Why is it important to ask God to set a guard over your mouth?
In Psalm 141 we read David praying to the Lord to be kept from wickedness. In verse three he asked God for something we ought to ask as well:
"Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips." (Psalm 141:3)
Why would David pray such a prayer? Why should we pray this and ask God to keep watch over our lips as well?
A powerful and dangerous thing
We can fall into the habit of belittling the power of the tongue. We so often speak carelessly at times, saying things we will later regret.
The Bible warns us of the power of the tongue:
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit." (Proverbs 18:21)
"Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God." (James 3:4-9)
We who have been called by God to be His ambassadors should know that our words bear great weight, and should be very, very careful with the words we allow to come out of our mouths:
"Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: "Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant."" (Jeremiah 1:9-10)
Be careful with your tongue
These verses alone warn us of the importance of having God guard our mouths.
Our words can build or destroy lives. Our words can help heal broken hearts, or break them. Our words can spell life, or even spell death.
That said, we must grow in the fear of the Lord and allow His word and His Spirit to filter every single thing we say.
After all everything we say will be used against us:
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matthew 12:35-37)