Friday, June 10, 2022

The Lord’s Prayer for Writers (Part 3)

by Joshua J. Masters @JoshuaJMasters

The integrity of our writing relies on the integrity of our character—not the ones we create for our narratives, but the character of the one typing. For those called to the ministry of writing by God, the condition of our hearts toward sin dictates how effective our craft can be for the Kingdom.

In this series on The Lord’s Prayer for Writers, we’ve explored how we should approach God in our writing and how our relationship with Him and others will affect our writing. 
This month, we’ll look at the last line of Christ’s outline for prayer:

And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one. 
(Matthew 6:13 NLT)

And His final instructions in that passage:

“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting … Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. 
(Matthew 6:16, 18 NLT)

As we seek God in our writing, we must also seek His protection from the temptations that draw us away from His purpose in our calling.

Here are Three Things to Remember as We Pray About Our Writing: 

1. Pray to Resist Evil. 

“… Don’t let us yield to temptation.” 

You’re probably familiar with translations that read, “Lead us not into temptation,” but the rendering above is closer to the heart of the message. I think one of the most profound descriptions of temptation is found in the book of James:

And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.
James 1:13–14 (NLT)

Our temptation to sin or develop a corrupted heart comes from our own self-focused desires. For writers, that may come as competition, success, fame, sales, contracts, awards, or carving an idol out of our writing career itself.

Temptation could also come from a secret sin apart from our writing, but any sin in our lives will drastically impact the Christ-focused purpose of our craft.

This line in the Lord’s Prayer, “Don’t let us yield to temptation,” is an acknowledgment that we’re unable to overcome those desires on our own and a plea for God to intervene. 

Despite our good intentions, the thing we most desire will influence our writing—it will become the subtext for every word we pen. So, we must be sure that desire is for Christ.

Ask God to show you how to escape your temptations, as He promises in 1 Corinthians 10:13, and then give you the strength to follow that path.

2. Pray to Rely on God for Protection. 

“But deliver us from the evil one.” 

For our writing to be Christ-focused, we need rescue—not only from our own selfish desires, but from the lies of the enemy.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “After a man is converted and has received forgiveness of sins, soon he will be tempted by the devil, for Satan cannot bear to lose his subjects. And when Satan sees someone cross the border and escape out of his hand, he gathers up all his forces and exercises all his cunning that he may slay him at once” (The Spurgeon Study Bible, Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017).

The enemy can’t steal your salvation, but he can certainly impede your impact for the Kingdom. If you allow him to, Satan will turn your writing into a pool of selfishness and self-doubt. He’ll convince you that your art is a scepter to promote your own worship rather than a sacrifice to worship Christ. He’ll weave the grammar of false motives between every word you write.

He is the enemy, and he’s cunning. So, we must pray for God’s rescue, “Deliver us from the evil one.” Ask God to reveal Satan’s tactics as He draws you closer to Him. 

3. Pray and Fast to Reveal His Voice and Blessings. 

“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do… And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”

Jesus concludes his teaching on prayer by reminding the disciples how to fast as they pray. Have you made fasting a regular part of your writing career? A lot of Christians believe fasting is reserved for the super-spiritual. But look at the words Jesus used.

He said, “WHEN you fast…” 

Not, “If you want to fast,” not “if you decide to fast” but “When you fast.”

Jesus expected this to be a regular part of our relationship with Him. Every believer.

That’s because fasting is a form of worship that surrenders our desires and our bodies to God. It’s an intentional devotion to Him—a time set aside to abstain from food so we can better connect with Him and put His glory above our comfort. 

Fasting is a sacrifice of worship that removes the distractions of this world and allows us to hear His voice.

Isn’t that exactly what we need if we’re going to reflect His voice in our writing?

A focused connection to God through fasting will open our ears to His direction, reveal the temptations in our way, thwart the lies of the enemy, and strengthen the integrity of our writing.

If you’ve never fasted, I encourage you to review the article and podcast series, Fasting: What Christians Should Know, to help you get started.

“How Do I Get God to Bless My Writing Career?”

So many Christian writers have asked this question. Well, the actual goal is for God to bless you through your writing rather than the career itself. But challenging our motives and evaluating our relationships as this prayer model teaches is the clearest path to reveal God’s purpose in our writing.

1. Evaluate How You Approach God.
In Part 1 of this series, we discussed our need to approach God with reverence, in relationship, and with resignation to His plan.

2. Evaluate Your Relationship with God and Others.
In Part 2, we learned to evaluate the condition of our relationship with God and others, seeking to reflect His grace to other people as we rely on Him to meet our needs and sanctify us.

3. Evaluate Your Motives and Stumbling Blocks.
Finally, we must seek God’s strength and protection from our own desires and the lies of our enemy through prayer and fasting.

Using the Lord’s Prayer as a guide to evaluate the heart condition behind our writing will always lead to a deeper communion with God and a more fulfilled purpose in our writing. Then, as Jesus concludes in this teaching, “… Your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”


Joshua J. Masters is a pastor, author, and speaker with a heart for encouraging others. His book on prayer, AMERICAN PSALMS, was a Serious Writer’s Book of the Decade finalist. He’s been featured on CBN Television, HIS Radio, the Light Radio Network, and worked in the film industry as a member of SAG-AFTRA performer. He is a regular teacher and speaker for large groups. A self-proclaimed sci-fi and comic book geek, Josh loves film, pop culture and is known in some circles as THE BAT PASTOR. Joshua was raised in the White Mountains of New England and now serves as a pastor in South Carolina where he lives with his wife, Gina, and their miniature poodle, FRANKLIN THE PUP, who is the subject of his latest book. Josh would love to connect with you on his website, JOSHUAJMASTERS.COM

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