world. Our non-believing boss is just doing things the way he or she has always done life. Our non-believing parents are just who they are. We are to honor people in authority over us. We are to to show through the restraint of our tongue that we have given our tongue over to You. Not to curse, not to judge, not to evaluate, not to criticize, but to bless.
We bless you Lord with our tongues. We bless one another in the body of Christ with our tongues. We honor those outside the body of Christ. Train us Lord to tame our tongues. Our tongues are out of control, Lord. We look at the media. We look at the news. People’s tongues are so out of control. And we’ve been subtly affected by it. And we get angry. We truly feel offended and we speak up so readily and defend ourselves. Even if we say true things, we say it in the wrong way. We say it with offence. We say it with “I need to prove that I’m right and you’re wrong”. Forgive us, Lord. Forgive us, Lord. We don’t want to do it again. We want this year to be different. We want to be careful what we say, who we say it to, when we say it. We want to be careful how we say things.
We want to be prepared by the repentance of our tongue. We also want to prepare ourselves by being self-controlled – good things are good in moderation, but too much will affect our prayers. We will not be able to focus on our prayers if we’ve been indulgent with good things. We also will not be effective and we will not have meaningful contact in our prayers if we’ve been stumbling into harmful things, wine-like things that cloud our judgment, things that make us fall and blind and deaf. Help us to identify the harmful things in 2019 and put them aside. Help us to put away many things to clean up our lives, our tongues, our habits.
We want to put away all malice in our heart, all slander from our lips, all wine-like things in our life and even the good things. Help us to be self-controlled, Lord. All of this is just preparation to pray effectively knowing that the end is upon us. The trial is soon to come. And on that day when we are put to the fiery trial, how will we respond? Will we be like You, Jesus? You are our example. You set an example for us. You expect that Your church will follow in step, that we will be just like You, Jesus, in our manner of life and our speech while being insulted and reviled and mocked and persecuted.
Prior to the trial we want to be trained. Train us up, oh Lord, so that we will make You proud when we have to go through our trial. Thank You for Your body that was broken for us and Your blood that was shed. We remember Your example. Not just the fact that You died, but how You died. We want to be just like You, Lord. The church today does not understand that You set an example and how You died because You want us to live in the same way, starting with our speech. Help us to watch our tone. Help us to watch our words. Help us to be discerning who we speak to and to what purpose. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen