Sustaining words

The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. Isa. 50:4 NIV
This was my heart's desire last week--what I prayed would be reality. I was scheduled to meet with some high school students in a bunch of half hour one-on-one sessions. Yeah, things went well. Nothing spectacular, but good.
Two days later... two more afternoon appointments... This time my words were neither instructed, nor sustaining. I realized it after it was already too late.
What happened? How did I mess up so bad? And my intentions with all these young people was so good to start with.
Yet on this day I had rushed home for the appointment, happy to see the student. I did not even think to stop and ask for His guidance.
Is it a formula? Pray a prayer and then conversations will go right? Probably not. Yet maybe if I remember to pray for that reality, I might also remember to listen, and keep listening. This is something that needs ongoing focussed attention. A one-time prayer is not enough.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Eph 4:29, NIV)

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