We can write words, but only God can touch hearts through those words. And no matter how cleverly we craft sentences, without God’s blessing, our words are merely ink on paper. That’s why it’s important to have prayer support as we write. Prayer is a powerful tool that can impact our writing and readers. But sometimes it’s overlooked.
Several years ago I realized the need for prayer support and asked others to pray for me. If you want to plug in this incredible power tool and enlist prayer support, take these steps.
Pray First, Then List Names
Who could pray for you? Ask God. Then consider relatives, friends, church members, and fellow writers. By e-mail, you can contact people around the world.
List individuals who are mature in the faith, keep their commitments, and take an interest in your writing ministry. In Philippians 2:20 and 22 (NIV), the apostle Paul wrote about Timothy, “I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. Timothy has proved himself, because . . . he has served with me in the work of the gospel.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have someone like Timothy on your prayer team?
God provided a dozen faithful prayer warriors for me. They rejoice in my successes and encourage me during setbacks. But mainly, they pray. And that’s where the power lies—connecting with God Almighty in prayer.
Contact Potential Prayer Partners
After you’ve made a list, graciously ask these people to consider joining your prayer team. My letter of invitation began, “Dear Praying Friend. I feel an overwhelming need for prayer support in my writing. I need God’s blessing and favor. I also know the enemy is eager to discourage me and thwart plans to advance God’s Kingdom.”
Also tell them what their commitment would involve and what yours would be. But give them freedom to say no. For example, I asked my prayer team to pray for me once a week for one year. I wrote, “I know this is a sizable commitment, so please pray about it. If you can’t, that’s fine.”
In return, I promised to use my writing time wisely and send regular updates.
Send Writing Updates
Your updates could be weekly, monthly, or as needed. I started with monthly e-mails, but prayer needs came up more often. Now I aim for weekly contact.
In your updates, start with answered prayers. I call this section “Give thanks” and list ways God helped me and blessed my writing. Sharing answers gives God glory and motivates my team to keep praying. One member recently wrote, “I’m blessed to be part of your team. I get to share in a fraction of the action of lives touched through your writing.”
Also, God values a grateful heart. Do you recall the story of the 10 lepers Jesus healed? When only one returned to thank him, Jesus sorrowfully asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?” (Luke 17:17 NIV).
I desire to be like the leper who returned to thank God. To help me remember what God did, I print out my updates and put them in a notebook. Each week I look back at previous requests and include answers in the current update. There are numerous ways to record God’s answers, so choose one that works for you.
After my “Give thanks” section, the “Please pray” portion follows with five or six requests. I list specific writing, speaking, and teaching needs and may include requests for editors, publishers, and readers.
Besides thanking God for your prayer team, it’s also important to thank them for praying. I often begin updates with, “Thank you for praying.” Then at the end I might add, “Your prayers are a real gift to me,” or “I couldn’t do this without your prayer support.”
In addition to thanking them in e-mail messages, occasionally I send thank-you notes or small gifts, such as a bookmark, by regular mail. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentines Day are good times to mail cards with a personal note. If your prayer team prays for you throughout the writing of a book, list their names in the acknowledgments page and offer them a free copy.
Also, don’t assume the prayer warriors will pray forever. Though most of my team has prayed for years, I ask them each year if they wish to continue.
Return the Favor
We’re not the only ones who need prayer. Pray for your prayer team and other writers. If another writer asks you for prayer support, if at all possible say yes. And as you send updates to your prayer team, sometimes include a written prayer for them. It can be as short as this prayer based on Nehemiah 8:10: “May the joy of the Lord be your strength.”
Prayer is a high calling. Right now “Christ Jesus . . . is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34 NIV). What a privilege to follow his example and pray for others.
Reap the Benefits
I’m grateful God nudged me to form a prayer team. They have prayed for me through joy and tears, through rejections and acceptances, and through writing a lengthy Bible study for grandparents. Now they support me as I speak to promote the book. Their support not only motivates me to write and persevere, but it also gives me courage to tackle God-sized projects I couldn’t accomplish alone. Their prayers have truly blessed me in countless ways.
If you don’t already have a prayer team, I encourage you to follow these steps and tap into this divine source of power. Then watch God work through prayer!
Lydia E. Harris has accumulated hundreds of bylines by writing book reviews, devotionals, columns, recipes, articles, and personal experience stories for publications such as Advanced Christian Writer, Mature Years, and Focus on the Family magazines. Her book, Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting, is a six-week Bible study for grandparents at any stage of the journey. Visit her Web site and grandparenting blog at www.PreparingMyHeart.net. She attributes her published credits to the prayers of others.
Linda Apple is the author of Writing From Your Soul, Writing Life ~ Your Stories Matter, Connect ~ A Simple Guide to Public Speaking for Writers, POW; Promises Kept and Women Of Washington Avenue, her debut novel and the first book in her Moonlight Mississippi series. Her personal experience stories have been published in 16 of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her devotions have been published in numerous devotion magazines and books. She lives in Fayetteville Arkansas with her husband, Neal, their five children, five children-in-love, and ten grandchildren.
Jody Bailey Day writes inspirational fiction from west Texas. Her debut novel, Washout Express, released June 2013 from Harbourlight Books. Her short stories, poems, devotionals, and articles have appeared in Mature Living, Splickety Magazine, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Southern Writers Magazine, and Christiandevotions.us, She is a two time Grand Prize Winner at the East Texas Christian Writers Conference, and a Faithwriters.com Best of the Best award winner. She and her pastor husband have six grown children and nine grandchildren.
Deborah Dee Harper writes from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, by way of Michigan, Kentucky, Alaska, Mississippi, and Alaska (again). Deb is a graduate of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild classes and writes Christian humorous and inspirational books for both children and adults. Her children’s adventure series, Laramie on the Lam, available in both e-book and print, is being re-published as six individual print books. Her Road’s End series (Misstep, Faux Pas, and Misjudge) for adults is also contracted and should be published soon. She is currently nearing completion on the first book of another series. She is represented by Terry Burns of Hartline Literary Agency.
Lisa Lickel is an award-winning multi-published inspirational novelist, blogger, reviewer, and writing mentor. A freelance editor, Lisa loves all things historical. Her work has appeared in Writer's Digest and Christian Fiction Online.
Liberty Speidel has been a voracious reader since reading her first Nancy Drew book. But she was telling stories long before then with her figurines from Disney's Rescue Rangers. When she's not writing, you may find her gardening, baking, crocheting, or hiking. A lifelong Kansan, she now resides in the Kansas City metro area with her husband, children, and chocolate Labrador, where she could rival Captain Jean Luc Picard in consumption of Earl Grey tea. She is the author of Emergence, Retaliation, and Capitulation, novellas and novels in her series featuring superhuman and police detective Darby Shaw.
Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he earned a PhD in English literature (Renaissance) and for eighteen years taught literature at two liberal arts colleges. His poetry has appeared in leading journals and is collected in his book Dust and Diamond: Poems of Earth and Beyond.His fiction includes a light-hearted mystery, Rhapsody in Red, and two suspense novels, Deadly Addictive and The Lazarus File, and a historical romance, Lightning on a Quiet Night. He is a frequent speaker at writers’ groups and conferences. He lives near Houston, TX, where he continues to write fiction and poetry, as well as essays on writing, ethical issues, and U.S. foreign policy.
Editor/Author Linda Yezak lives with her husband in a forest in east Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She is a speaker/lecturer for various writers' groups and conferences. Her fiction books include Give the Lady a Ride, The Simulacrum, and The Cat Lady's Secret. Her nonfiction books include Writing in Obedience, co-written with Hartline Literary agent Terry Burns.
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