January 1937


Nagpur [India]

GOD, I want to give You every minute of this year. I shall try to keep You in mind every moment of my waking hours. I shall try to let my hand write what You direct. I shall try to let You be the speaker and direct every word. I shall try to let You direct my acts. I shall try to learn Your language as it was taught by Jesus and all others through whom you speak — in beauty and singing birds and cool breezes, in radiant Christlike faces, in sacrifices and in tears. It will cost not only much, but everything that conflicts with this resolve. 



GOD, since every minute this year is to be directed by You, I must learn Your language. I must study Your full vocabulary. What I hear and see and feel today that would have been meaningless yesterday must now reveal Your meaning. A pain in my left arm and occasionally over my heart are Your voice saying that there are no minutes to be wasted away from You. I am surprised at miracles which seem already to be happening. Meeting with Agatha Harrison and Mrs. Carl Heath seems to be a miracle. They will introduce me to the women’s organizations of India and to the Indian Congress through Nehru. Take heed how ye hear.”



GOD, waiting for this motor to start, surrounded by people who are waiting for motors and talking in an unknown tongue, what are You saying? If I try to hear You in all this sound and color, I am as bewildered as when I try to understand these men and women speaking Hindi. Perhaps I shall one day understand both You and them. In all this crowd I found only one interpreter to tell me how much to pay. Do I need an interpreter for Your language? O Christ, Your lovely words, Your lovely deeds are not beyond my understanding. And when I think of You, Your love begins to burn in my heart. I must be like You, seeking need and trying to help every minute. I have tried in vain to know why need exists. But this I know and it is enough: that I must seek need, and love and help. 


Baroda Bazaar

GOD, if You rule every movement, You will be inside my eyes directing them. The eyes are the windows of the soul. If You are in my eyes, men will see You there and call You Love. Then my life will be love with a picture of Christ in the center; Christ bearing a cross and wearing thorns, and with anguish in His heart. That love will bless everybody and harm nobody. As my hostess read the Bible and prayed, I heard You speaking this morning. She was the channel broadcasting Your words. I shall try to listen for Your speaking through the language of men, especially men who are trying to do Your will. 


Baroda Bazaar

GOD, teach me how to hold on to You when thronged by people who are interested in other subjects more than in You. Help me today to increase my knowledge of Your vocabulary. As we have to learn a few words each day, what will these new words be today? Over three hundred and thirty million who cannot read are calling for help. Need is Your language, is a word from You. How to approach this problem is baffling. Unsolved problems are Your language, for in them You are our schoolmaster training us to be Your children. I thank You for the call to share a real need with You. You teach by the project method! 


Baroda Bazaar

GOD, this prayer calendar says, We sometimes fail because we imagine God is not interested in the little things. We are bidden to take everything to God.” That would mean every movement of the hand. I have found, of late, that I write better if I ask You to flow through my hand. I have found that if I pray when I have lost something, You usually guide me straight to it. Not always, but I think whenever necessary. This seeking to learn Your vocabulary seems to be the clue! Every hour is new evidence that You are trying through the language of men, especially men who are trying to do Your will.


Baroda Bazaar

GOD, this going in search of Your vocabulary promises to open a whole world of new vision. I have a little book in my pocket to record Your words as they come to me all day long, just as I might learn any language. Yesterday I heard You speak and saw You write in conscience, pain, loneliness, the breeze, a woven mat. These said, Cooperate with God.” A half-naked child, the blue heaven, a slow carabao, memories of early life (the past is Your voice); my dead friends, especially my father who passed over last year but seems to be here; poor eyes, failures, dreams, two mottoes on the walls, the silence, piano music, the radio, rippling water, a radiant smile of love — these, too, are words God spoke. 


Baroda Bazaar

GOD, we often open doors and find we have stepped into heaven. Last night I asked the Königs for piano music because I had heard the children playing. Mr. and Mrs. König played Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony as I had never heard it before. Every note was Your music for me. We find You by opening the right doors. Evidently this experiment in keeping You every moment in mind is not new. The prayer calendar this morning says: We ought, in the secret of our hearts, to be communing with God, our Father, all day long, hearing His voice, asking His guidance.” As we advance in acquaintance with God, we shall have more of the spirit of little children — putting all our trust in Him.

Taken from Learning the Vocabulary of God, by Frank Charles Laubach.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Text First Published January 1956 · Last Featured on Renovare.org February 2023