Every morning and every evening I wash my mouth out with soap. I use Colgate, not nasty lye, but the objective is the same: Bacteria build up on my teeth and gums and by scrubbing them clean, I help maintain a healthy mouth. Flossing and brushing are part of my necessary routine.
The Bible tells me that my mouth also builds up another kind of toxic debris. I talk about this principle in my book, “The Karma of Jesus.” In James in the New Testament warns me that my words can be poison and try as I might to say the right things I will fail. I need to continually “wash my mouth out” with the cleansing Word of God, and to let the Spirit guard what I say, and release into the world. According to the Bible words are powerful forces, either creating good or ill. I needs God’s continued guard over my lips, to bring his words of life and not my own words of destruction. Anger, criticism, doubt, gossip – they are all easier to say than words of hope and encouragement and faith. That’s why I need God to help me “wash my mouth.”
As brushing my teeth is a twice-daily discipline for me, I sometimes use the exercise as a reminder to pray, specifically about the words that will come out of my mouth. The average person speaks 16,000 words per day. God help me! God help the people who have to bear my words! While I’m brushing my teeth I pray that the 16K words I say will bring life and not destruction. Those 2 minutes work like a trigger to remind me how much I need God!
“God, your words bring goodness and life. My words often do the opposite. I need you today to guard my words. Keep me from speaking judgments, doubt, gossip, fear, and other things that don’t echo your heart. Instead, speak through me. May my words bring hope and joy and faith. On my own I can’t do this, but with your words in me, I can release goodness into the world in your name. As I brush my teeth, brush my words clean! In Jesus name…”
Check out the other “21 Ways to Pray” in a special Beliefnet devotional I’ve written. And as always, feel free to add in your own perspectives.