Friday, October 23, 2015

Do You Pray about Your Writing?

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2


“It seems easier to go to a consistent extreme than to live at the center of biblical tension.”

These wise words from Robertson McQuilkin, president emeritus of Columbia International University voice the struggle we face every day as writers—finding the balance between working and praying. Last month I challenged you that prayer (for opportunities, inspiration, book contracts) is no substitute for not working hard (Write Hard, Pray Harder). Today, I’d like to challenge you that working hard is no excuse for not praying.

I’m a Type A firstborn whose love language is acts of service. I love checking off boxes, crossing items off my To Do list, and filling my day with meaningful tasks. Action is my middle name and “Sit still,” is the most cruel request you can make of me. Many days you’ll find me standing at my computer in an effort to make writing less sedentary.

Because I’m a DO-er, I used to have difficulty sitting still long enough to pray. Then I discovered I can pray while walking, folding laundry, washing dishes . . . well, you get the picture. I also discovered that unless the Lord builds the house (and this includes my writing “house”), they labor in vain that build it (Psa. 127:1).

I noticed that the more I prayed about my writing and speaking, the more exciting things began to happen. I’d find inspiration in unexpected places. I’d connect with someone through a seemingly random set of circumstances that would bring about a writing or speaking opportunity. I’d be invited to guest blog or contribute to a website. A publication would ask to reprint one of my articles.

Instead of wasting time by praying every morning, I began to invest time in my writing and speaking ministry by bringing my needs and requests before the Lord and asking him to meet them.

Here are four ways you can pray about your writing career:
  • Before you read your Bible each morning, ask God to give you insight and understanding to apply what you’re reading to your current work in progress.
  • Keep a list of agents, editors, and publishing houses to which you or your agent has submitted your manuscript. Pray for them by name. Ask God to direct your project to the right publisher. Ask him to give the editors and agents supernatural wisdom and discernment to make the best decision about your submission. Tell God you’ll trust his direction and be willing to accept both open and closed doors as his will for your work.
  • Write a list of dreams/goals for your writing life. Don’t be afraid to dream big. James 4:2 reminds us, “You have not because you ask not.” Like a loving father, God will wisely answer each request and lend his power to your efforts.
  • Pray specifically. Two years ago, I asked the Lord to open the door for me to teach at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. In May of 2015, God answered my prayer. Now I have a list of writers’ conferences I’m praying about. Each day I pray through the list and ask God to bless the conference directors and give them wisdom to know who can minister best to their conferees.

If you feel like your writing career is going nowhere, I challenge you to give prayer a chance. I can confidently say you’ll be amazed at what happens. If you pray about your writing career, tell us about it in a comment below.

TWEETABLES


Lori Hatcher is the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine and the author of two devotional books. Her second book, Hungry for God…Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women released in December. A blogger, writing instructor, and women’s ministry speaker, her goal is to help women connect with God in the craziness of life. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God…Starving for Time. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter (@LoriHatcher2), or Pinterest (Hungry for God).

17 comments:

  1. Great reminder Lori that everything in our lives should be prayed over. Sometimes we focus too much on what we need to do instead of resting in the hands of the one who knows how to do it. Thanks your encouragement.

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    1. You're right, Barbara. It's a difficult balance, but a necessary one for God to get the glory. Pray on!

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  2. Thank you Lori. I pray for inspiration before I write. Also when I send information to an agent or publisher. You gave me new ways to think about how to pray for my writing. God's blessings.

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    1. It's amazing, Jann, how many ways we can surrender our writing life over to God--every step of the way. Blessings to you!

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  3. Yes, I have a prayer team for my first book. I pray an acrostic for the word WRITE. I will share it with you sometime. I pray for all of you and your writing. God has called me to intercede for all my writing friends. We write for His glory. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. That's brilliant, Cherrilynn. Covered in prayer from pitch to publication. I know God will honor that.

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  4. From someone else who likes to check boxes, thanks for the list. Focused prayer!

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    1. Oh where would we be without our boxes? Lord, bless them and use them for your glory!

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  5. Amen and amen! Great post, Lori! :)

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  6. Thank you, Lori. I'm definitely going to incorporate the 4 ways to pray into my morning devotion time.

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    1. Henry, you'll be amazed at the thoughts and inspiration that follow focused, seeking prayer like this. May God's thoughts flow over into your writing.

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  7. I had a prayer warrior for my first Bible study. Every Monday morning - and any time in between if needed, she and I prayed for the work ahead for that week. Then, after a few years when life demanded all my energy, I began working on my second one. This one isn't as intense and I didn't continue the appointments with my prayer warrior. Many mornings I jump out of bed with ideas scrambling around in my head and go straight to my computer to get them down before they disappear.

    It wasn't long before my writing hit a long dry spell. Thoughts stopped coming and what I did write I usually deleted the next day. Finally - I'm stubborn - I realized that prayer had taken a back seat. How can I possibly write Bible studies without time at the Teacher's feet? Seems obvious, doesn't it.

    Now, I'm restructuring my day to have time with God first. During the day, when I run into a rough patch, I pull aside for a few minutes. Writing's still not easy but, with Him, it's a challenge I can handle.

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    1. What a great testimony of the power of prayer. Thank you so much for sharing it. It's a reminder for all of us of how God enables us when we ask him. Blessings on book 2!

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  8. This is a beautiful and encouraging post. I think you nailed me on sometimes rushing through my morning time with God. He is my first priority, but it's so easy to worry about where I am in my writing journey. Thanks for sharing ways to pray!

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    1. Oh, Jackie, if you only knew how daily a struggle it is for me to go to him first rather than just jumping into my writing day. But investing time in prayer is always the best way to begin. I never regret taking time to pray, but often regret it when I don't.

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