These are both Psalms of David that were written at an unspecified time.
Psalm 141 is an evening prayer for deliverance from sins that affliction tempted him into and from enemies who caused it.
Psalm 143 is the last of the seven "penitential psalms" (Psalm 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143). It is a prayer for pardon and relief from enemies. His afflictions led him into confession and repentance and asking God to lead him in His way.
In the past, I would often pray that God would "set a guard over my mouth" and "keep watch over the door of my lips" (Psalm 141:3) only to find myself caught in saying something I should not say or entering into some kind of talk that was not right in order to fit in, especially when I was younger and the "older Titus 2 women" (Titus 2:3-5) I was associated with were pretty loose with their lips and would backbite about each other (and we know that "loose lips sink ships")! I would often allow my heart to be "drawn to evil" and "take part in the evil deeds" (Psalm 141:4) of speech that did not honor God. I remember constantly having this as an application from Scripture, especially when in the book of Proverbs because it says a lot about the tongue (stay tuned, we head into Proverbs next month). I would constantly fail though!
When I went overseas, I was involved with people who were very careful with their tongues. In fact, we all agreed not to say anything to others when in conflict and go directly to the people involved. This made for a culture of peace. I knew that this kind of environment was possible. So, when we returned from overseas, we prayed for a church with a culture of peace. It took seven years for us to find one, only to find that the "ringleader" in peace at our new church was a good high school and college friend of my husband's!
I am happy to say that we have been part of this "Culture of Peace" Church since 2006, and it has made a world of difference in keeping me from sinning in this area (because we often become like the people we associate with).
Don't get me wrong, we have just as much conflict as any other group of sinners, but it is in a culture of reconciliation. In all the time we have been there, I have not once heard backbiting or gossip. Conflict is resolved directly with others or assisted by trained peacemaking coaches and mediators with the goal of love. I love it! Now that I am an "older" woman in this church, I want to be a model of that to younger women.
The Life Application Bible says this:
James wrote that "the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts" (James 3:5). On the average, the person opens his or her mouth approximately 700 times a day to speak. David wisely asked God to help keep him from speaking evil -- sometimes even as he underwent persecution. Jesus himself was silent before his accusers (Matthew 26:63). Knowing the power of the tongue, we would do well to ask God to guard what we say so that our words will bring honor to his name.May this be our prayer today!
Lord, guard our tongues today from every form of evil. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.