Thursday, October 4, 2018

Ancient Words to Inspire Writers

 by Lynn Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn
In these posts, I often recommend books on the craft of writing. But this month, I want to recommend a book to you that isn’t about the craft, but that I think could be quite meaningful to you in your life as a writer and creative.

The book is Every Moment Holy by Douglas Kaine McKelvey. I didn’t grow up in a faith tradition that included liturgies, but I have always been drawn to ancient words. To creeds and prayers that have been repeated by the saints for centuries. It’s not that I believe God hears them any more than He hears my petitions in modern-day, American and very southern English, but I love the history of them and the sense of connection to believers who have gone on before.

So earlier this year when I came across a post over at The Rabbit Room entitled A Liturgy for Fiction Writers, I was intrigued.

While the liturgy is specifically for fiction writers, I suspect that writers of any stripe will find the words moving. Here’s brief sample (you can read the entire liturgy at the link above):

Take these my small offerings.
Take and multiply them into a story that might stir or salve,
that might shape or strengthen, that might name hidden wounds
or secret hopes, that might open hearts to your mysteries.
May your Holy Spirit meet me in the process of creation,
for even as you called into being all things from nothing,
so would I now step into the nothingness of an empty page,
trusting that your Spirit might be manifest in this act of
faith and stewardship. 

Sometimes, we need other people to put into words what we know, but have never articulated ourselves and this liturgy, along with many others in Every Moment Holy does that in a beautiful and sacred way.

There are liturgies for laundry days and first responders. Liturgies to read before taking the stage or after changing a diaper. Because really, every moment is holy, but far too often, we just see these things as mundane (and I say this as someone who has been changing diapers for over fifteen years…it’s hard to find the holy there…but it’s there!)

I enjoyed flipping through this beautiful volume (it really is gorgeous), reading and praying different liturgies at random, but this summer when I was paralyzed by the fear that I was never going to be able to write another story (I know I’m not the only one who experiences this!) it was the Liturgy for Those Fearing Failure that I found myself reading and praying out loud, over and over again. In fact, it is this one that the red ribbon bookmark leads me to most often. 

Then let my fears of failure drive me,
Oh Lord, to collapse here upon your
strong shoulders, and here to rest,
reminded again that I and all of your
children are always utterly dependent upon 
you to bring to completion, in and through 
us, the good works which you have prepared 
beforehand for us to do. It is not my own
work that is before me now, but yours!
Indeed Christian, take heart in this revelation!
The outcomes of your labors were never in your
hands, but in God’s. You have but one task:
to be faithful.
I recently submitted what, Lord willing, will be my fifth published novel. For me, writing books is a profoundly sanctifying experience and I’m more convinced than ever of my deep need for the guidance and direction of the Creator. The liturgies in Every Moment Holy continue to draw me ever closer to the One who gives me both the desire and the ability to do what I do. 
I’m confident they will have the same effect on you. 
So how about you? 
Did you grow up in a liturgical tradition? Are liturgies new to you?
Let’s talk about it in the comments.
Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Grace and peace,


Lynn H. Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She lives in South Carolina with her true love, Brian, and their three children. Her new Dive Team Investigations series kicked off in March of 2018 with Beneath the Surface. The second book in the series, In Too Deep, releases in November of 2018 with the third book to follow in 2019. She is also the author of Hidden Legacy and Covert Justice which won the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. You can follow her real life happily ever after at WWW.LYNNHBLACKBURN.COM and on FACEBOOKTWITTERPINTEREST, and INSTAGRAM.


  1. Ms. Lynn. I've just added another to my "Must Read" list. Thank you so much for sharing this inspiring post ma'am. I loved the way you referred to us as "writers and creatives." I've never considered myself a creative; you've shown me I am in my own special God-inspired way. God's blessings this day ma'am.

    1. If nothing else, Jim, you are a creative in the way you encourage the writers each day, and inspire joy and comfort in us readers.

  2. Lyn, The liturgy you used as an example is beautiful and freeing, as we often stress thinking so much depends on us when we put words to the page.I plan to get the book. Thank you.

  3. I have not had much experience with liturgies either, but you expressed it well. I feel inadequate at times to put into words my deepest feelings.

  4. Great recommendation, Lynn! Thank you.

  5. I love these! Thanks so much for sharing. Your statement here also resonated with me: "Sometimes, we need other people to put into words what we know, but have never articulated ourselves."