Tuesday, September 8, 2015
6 Ways to Pray for Writers (For All Non-Writing Friends)
Over the years, a lot of people have prayed for me as a writer. I can't express how grateful I've been. They've prayed for wisdom, courage, being able to meet deadlines, and that I would pretty please find that proposal that I lost somewhere on the computer. They've rejoiced over answers to prayer, hugged me while I wept, and texted smiley-faces when I reached another finish line.
Sometimes, I asked them to pray for me because I couldn't pray for myself. I was so exhausted, worried, or focused that I knew I needed that outside prayer intercession from someone not in the thick of the fight.
It's been amazing.
In this series, I'm endeavoring to explain the writing process to non-writers. We've talked about questions writers like and don't like, as well as the writing process and how you as a non-writer can help. Today, I want to talk about a simple yet vital part of the writing life: writers need prayer. And even if you're not a writer, there are lots of ways you can pray for them. One simple way is to email them and ask. They'll always have something. But if that's a bit scary, I have six requests here to get you started that every writer will appreciate.
1. Pray that they would make Jesus the reason for their work.
I started my book when I was 15, just having a good time and wanting to have a lot of fun with some characters. I don't even remember when the dream of publication came, or why. Most days I'm not sitting down thinking how I can bring the Kingdom of God to its full fruition by my little book. I'm just doing the best I can to write something that people will deeply love.
But in spite of that, I want my work to be God-glorifying. God intentional. It may not have begun with a blinding vision on the road to Tarsus. It was just always there, stories and me, and I'm growing into a realization of how God is bringing my two loves--stories and Jesus--into one focus. I've always taken comfort in the fact, that even though I don't always know what I'm doing, I can trace his hand of guidance throughout the whole process, answering prayers again and again.
In light of that, this prayer would be good for any writer--that the Lord would bring them to a realization that He is beginning, center, and end of their work.
2. Pray that they would write stories that honor the Lord and bless his people.
Some writers come to their book with a specific message they want to teach: bringing awareness to sex trafficking, or foster homes, or church splits, or family brokenness. Some writers just want to write a good story and join the other literature they already know and love. Both kinds of writing can honor God and bless his people.
But writing has a challenging side: every time a writer starts a new story, they try to include something fresh and new. Sometimes that fresh and new pushes the boundaries of wisdom to including risky plot lines for the sake of excitement. It's a temptation every author faces. I just wrote a short story in which I removed one plot line, because I didn't feel that it would bless the audience intended to receive it. So pray that as you friend writes, they would always, always have the glory of the Lord and the edification of his people as their main focus.
3. Pray that they would persevere through the difficulties of achieving technical excellence.
Writing takes time to perfect. Neither fiction nor nonfiction is simple. There are rules, skills, art--not only grammatically, but also structurally. There is no shortcut. Writing takes time logging in hours doing it, sometimes getting things right, sometimes getting things wrong--learning new skills and putting them to use the next time. Then there are the skills of networking and publication, a whole new ball game. Most writers bail out before they get to the end. They're not willing to put that much work into it. If you have a gifted friend with a strong writing vision, pray that they would grow and endure through the learning process.
4. Pray that they would find vibrant writing community to nurture and mentor them.
Writing is a specific skill set that requires specific teaching and encouragement. Encouragement can be found from outsiders, but even so, encouragement from someone who has experienced the difficulties writers face is vital too. Not all writing communities are the same. Some are for non-Christians, some for Christians. Some are for non-fiction, some for fiction. Some contain mixed ages, and some are age-segregated. Pray that your writer friend could find a good niche; some deep kindred spirits to swap encouragement and advice along the way. Pray that they could find a writing mentor who's further down the road and can offer them good direction. I know personally that's something I'm still looking for.
5. Pray that the Lord would open the right doors at the right time for publication.
Publication is not an easy road. There are a lot of technical documents that have to be put together in a professional way. You have to meet the right people--sometimes paying a lot of money to do so. You wait--a lot. You try to explain to everyone who knows you write why you're waiting. It's hard.
Pray for patience for your friend--that the Lord would help them to be faithful and trust, even when they don't know how long it will take. Pray for favor in the eyes of agents and editors as their work goes before publication boards. Pray that the Lord would open the door at just the right time--whether that's sooner than later or down the road.
6. Pray that they would be content in the writing season the Lord wants them in.
Writing has different seasons. Some writers are ready for the career--to be published. Other writers use pen and paper for personal reasons--to grow spiritually and work out some things in their life that they don't intend anyone beyond friends and family to see. Sometimes the Lord calls them out of the career season into the personal season--or vice versa. Pray for your writer friend that they would discern and trust the Lord's will for them--and be obedient to his calling. Every writer grapples with content in whatever their season is. Some writers can't even think about publication yet. Others want to be published, but don't have the right connections. Others are published, but need to sell a certain number of books to get their next contract. There is always more to reach for. Pray that they would embrace the journey. The Lord's timing is good--but sometimes they might need to be reminded of that.
If you have no idea how to relate to a writer, then just a simple "How can I pray for you?" will make all the difference in the world. I can say again that I've lived on the prayers of writing and non-writing friends when I had no faith, no hope, and huge deadlines. Prayer matters. Prayer moves mountains. Thank-you from the bottom of my heart to all the prayer warriors that have lifted my writing journey to the throne of grace. Your writer friends will count it a huge blessing when you are willing to join in prayer with them.