As we pray, we need to examine our personal lives:
(9) May my eyes open
only to what I should see;
(10) May my ears open
only to what I should hear;
(11) May my lips open
only to what I should say,
to what I should eat and drink.
(12) May I dwell upon what is true,
pure, right, holy,
(13) May I not lie to myself.
(14) May I see any sin that hides in me.
(15) May I confess, turn from,
and be forgiven of
any sin in my life.
[For brief notes to these comments, use the DOOR.]
(9) through (15) refer to making careful, systematic, and sometimes scary inspection of our personal lives.
(9), (10), and (11) refer to how we use important parts of our bodies. We “take in” with our eyes and ears; we take in and “give out” with our lips. Note the emphasis here is on the positive rather than the negative. It’s not “don’t. don’t, don’t”; rather it’s “do, do, do.” Of course there are things we should avoid, don’ts that we should be careful about, but–and I say this cautiously–there are some evils and questionable things we should know about, be aware of. The old example, “You can’t help that the birds fly over your head, but you can stop them from making a nest in your hair.” That said, we need to be aware of certain troubles, problems, and evils, for one thing, Christians can’t serve others in need if they’re unaware of their needs. Yet there’s a very delicate line between temptation (which Jesus experienced) and sin (which Jesus didn’t do). All this requires daily and sometimes minute-by-minute prayer.
And yes (11), words can be very dangerous as well as helpful. Not to be neglected are the foods and drinks we take into our bodies, and that never-preached-about sin of gluttony.
Hence, (12) reminds us that our goal is to focus upon the right, God-pleasing things.
And, of course, (13) reminds us of that universal sin of not being honest with ourselves, and filling our lives with games and distractions which detract from what should be the main business of our lives.
And, too, when we discover sin (14), we should without hesitation confess (15) and deal with it.
[For those desiring a paper copy of this prayer–all 34 parts–printed on a legal-sized sheet, enclose in an envelope $1 (U.S) as handling expense and one SASE (self-addressed stamped [49 ¢] envelope) business envelope to John Knapp II, 46 Knappian Way, Montrose, PA 18801. That’s sending information the old snail-mail way ♥. On this sheet will appear both a “personal” and a “corporate” (for groups) version of the 34-part prayer + more than 100 Bible references supporting what the prayer says. The prayer may be freely copied for others–and may be suitable for group worship, Sunday school or Sabbath classes, or small group use.]