(Jesus said) I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit…If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you (John 15.5a, 7)


What language, O God
do I employ to seek,
to speak to You
that I might be assured that You, please,
will hear my ardent pleas?

Is it an ancient tongue
known well by those long afore
who stood before
Your throne of mercy and grace
with empty, upraised hand,
broken-open heart,
and tear-stained face
(a tongue, like none other,
I know not and cannot utter)?

Or is it angelic speech
(of which the Apostle knew),
though sans word or sound,
natheless, resounds heaven-round
(for this, too,
I, time-and-space bound,
cannot use
to share my cause
with You)?

Nay, neither of these,
though I canst not know,
need I know,
for this I think…I believe:
It only is Your word
that I do dare speak;
that word of abiding,
of being in Your will.

Aye, O God,
by Your Spirit,
continue to teach me Your will.


Endnote: (of which the Apostle knew) is a reference to St. Paul’s allusion to the existence of angelic speech, “If I speak in the tongue of mortals or angels, but have not love…” (1 Corinthians 13.1a; my emphasis)

Photograph (4/28/18): Wisteria vine, Clevedale Historic Inn and Gardens, Spartanburg, SC

2 thoughts on “Tongue-Tied?

  1. Thank you for this Paul! I’ve always wanted to learn a new language but never quite got around to it! I too French in high school but only remember a few words. I’m likely misinterpreted what you meant but I’ve never thought of communicating with God in a particular language, I just assumed that my prayers would be heard. My struggle is finding the right words to explain what I want and need in a way that doesn’t make me appear selfish and self-centered. I don’t have that fear and trepidation when I’m asking for something for someone else – healing, peace etc. I pray that I’m heard and that even if I don’t akways get what I think I need I’ll still have enough.



  2. Loretta, this poem-prayer grew out of my wrestling with my ongoing prayer life and searching for and finding the “right” words – those that communicate my soul’s longing for God and those that capture my deepest yearnings. As I pondered more Jesus’ word about abiding in him and that, so doing, asking for whatever I desire (once transformed through abiding in him) would find that it would be granted (makes sense that God would bestow the fruit of my desiring the divine will), the more I saw (see!) that having God’s will at the heart of my prayers, aye, in my heart, IS the only prayer language I need (even if I don’t have audible or even silent human words!)! Well, at least, this is where I’ve come today. Who knows (God knows!) where I might run and end up as I continue to ponder this.



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