Have you ever listened to a master speaker and you sat there wishing you were able to converse so eloquently with an audience? Regardless of whether you agree with the person, or not, you can not help but be in awe of the skill with which they manage to convey their message. I have. And I am completely jealous. I am not a great orator. Perhaps that is why I prefer to write. It gives me the opportunity to weigh my words, select them carefully, rethink them, delete, delete, delete, and try again. Oh! I have my moments. There have been those times when I managed to say exactly what I wanted to say and I saw how it hit home. But those moments are few and far between. And so I am left jealous of the great orators of our time.
Ever since reading something about this in the Bible some time last week, I have been pondering the idea of influencing and inspiring people with our words. I am referring to Luke 11:1 where it tells us that Jesus was praying and when He was finished praying, His disciples made a request to Him:
“Lord. teach us to pray.”
They had a specific example to refer to, another great orator of their time, who had taught his followers how to pray. They therefore knew this was a skill that could be taught.
“As John also taught his disciples.”
Have you ever been part of a debate team, or some similar group? Have they taught you about pacing your words, elocution, modulation, etc? Learning to speak to an audience comes natural to many, but it can be taught to those of us who need some extra assistance. All we need is to be inspired by someone who has mastered the art. This will inspire us to learn the skill, because we want it badly enough.
That is how Jesus’ disciples felt after they listened to Him praying. When He spoke to the Father, they knew they were listening to a special rhetoric. This was not the ordinary long-winded prayers of the religious leaders of the time. This prayer stood out above the rest. This was something to be desired.
Having been awakened to the idea of how our speech has the ability to influence and inspire those around us, I paid more acute attention to the conversations around me. At some point, during the course of the weekend, I found myself in the company of a group of strangers of whom some have been drinking heavily. Not my usual crowd, but it seems they can’t be avoided. At some time or another we will run into them. It took only one drunk man to turn the conversation into something to be avoided. The sheer stupidity and self-indulgent rhetoric was enough to put anyone off drink. But more than that, it lowered the general level of conversation for everyone present. This guy was so loud that I missed the one conversation that was worth listening to. Somewhere in a corner, two friends had seated themselves and they were talking about how God had intervened in their sorrow. I was very fortunate to have this conversation repeated to me afterwards, or I may have missed it altogether.
Where was I when all this was going on? Well, only a couple of meters away a rhino couple were leisurely feeding on the food that had been put out for them. So I was happily snapping pictures. Yet, I could not help wondering and pondering this idea. How do my words influence others? Do my words drive people away from my company, or do I inspire them? And, if I inspire them, do I inspire them to have a desire to talk to God? A desire to get to know God. A wish to have an intimate relationship with the Father, the way Jesus’ conversation with God inspired His followers.
He did teach them. He taught them to ask for what they needed. He taught them to bring praise and honour to God, to acknowledge His supreme authority in their lives. He taught them to pray for the needs of others. He taught them to forgive and to ask for forgiveness in return. He taught them to ask without ceasing, to the point of irritation, illustrating it with a story to make it more clear. He told them that if they knew the Father, the way He did, they would not doubt that He would give what they asked, open if they knocked, and answer if they called. He reminded them that even fallible earthly fathers know to give their children good food and that we should expect even better from our Father.
That’s what He called Him; our Father. This is like an older brother sitting down with his siblings, telling them not to be too afraid to approach their dad with their requests. Wow! He does inspire, doesn’t He? Even today, after learning those verses by heart, I can not help but be inspired to seek God out. And I get to say “our Father!”
Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy the books here:
You can purchase Designs By Miekie 1 here.
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