The proper use of the vocal organs will bring benefit to the physical health and increase the usefulness and influence [of Christ’s followers]. It is through falling into bad habits of speech that people become tedious readers and speakers, but those who are looked upon as intelligent enough to become missionary workers or to transact business ought to have intelligence enough to reform in their manner of speaking. By judicious exercise they may expand the chest and strengthen the muscles. By giving heed to proper instruction, by following health principles in regard to the expansion of the lungs and the culture of the voice, our young men and women may become speakers who can be heard; and the exercise necessary for this accomplishment will prolong life.
If those who have defects in their manner of utterance will submit to criticism and correction, they may overcome these defects. They should perseveringly practice speaking in a low, distinct tone, exercising the abdominal muscles in deep breathing, and making the throat the channel of communication. Many speak in a rapid way, and in a high, unnatural key. Such a practice will injure the throat and lungs. As a result of continual abuse, the weak, inflamed organs will become diseased, and consumption [tuberculosis] may result.
RIGHT USE OF ABDOMINAL MUSCLES
Voice culture is a subject that has much to do with the health of students. The youth should be taught how to breathe properly, and how to read in such a way that no unnatural strain shall come on the throat and lungs, but that the work shall be shared by the abdominal muscles. Speaking from the throat, letting the sound come from the upper part of the vocal organs, impairs the health of these organs and decreases their efficiency. The abdominal muscles are to do the heaviest part of the labor, the throat being used as a channel. Many have died who might have lived had they been taught how to use the voice correctly. The right use of the abdominal muscles in reading and speaking will prove a remedy for many voice and chest difficulties, and the means of prolonging life.
PRESERVATION OF STRENGTH IN PRAYER
I saw that some of our ministers do not understand how to preserve their strength so as to be able to perform the greatest amount of labor without exhaustion. Ministers should not pray so loud and long as to exhaust their strength. It is not necessary to weary the throat and lungs in prayer. God’s ear is ever open to hear the heartfelt petitions of His humble servants, and He does not require them to wear out the organs of speech in addressing Him. It is the perfect trust, the firm reliance, the steady claiming of the promises of God, the simple faith that He is, and that He is a rewarder of all those who diligently seek Him, that prevails with God.
This article is excerpted from the book The Voice in Speech and Song, pp. 195, 196 by Ellen G. White.