Prakhun is Thai for grace.
And I am totally blown away with the beauty of this word.
I personally find languages to be captivating. I perceive them as an intimate expression of God’s inexhaustible creativity. While I may feel God’s embrace as displayed in nature, I see and hear God in the languages of different cultures. God’s presence is palpable as people of diverse origins uniquely use their languages in their interactions.
To me, the pulse of a culture is felt in the way its people communicate with words. I believe that for each culture to develop its own system of reading, writing, and speaking is unquestionably God’s doing. The art of words, written or spoken, growing and unfolding in different dimensions with the people who use them exudes so much power and life. It is, most definitely, an illustration of the existence of a big Creator.
After moving to the States a few years ago, I started relearning Mandarin to reconnect with the other half of me (I’m half Chinese) and to heed the desire God placed in my heart to join a short-term mission trip to China in the summer of 2009. But as God called my husband and I to move to Thailand, I shifted to studying Thai. In the past year, I started learning Thai mastering its system of writing, reading, and speaking.
(No, I am not yet fluent in it, but I wish I was. One day, hopefully, I will be. I am so happy to say, though, that I am now in the upper beginner level of this language.)
I, not only thoroughly enjoy learning this language, but also revel in its personality as reflected in the way Thai people daily mesh with each other. It is an exquisite language, a hard one to learn with all its nuances and complexities, but an exquisite one nonetheless.
One of the first words I learned in Thai is Prakhun, written พระคุณ. When I understood more about the Thai language and learned how to write in it, God showed me the elegance of this word. Prakhun is a combination of two words — Pra and Khun.
Pra (written, พระ) is a title or prefix word used with a most revered person, place, or object. It means royal. Pra is usually found in the Thai royal language to address nobility or God.
(Jesus in Thai is PraYesu, which when literally translated means “Royal Jesus.” Indeed, He is royalty!)
Khun (written, คุณ) means you, your. It is most often used as a title of respect as in Mr., Ms., or Mrs. You will hear most of the Thais address people with this word followed by the name of the person.
(Okay, I seriously sound like someone giving a lecture on the Thai language. But bear with me.)
When these two words are put together, we form the word Prakhun meaning grace. Literally translated, it means “Royal You.”
The moment I saw this, my spirit literally jumped in excitement. God was written all over that quick period of realization.
Royal. You. Grace.
God plainly showed me from this simple word that by becoming His child He has granted me royal position I do not deserve. Prakhun paints this grand picture of God taking-off His robe and putting it on us — His children. This is something we are certainly not entitled to, yet He does anyway.
Prakhun is not only a word for grace but a portrait of God’s grace granting us the name of His sons and daughters. It is Him saying to me, “You are royalty.” It is Him saying to His church, “You are royalty.” I am once again reminded that grace is getting from God what I don’t deserve and that the depth of His grace is unfathomable.
With the revelation in this seemingly ordinary word, I was filled with so much gratitude; I was simply overjoyed. God shows up in some of the most unlikely places or words that I encounter. I get so caught up with my own world and self-centeredness; that a lot of times, I am astounded with the truth that God actually longs to speak to me, to tell me that He loves me, and to shift my attention to Him. Most of His gestures are the simplest of things that daily occur.
Learning about Prakhun was one of those sweet God gestures for me. He spoke! I am so glad that I recognized it.
Prakhun is Thai for grace. Prakhun is Thai for God saying to His children, “You are royalty.” I hope that you see the significance of this declaration. God is essentially announcing to the world in this word that we are part of His family; that by giving us grace, He has clothed us with His righteousness.
He has covered us with His royal robe.
We ought to live as sons and daughters of the most High King!
August 11, 2013
© 2013 Kezia Lewis. All Rights Reserved.