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Prayer and Setting

My professor and Madeleine L’Engle talk a lot about praying for one’s work, that then one can serve the work and the work becomes bigger than the writer. I didn’t really understand what this meant. I had prayed for my stories in the past and that seemed like a natural idea to me, especially since I try to talk explicitly about faith in most of my writing. Serving the work was a little confusing, but it seemed to reminisce of those times when I would be writing and inspiration would strike and I would write for hours more. Thinking about my book idea, I knew it could be bigger than me, but I also knew it was nowhere near that stage yet.

Two nights ago, I realized that in the two years I had been turning this book idea over in my mind, I had never prayed about it. I was stuck with a main conflict, a connecting theme, a list of characters, and two introductory chapters that I hated. I could write a more convincing section on the father than on the two main characters, but I knew it wasn’t his story. Hence the reason I decided to work from the middle out for Practicum: if I knew how Dawson and Cadence acted in the hospital, I could reverse engineer their characters in the beginning. Even with all of that in my mind, though, the story was more hole than whole.

Two nights ago I wrote in my prayer journal for God to please use this work for His glory.

Yesterday, out of nowhere, I suddenly wondered if I should change the time period of the setting. Though this idea probably stemmed from an initial desire to avoid interviewing people (even if they were my boyfriend’s parents), I came up with two pages worth of ideas in about ten minutes. The economic recession and my firsthand knowledge of what the city was like in the late 2000s provided tension through the roof and brought the outside world in ten times better than the relative calm of the 80s. Changing the setting made the rest of the story make sense.

I know praying for God to use my writing for His glory will not magically work every time like it did yesterday. Even so, I believe that, over time, the work will be bigger than me. Thus, every baby step forward I make in this process is ultimately for His glory.


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