Prayer and the Christian Writer

I’ve done a number of posts at least tangentially on the subject of prayer, but never one specific to writers.

Because in the last post I talked about fear that writers deal with, it seems appropriate to talk about prayer next. Of course, we must remember what prayer is NOT.

  • It is not a means of manipulating God to do what I want.
  • It is not a means of cashing in on God’s promises (put in my prayer and in a few days God’s answer comes via Express Mail).
  • It is not wishful thinking.

Instead, prayer for the Christian is first and foremost communication with our Creator God who loves us. He who by His omniscience knows my thoughts better than I do still wants to hear from me. In fact He has commanded that I pray.

Prayer involves the Trinity. I am to bring my requests to the Father in the Son’s name by the intercession of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer necessitates my searching out God’s will and aligning my heart accordingly.

Prayer can include requests for my needs, even my physical needs, but God can do much more than what I ask or think.

So what does this have to do with the Christian writer? I tend to think that the things we writers fear are not the things we pray about. Too often we believe that we should handle the problems within our reach … apart from God.

Perhaps we never say “apart from God,” but our small prayers about improving our writing skills, getting an agent or a contract, finishing projects on time, completing edit changes, and so on would indicate we aren’t heartily relying on God for these things that cause us to be anxious.

But what happens when we pray for a contract and one doesn’t come? Has God let us down?

Let me ask this, When Jesus prayed that the “cup” of crucifixion pass from Him, and God said no, was that a failure on God’s part?

Clearly not. Jesus didn’t “get what He wanted” … except He did. He finished His request with, Not my will but Yours be done. And the Father’s will WAS done.

Can I look at my writing the same way? This is what I’d like to see for my work, God, but do with it what pleases You. Bring the agent you want me to have; the contract you know would be best; the readers you want to touch through my writing; the opportunities to promote in a way that will glorify You, not me.

The more I learn about God and about prayer, the more I tend to think I am only whispering requests for a few of the “biggies” when He wants me to boldly call out loud regarding anything I’m concerned about.

And here’s the incredible thing. He usually does expect us to do what lies within our grasp to do.

So what does prayer change? Me. No longer am I doing what I can do in my strength. I’m trusting in God, relying on Him, and consequently giving Him the praise.

Published in: on August 6, 2010 at 9:27 am  Comments (4)  
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4 Comments

  1. Excellent, as usual. Prayer is what keeps us going. As we wait, and we receive negative responses, prayer is what keeps us praising. You are absolutely correct in that patience and prayer go hand in hand. Without prayer we won’t grow patience.

    The thing that keeps coming to me is that if publication is NOT God’s plan for me, I don’t want it. I’ve gone my own way in the past, and it has always, absolutely always, proved disastrous. If I’m going through the struggle and the writing and the rewriting for some other purpose, then thank You, Jesus. If it’s just that I’m not yet ready, and the Lord is saving me from the embarrassment of seeing my words in a poorly crafted work, then I will jump and shout and say, “Thank You, thank You.” Your purposes are always higher, Lord, and your timing always perfect.

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  2. Spot-on, Becky, and very important to remember in light of the constant fussing about what the Christian publishing community should or shouldn’t be doing. Much more appropriate to be seeking God’s will for us and our writing.

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  3. always love your posts. I have an award for you.

    http://rbclibrary.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/i-got-an-award-woo-hoo/

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  4. Beckie, thanks so much for the award and your kind words.

    Fred, I had the most recent Christian publishing community fuss in mind. I wonder how different our impact on the world might be if our FIRST move would be to pray—about anything. Plot problems, time to get it all done, relationship with the in-house publicist, improving writing skills, promoting, sales, readership, and on and on.

    We don’t have because we don’t ask, the book of James says.

    Normandie, I think you have expressed beautifully the place where God wants us. In essence we should want Him and His will more than we want a solution to our problem or an end to the troubling circumstances we want to see changed. After all, God knows, is always right, has my best at heart. Why, oh why, do I doubt His trustworthiness?

    Becky

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