Good Friday morning ...

"Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and Your hand over my mouth."

Not a bad prayer, is it? I like it! I recently saw it on the back of a T-shirt, and I was reminded of it this past week in one of those instances when it was hard to not say something.

I'm sure you've had those moments. It may be that someone has been unmercifully critical ... and you'd like to retort. Or you have heard an untrue rumor ... and you'd like to blast the one spreading it. Or perhaps you had been minding your own business when out of nowhere someone verbally lays you out like a pancake ... and you'd like to take their head off. More likely these days someone has been critical of your political, social or spiritual stance ... and you'd like to tell him a thing or two.

"Lord, keep Your arm around my shoulder and Your hand over my mouth."

We need that arm around the shoulder; it feels good; it's comforting. It reminds us that God is there! And it assures us of His guiding! That arm is especially helpful in times of uncertainty.

But the hand over the mouth ... that's not something we would normally request. Not in this day and age when we say what we want ... when verbal abuse is widespread ... when put-downs are commonplace in almost any venue ... when First Amendment rights are threatened. Don't want nobody putting a hand over MY mouth!!! I'm gonna say what I've got to say and there's not a thing you do about it!

That's exactly why this is a good prayer. A really good prayer! We need better control over what we say and who better to put a kibosh on what we say than God Himself? Lord, keep Your hand over my mouth. Can you imagine if we really paid attention to some of the admonitions God gives us in His Word regarding what we say and how we say it.

     "Speak the truth in love" [Ephesians 4:15]
     "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" [Exodus 20:16]
     "A fool gives vent to anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control" [Proverbs 29:11]

In this regard we need a lot of help. Consider all the kinds of animals, birds and creatures that have been tamed by man ... "but no man can tame the tongue" [James 5:8]. It is like a fire ... "a world of evil among the parts of the body" [James 5:6]. It's a tough challenge but it's possible when we realize, as in so many things, we are not alone in facing it. We can pray this simple prayer and then thank God for His faithfulness!

Let's try it for a week. I have a strong feeling it could make a big difference. "Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and Your hand over my mouth."

Have a great weekend ...