Saturday, February 5, 2011

Prayer and Writing

Refocused Blog, Take TWO!

So, a couple posts ago, I wrote that I was going to try to refocus this blog on what I originally intended for it. It took me, oh, ONE POST to forget that. My last blog was a series of what's going on in my writing and nothing more. While sometimes it's okay to write blogs like that (how else are people going to know what's going on in my writing life), I really want this blog to be something more. Yesterday's blog FAILED. Epically.

But then, the blog I wrote yesterday had lots of problems. I had this sudden surge of: OH MY GOSH! I JUST HAD THIS GREAT, THOUGH SOMEWHAT CRAZY, IDEA! LET ME GO BLOG ABOUT IT AND THEN GET TO WORK WRITING/EDITING LIKE A FAT KID AT A BUFFET! And then I wrote a blog and made a decision to go ahead and start working on several projects at once.

Problem: Did I ever once even think about stopping to pray about this decision? No. I didn't even mention God in the last blog (though I WAS thinking about mentioning God in the last blog, but I am not too sure that counts). I make these great claims about how God is breathing in me, giving me the ability and grace to write these stories. Then I jump off on a random course of action without even thinking of asking God if that's what He wants me to do.

Lately, I've been trying to include the Holy Spirit a lot more in my prayers. I've been asking God to let His Spirit guide me, help me, love through me, AND convict me. God is faithful. I've been convicted.

So this morning I DID pray, but even then, there were problems with my reasoning. I started praying, "Dear Lord, I'm going to start this project, so please inspire me and give me grace to write and write well." *insert buzzer sound here* No. Convicted again.

I was telling God what I planned to do, asking Him to come alongside me in the work that I'm doing. That's not the way it works.

The idea of prayer, I'm learning, is US coming alongside GOD in the work that HE is doing. Lots of people have said that prayer doesn't matter--even those who claim to believe in God. Why? Because God has already made up His mind about what He's going to do. I see where they're coming from because I don't believe God changes His mind either. He knows what's going to happen before it happens. But these people who don't believe in praying are cheating themselves out of something remarkable.

There's a movie I LOVE about the later life of C.S. Lewis called "Shadowlands." In this film, C. S. Lewis' character had an awesome line. "I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God; it changes me."

When we pray, we're not changing God's mind. We're asking Him to conform our minds and hearts to Him. I've learned this through a situation where some of my friends had a seriously ill child--the child almost died on more than one occasion. I prayed for them, for their child, knowing that the Lord might choose for this child to die. The knowledge that this child might die was not enough to make me want to stop praying. On the contrary, it made me pray all the harder. I knew that the only way my friends could make it through this difficult time in their lives was with God's grace. I knew that the best thing I could do for them was to keep praying that they would have strength to endure whatever happened, trusting God--all the while asking for healing for the child. Did my prayer heal the child? No. God did. But the amazing thing about the prayer was that I had this remarkable opportunity to walk through my friends' pain with them in a supernatural way. I had the opportunity to come alongside God in the work He was doing.

Prayer is amazing. It connects us with the poor widow down the street who is barely making ends meet. It connects us with the best friend who is suffering through rejection and heartache. It connects us with the missionaries and soldiers halfway across the world. Through God's gift of prayer, we're able to walk alongside those who are both far and near. It doesn't change God; it changes us. It unites us with others. It conforms our hearts and minds to God. When bad things happen, our prayer is a connection to the Lord that helps us see His will and trust His heart. When the good things happen, prayer enables us rejoice with one another and praise God for His blessing. It allows us to praise God simply because He is praiseworthy. Prayer amazes me.

And so...

My Prayer, TAKE TWO!: "Dear Lord, I have a project in mind, but I don't know if it's Your timing for me to start working on it. You know everything that's going on. So lead me to make the decision You would have me to make, and help me trust You through every step of this amazing journey. I'm going to go ahead and start writing because it's here in my hands to do, but if this isn't Your will and Your timing, then convict me of that. Let everything I write and everything I do be beneficial to others and glorifying to You."

I invite you all to come alongside me and alongside God in the work that He's doing through me and my writing. Thanks in advance for your prayers. I don't know what He's doing right now, but He's always doing something.

1 comment: