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What Does “May the Words of My Mouth and the Meditation of My Heart” Mean?

Psalm 19 says to God "may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight." But how do we make sure our words and meditations are acceptable to God? What even are the "meditations of my heart"? Fortunately, the psalmist doesn't leave these questions unanswered.

Aug 11, 2022
What Does “May the Words of My Mouth and the Meditation of My Heart” Mean?

These words have been taped to my bathroom mirror for over a year: May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, LORD, my Rock, and my Redeemer.

I’d planned to tape a different scripture verse to the mirror every month, but I soon realized how desperately I needed to lean into those living words every morning.

Which Psalm Says, “May the Words of My Mouth and the Meditation of My Heart…”?

This heart cry from David is taken from Psalm 19, a psalm considered one of the most beautiful pieces of poetry in the book, and for good reason.

To fully appreciate the prayer found in Psalm 19:14, let’s look at the preceding verses.

In verses 1-6, David contemplates the beauty of God’s handiwork. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands” (verse 1). The word glory is derived from the Hebrew word kabad, which means weighty or worthy. The significance of God’s creative power and attention to detail cannot escape us. Look up! See how the sun rises and sets without fail and the smattering of stars that stretch across the darkened sky. They’re visible to everyone, regardless of location or language. Such beauty, power, and grandeur can surely stir even the hardest of hearts.

Verses 7-11 shift from what the heavens say about God to the glory of God’s written revelation in Scripture. David testifies to the sufficiency of God’s Word, saying how it brings refreshment to the soul, and that it is trustworthy. In verse 8, he adds how the LORD’s precepts are right, giving joy to the heart.

David knew this joy because he knew his God. He knew the LORD’s decrees were more precious than gold and sweeter than honey, which was a highly desirable delicacy at the time. His heart was grateful as he considered God’s creative power, as well as the strength of God’s Word and the reward that came from obeying it (verse 11).

Joyful are those who obey His laws and search for Him with all their hearts (Psalm 119:2 NLT).

Verses 12-13 reveal the psalmist discovering he can’t know his sins, known and unknown or hidden, without the light of Scripture. God’s Holy Spirit brings darkness to light, exposing our sins for repentance, not condemnation (Romans 8:1).

Quick obedience and repentance not only produce true joy, but they also make way for victory over our sin. An unrepentant heart is heavy, spiritually cumbersome, and dangerous. David wanted to avoid willfully sinning or being ruled by his sins, ultimately rebelling against God. Instead, he wanted to walk blamelessly before the Lord, which leads us to his heartfelt prayer in verse 14.

What Are the Words of My Mouth?

Perhaps the answer lies in Joshua 1:8, which would’ve been a familiar verse to David. Following the death of Moses, Joshua became the leader of the children of Israel as they were preparing to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land. The LORD promised to give them every place they set their foot, as He had promised Moses. He also promised Joshua that no one would be able to stand against him all the days of his life and that He would be with him as he was with Moses, never leaving or forsaking him. The LORD told Joshua to be careful to obey all the laws Moses gave him so that he may be successful wherever he goes. 

And in verse 8, the LORD tells Joshua to keep the Book of the Law always on his lips, to meditate on it day and night, so that he may be careful to do everything written in it, resulting in prosperity and success.

What are the “words of my mouth”? Scripture. It is the Word of God that is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).

Because the mouth speaks from that which fills the heart (Luke 6:45), it’s only fitting that David would include the meditation of his heart alongside his desire to speak in a way that pleased the Lord.

What Is the Meditation of My Heart?

To meditate on Scripture is to read the Word of God with the intention of becoming more like Jesus, not to check off a mental or physical list.

When we meditate on Scripture, we spiritually digest the living Word (Jeremiah 15:16). We savor it and “chew” on it until it becomes a part of us, guiding our heart and mind, ultimately determining the words we speak. Two ways to chew on the Word are to write out verses and pray over them throughout the week or commit them to memory. 

Like David, I’m aware that I cannot rely on my own will, earthly wisdom, or thoughts to truly see my sins, which hinder God’s work in and through my life. It’s for this reason that I often start my mornings by asking God to search me, to know my heart, to test me, to know my anxious thoughts, and to see if there is any offensive way in me as he leads me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24). I walk blindly through my day without His Spirit’s guiding light.

David ends the prayer by referring to God as his Rock and Redeemer, a beautiful indication of the personal relationship he shared with the One true Living God.

“The glorious God of creation and revelation was also the glorious God of personal relationship and redemption for His people. King David knew this; so should we.” — David Guzik

How Do We Please God with Our Words and Meditations?

David’s description of God’s Word in verses 7-8 may give hints on how we can please God with our words and meditations. As the Word becomes a part of us, we can leverage the power of Scripture and please God when we:

1. Speak words that refresh the soul (verse 7).

2. Rest in the trustworthiness of the Word and offer that same rest to others as we share the Gospel (verse 7).

3. Are joyful because His precepts are right (verse 8). There’s no need to guess, wonder, or question if His Word is true.

4. Understand His commands and obey them through the power of the Holy Spirit (verse 8).

Tips for Pleasing God with Our Words and Meditations

What are some practical ways we can please God with our words, birthed from a heart that knows Him and meditates on His Word?

1. Sing worship songs.

2. Write worship songs or poetry.

3. Read or sing hymns. Many of these lyrics are taken directly from the Word.

4. Write hope-filled words. If this is your craft, write a blog or guest post to encourage another person’s audience, or consider writing articles or a book. If writing isn’t your craft, no worries. Pen a card of encouragement to a lonely friend, write to those on the mission field, or write Scripture verses and place them throughout your home to refresh the souls of those who live there and visit.

5. Speak hope-filled words. Start a podcast, speak in your church, speak up for those who struggle to find the words, tell your spouse you love them, encourage the younger generation, etc.

6. Read God’s Word aloud.

7. Pray aloud.

A Prayer to Please God with Our Words and Meditations

My Rock and Redeemer, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight. Amen.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/RTimages

Cathy Baker Salem Web Network ContributorCathy Baker is the author of Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Beach and Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Mountains. She writes from a tiny studio lovingly known as The Tiny House on the Hill in the Foothills of SC. As an author, Hope Writer, and Bible teacher for over twenty-five years, she encourages women to pause and embrace the seemingly small, mundane moments of their day for God’s glory. She invites you to join her in the tiny house where you’re always welcome to come in and take a seat.

This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.

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