There’s an old story about a priest celebrating his 50th Anniversary of Ordination. For this occasion, he had invited his personal friend to come and recite his favourite Psalm 23. The friend agreed to do this on the condition that the priest would also recite it after him. At the appointed time, the friend stood and proclaimed the popular psalm with such oratorical mastery that the congregation immediately applauded.

And then this humble pastor stood up and began to recite, from heart, this beloved Psalm. After he had finished his not nearly so professional recitation, the congregation was in awe, and some moved to tears. Someone in the front pew with the friend leaned over and asked him, “Why did people loudly applaud you and yet were silently moved by the pastor?” He replied, “Because I know the Psalm, but he knows the Shepherd.” This is a classic piece on utterance and oratory.

Friend, there is a difference between utterance and oratory. One is prophetic, and the other is professional (Job 32:6-8). While it is good to be professional, you need to first be prophetic. Being professional without being prophetic is just playing to the gallery. Ministry is not performance. Life is not a fanfare.

Utterance is borne out of intimacy with God, oratory is acquired through study (Acts 4:13). Utterance is speaking for God, oratory is speaking for self and from self (Isaiah 6:6-9). Utterance is a grace, oratory is an education. When you operate from the realm of utterance, your words would make eternal imprints on the hearts of men (Acts 2:37).

Whether on the pulpit as a pastor, in the boardroom as an executive, on the negotiation table as a businessman, or in everyday conversations, you need to be a man of utterance, not just oratory. When God gives you utterance, you speak a word in season. Your words are timely and weighty (Colossians 4:6). A few words spoken out of utterance will do more than many words spoken just by oratory (Job 6:25).

A man of utterance prioritises hearing from God. You cannot speak for God unless you have heard from God (Isaiah 50:4). While it is good to enrol in school of public speaking, enrolling in the school of private hearing is priceless. Indeed, we need to be swift to hear but slow to speak (James 1:19). This is how we get the tongue of the learned.

One of the assignments of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to give us utterance (Acts 2:4). It is not only an utterance to speak with tongues but also utterance to speak with men and get the right results. You need to speak for results, not just applauds. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Let Him direct your words and conversations (Luke 21:15). Speak with utterance.

‘Demola Awoyele
Lead Pastor,
Destiny Impact Church
Akure, Nigeria