November 14, 2017

Thoughts on Praying and Writing - Ruth L. Snyder

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” 

-Martin Luther King


The longer I live, the more I realize how important prayer is, for all aspects of life. Before I get out of bed in the morning, I pray, committing the day to God. I pray as I sit down to have my daily devotions, asking God to open my eyes and teach me from His Word. As I interact with my husband and children, I often pray. When I see a beautiful sunset, I thank God.

I find it interesting that although I'm a Christian and I pray about most things, I neglected to pray about my writing for many years. In the past several years God has impressed on my heart how important it is to pray before, during, and after my writing sessions. Shelley Hitz challenges Christian writers to have a prayer team support them in their writing projects.

This year I sensed God leading me to write a 31 day devotional book about spiritual warfare. I knew I needed spiritual protection for me and my family as I wrote, so I sent out a request. I have twelve people who promised to pray for me on a regular basis. Every few weeks I send my prayer team updates and prayer requests. I know they are praying, because they check in with me. They ask me how my writing is going and send encouraging emails. What a gift!


I'm thankful that I have been able to complete the rough draft of my devotional book. I'm also grateful that over twenty beta readers agreed to read my book and give me feedback. In the next couple of weeks I will be making revisions based on the feedback I receive. Then I will send the manuscript to a professional editor. In the meantime, you can read a sample below.


Praying in the Spirit
“…Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD.”
Zecharaiah 4:6

This morning before I started writing, I cleaned stacks of paper and layers of dust off my desk. For months I have ignored the mess and focused on writing. However, sometimes clutter on my desk results in clutter in my brain. It was time to purge and clean. After I finished, I felt lighter and actually sighed in relief. Now my mind is free to focus on writing again.
In our prayer life, sometimes we are so busy praying, that we rush ahead without the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit. The result is powerless prayer. God has provided amazing access to Himself. If we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Saviour, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. “Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” Acts 2:38.
One of the tasks assigned to the Holy Spirit is to help us pray. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” It is not our job to figure out how or what to pray. We simply need to rely on the Holy Spirit and pray.
Jesus urged his disciples to “Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak” Matthew 26:41.
Paul talks about praying in the Spirit in I Corinthians 14:12-16. As believers we are all given spiritual gifts. Paul urged the Corinthians to “try to excel in those (spiritual gifts) that build up the church” (verse 12). He went on to say that we can pray in tongues, but that only involves the spirit and not the mind (verse 14). Instead, he encouraged people to pray and sing in the spirit and with the mind, especially in the context of corporate worship, so that people can agree and support each other in prayer and worship (verses 15, 16). This same idea is shared in Colossians 3:16, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”
In Ephesians 4:30 we are urged, “And do not grieve (according to Strong’s Concordance, also translated, “to make sorrowful, to affect with sadness, to throw into sorrow, to make one uneasy, cause him a scruple”) the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” When we harbor sin in our lives, refusing to confess the sin the Holy Spirit reveals to us, we grieve Him. I Thessalonians 5:19 exhorts “Do not quench the Spirit.” This is a metaphor of someone extinguishing or throwing something on a fire to make it go out. According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, this is the same metaphor used in Ephesians 6:16 “…of ‘quenching’ the fire-tipped darts of the evil one…through ignorance of His ways, or through failure to recognize, or refusal to submit to, them, or through impatience with the ignorance or self-will of others, the Spirit were quenched…” If we are not actively seeking God’s will and living in obedience to Him, we will revert to our sinful self and grieve and quench the Holy Spirit.
Think About It
Do you pray in the Spirit? Are you grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit? Journal or draw a picture in response.
Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit and for His ministry to me in prayer. Help me today to confess known sin in my life and to live in obedience to you. I choose to pray in the Spirit, allowing you to work in and through me.
In Jesus Name,
AMEN.



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6 comments:

  1. Wel done, Ruth. Looks as though you are not only off to a good start but well on the way. Enjoyed the excerpt. So true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Neil
      I appreciate your encouragement.

      Delete
  2. Shelley's advice is so critical, yet I have not formed such a team yet for myself. I think I'm stuck on one of the excuses she pointed out - I don't want to bother anyone. On another note, the devotional is going to be wonderful.

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    Replies
    1. Tracy,
      Put me down as the first member of your prayer team. You're not a bother!!! Thanks for your support and encouragement :)

      Delete
  3. Good job on your book, Ruth, for this timely topic, your treatment of it and the progress you are making in the process. Blessings.

    ReplyDelete

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