"For it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips."
- Proverbs 22:18 NIV
I am privileged to answer prayer requests from people around the world on a regular basis. This is one of the many things that keeps me devoted to the Lord and His Word, because I know that in my own strength and knowledge, I would be woefully inadequate to minister to anyone. I hear from many people who are depressed, suicidal, seriously ill or injured, or who have loved ones who are in great need. Sometimes just reading their words brings me to tears and leaves me speechless. Once when this happened, I turned to the Lord and confessed, "I don't know what to tell them. I haven't the words to say." Immediately, I heard the Lord speak to my heart, "When you don't know what to say, let My Word do the talking!"
Perhaps you think that only certain Christians are called to counsel and minister to others. If that is the case, then allow me to tell you today that you are wrong. One of the reasons why God has equipped every one of His people with the Holy Spirit is so they can encourage, correct, and counsel others with His truth. Jesus said, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. " (John 14:26 NIV) We are given an indwelling divine Counselor, not only to instruct us, but to instruct others through us. And the instrument that the Spirit of God uses more than anything else is the Word of God. Therefore, it is absolutely essential for us to have a working knowledge of God's Word.
One of the first verses of Scripture that the Lord led me to memorize many years ago was Isaiah 50:4 (NIV): "The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught." God knew that I had a heart for helping others in His name, so one of the first things He did was to tell me that I had to "know the Word," just like this verse says. So besides seeking the Lord each day through prayer and the study of His Word, I began building a collection of books filled with Scripture-based prayers and confessions. As I prayed these Holy-Spirit-inspired prayers, they not only changed others and their circumstances, but they changed ME, as God's truth became planted and rooted in my heart.
Proverbs 22:18 (NIV) points out the importance of storing God's words in our hearts: "For it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips. " How can we be prepared to share God's Word with anyone if we haven't taken the time and trouble to plant it in our hearts? Suppose you are having a conversation with a friend, and he shares a troubling situation with you? Are you going to whip out your Bible and begin looking up verses that apply to his situation? That may be appropriate in some cases, but most of the time, you will not have your Bible handy. And even if you do, depending on your friend's spiritual maturity, you may lose his interest as soon as you start flipping through the pages.
People occasionally ask me how they can have a ministry like mine. I tell them that the most important thing is to get to know God and His Word. There are a lot of hurting people in this world. That means there are a lot of opportunities for ministry. And there is no better way to comfort and encourage people than with the Word of God. Scripture says, "Your word is my only source of hope." (Psalm 119:114 NLT) If we will make the effort to store God's life-changing truths in our hearts, the Lord will give us opportunities to minister to others in ways that will impact their lives for all eternity. I am living proof of that, and so are countless others. The next time someone comes to you with a hurt or a need, let God's Word do the talking!
Prayer: Lord, teach me how to begin making "deposits" of Your Word in my heart, so that I can make "withdrawals" whenever the need arises. Give me a growing passion for Your presence and Your Word. Thank You that as I do my part to become equipped for service in Your kingdom, You will use me, reward me, and promote me!
- J. M. Farro