Some of my readers may recall a situation comedy that was on TV in the mid to late 1970’s called “Mind Your Language”. It was about a tutor faced with a class of foreign adult students learning basic English at an evening class. Thankfully, this sort of program would no longer be made. It’s racial stereotypes and prejudice are not acceptable. However, one thing we can learn from it, is that we are all in danger of taking the language we speak for granted.
Let me try and explain what I mean.
I became a Christian in 1983. I became part of a church and, you soon learn, that there is a language that is peculiar to Church. Many of the circles I moved in (and still move in) speak a sort of “Christianeese”. I have heard of “salvation”,”sanctification” and many others besides. Over the years I have learnt what these words mean and I value them and would not want to demean them in any way.
But something really struck me today as I was praying. I often pray that God would use me in certain situations. As I prayed about one particular situation, I felt God say to me “what do you mean?”.
and prayed “you know Lord, use me”.
God said “I don’t know, do you?”
The truth is, I didn’t know what I meant. I was using language without fully understanding what it meant to me. I began to explore what it was I was really asking God and also, how my language reflected my understanding of God. So, I began to play about with the word “use” and it occurred to me that, it is only two letters short of “abuse”.
The more I have mulled it over I realise that God doesn’t “use” people He invites us to work alongside Him. I read this, written by Benignus O’ Rourke;
God respects the dignity of each one of us. He respects our freedom. He does not use people. Rather, he works with us. His wish is to draw us into partnership with him. God invites. We respond. He works alongside us. His love releases our talents. In all good things we do in partnership with him our gifts shine, our personality blossoms (Benignus O’Rourke – Finding your hidden treasure – page 146)
That thought, really changed what I prayed for and, maybe, it will,change the way you pray.