A Closed Mouth and a Silent Heart

A Closed Mouth and a Silent Heart

“My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue” (Psalm 39:3).

Prayer among evangelical Christians is always in danger of degenerating into a glorified gold rush. Almost every book on prayer deals with the “get” element mainly. How to get things we want from God occupies most of the space.

Now, we gladly admit that we may ask for and receive specific gifts and benefits in answer to prayer, but we must never forget that the highest kind of prayer is never the making of requests. Prayer at its holiest moment is the entering into God to a place of such blessed union as makes miracles seem tame and remarkable answers to prayer appear something very far short of wonderful by comparison.

Holy men of soberer and quieter times than ours knew well the power of silence. David said, “My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue.”

There is a tip here for God’s modern prophets. The heart seldom gets hot while the mouth is open. A closed mouth before God and silent heart are indispensable for the reception of certain kinds of truth. No man is qualified to speak who has not first listened.

From A.W. Tozer, Set of the Sail: Directions for Your Spiritual Journey, pp. 14-15.


To consider:

  • Tozer suggests that prayer is more than speaking and asking something of God. He says it is “the entering into God to a place of such blessed union as makes miracles seem tame.” Prayer, then, is more about communion than anything else. Unfortunately, the prayer experience of many believers is essentially the expressing of a list of needs or desires. How does Tozer’s view of prayer line up with your own experience and practice?
  • In Psalm 39:3, David wrote: “My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue.” David presents a kind of ‘order’ of his prayer time here: musing before speaking. “Mused” is another word for ‘meditated’ and is rendered that way in a number of Bible translations. What is meditation to you? What part if any does it play in your own prayer time? What is it that you muse upon? What is the benefit of musing (meditating) before speaking?
  • What is the value of silence in our prayer time? What do we expect to happen when we’re quiet before the Lord? What are the challenges of being silent in prayer?




  1. Kathryn Boisvert : January 1, 2018 at 7:58 am

    I admit all my life I’ve been a very fast-paced hyper person. It is difficult for me to just sit and listen to God. But the benefit of listening to him is having a conversation just as you described. Prayer should not be only a list. As I’m any other relationship I would expect God to want to talk to me while I listen to him just like when I talk to a friend or a family member I would like them to listen to what I have to say.

  2. Prayer is a major part of my relationship/connection with the Lord. Early in my relationship with God I was concerned with telling Him everything and most of my prayer life consisted in requests. As I grew in the Lord I began to pray using God’s word as me template for conversation and meditation. Now I must admit that at first blush my motivation back then was to get a positive outcome on my request and to have my prayed answered in the affirmative. It was almost as if I never wanted to hear a, “No” from God. but as I’ve grown over the years I’ve come to realize that a healthy relationship requires some agreement and disagreement. Not that I ever want to disagree with God but sometimes I do not have to be so quick to ask for what I want necause I know that he knows what I want as well as what is best for me and my spiritual growth.

  3. I recently read a devotional that spoke of self-care. It was interesting how the writer presented it in a way that it was necessary and not selfish. I believe a private and personal prayer life is the first step to taking care of self. I sometimes reflect back on my day and wonder what I accomplished or did not accomplish during the course of the day. The devotional reminded me that in order to be able to care for others we must first care for self. Mark 6:31 reads “ come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest”. I believe that when I start my day in that quiet place thanking him and praying for my needs and the needs of others (and for wisdom) I am better equipped to tackle all that needs to be done. There is a sense of accomplishment when I rest my head at night knowing that the day went well. I find that if I give my thanks and concerns at the beginning of the day my day ends with peace.

  4. What is the value of silence? What is it to muse or mediate?
    I think of Moses, when he encountered God in the burning bush incident: how it burned, but was not consumed. How he said I will draw closer and take a closer look! Ah! that is how I see meditation, drawing nigh to God and just looking, observing, wondering with a heart of amazement. Then out of the blue as it were, you begin to discern and hear the voice of God as it were in the still small voice. Oh, to be in that special quiet place where God, our God, can do that intimate personal operation of an exchanged life–that is how I experience meditating upon God in His Word.


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