Sunday, May 5, 2019

The Spiritual Practice of Writing Tight

by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone? (Ecclesiastes 6:11)

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge (Psalm 62:8).

There is much we can learn from the spiritual practice of writing tight.

With my words, I speak to people and I speak to God.

Wise King Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, understood that too many words reduce the meaning and profit of our message. The word anyonein Ecclesiastes 6:11 means humanity in a collective sense (Strong’s Concordance, ādām132).This passage teaches us how to speak to people.

To people, I am wise to measure my words carefully. The best place to measure them is before God.

But First Pour Out

Solomon’s father, David, was known for his effusive words to God. It was he who wrote Psalm 62. The Hebrew word sāpak, to pour out, means metaphorically to bare one’s soul(Strong, sāpak, 9161). I don’t know about you, but as a writer, my soul is full of words. To bare my soul is to spill them all out.

To God, who knows my thoughts, I may pour out my heart.

Pouring out my heart’s words first to my Lord serves as a filter and guide for my words to people.

Some people journal, others pray, some sing their words to God. King David did all of these. No matter how you bare your soul, bare it to God. Dump it all without embarrassment. Let Him have your words first. With gentleness and mercy, He will refine them and prepare you to share with others. In the privacy of conversation with Him, allow God to remove the excess.

Focus is Key

As you bring your words to others, remember your focus. The focus of the Christian writer is to bring glory to God. Focus is key to the spiritual practice of writing tight.

Remember the Plot

Your story is part of God’s greater story. The plot of His story takes us from the fall of humanity to its restoration through the death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah.

The tricky bit about God’s story is that it is still being written. Our story, our words, must always reflect the plot: God’s pursuing, rescuing love for people. He is still writing His story in all our lives.

Consider Your Characters

God has entrusted you with words for others. In His grand design, we are all characters in His narrative. Consider your readers carefully. Ask God to give you insight and compassion to write clearly and effectively. Depend on Him to fill your words with life.

Keep Practicing

The poetic among us find writing tight very difficult. I tend to relate to David in my wordy prose. But there is hope for the Davids among us. He ironically managed to get his lengthy conversations with God recorded for people to read. Because he poured out his heart to God first, David’s words were clearly counted profitable to be shared with others. 

We must keep practicing: I speak words to God, then I speak words to people. God will guide us in the spiritual practice of writing tight.

Lord, help me speak to you first, then to others. Amen.

The Spiritual Practice of Writing Tight - @AudreyCFrank on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Audrey Frank is an author, speaker, and storyteller. The stories she shares are brave and true. They give voice to those whose words are silenced by shame, the hard things in life that don’t make sense, and the losses that leave us wondering if we will survive. Audrey and her family have spent over twenty years living and working among different cultures and world views, and she has found that God’s story of redemption spans every geography and culture. He is the God of Instead, giving honor instead of shame, gladness instead of mourning, hope instead of despair. Although she has three different degrees in communication and intercultural studies, Audrey’s greatest credential is that she is known and loved by the One who made her.

Her upcoming book, Covered Glory: The Face of Honor and Shame in the Muslim World, is an outpouring of Audrey’s heart to introduce others to the God of Instead. Shame is not unique to the developing world, the plight of the women behind veils, young girls trafficked across borders; shame is lurking in hearts everywhere. Through powerful stories from women around the world, Covered Glory illuminates the power of the Gospel to remove shame, giving honor instead. Available for pre-order now at

You can also find Audrey at, as well as on Twitter and Facebook


  1. Well said author! God's blessings.

    1. Haha, thank you JD. Not sure I could teach a class on writing tight, but spriritually speaking, I'm getting much better at it!

  2. Amen. Remember the focus should be on God not ourselves. :-)

    1. Hello, Melissa! It is such a tricky thing to get my mind off myself and set it on God. I wish you the best as you build this discipline in your life along with me.

  3. Audrey,
    This is lovely. And wise. And true. You have blessed me today.

    1. Thank you, Lori. I'm so glad this helped. I am still working on it every day. At least writing gives me pause to think and seek Him before "speaking" on the page. One more reason I love to write.

  4. Thought-provoking and well said. Thanks, Audrey. :)

    1. Nice to meet you, Joann! Thanks for taking time to encourage today. Blessings to you.

  5. "Pouring out my heart’s words first to my Lord serves as a filter and guide for my words to people." I love this, Audrey.

    1. I don't know about you, Ellen, but I sure do need that filter. Thanks for encouraging me today! Happy writing to you.