Thursday, March 26, 2009

Prayer and the Unpublished Author

Online, I spend a lot of time with authors—primarily unpublished Christian authors. Most have a common question. Why haven’t I received a publishing contract yet? Hidden beneath that question is another. Can’t God see how important this is to me? This second question has an easy answer, but it doesn’t make the wannabe Christian writer feel any better.

I think it’s a safe assumption that nearly every Christian author has asked God to open doors for a publishing contract at some point. I God changes things when we pray, but I’ve also seen the numbers. There are a lot of people out there praying for a publishing contract who won’t get one. So what’s the problem?

The problem isn’t with God. He is more than capable of giving any and all Christian writers a publishing contract. I would like to suggest that the problem is with us. Do you recall James 4:3? Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. From experience, I know that God often blesses us with things we want, but don’t absolutely need, but I also know that it is easy to set my heart on something and lose sight of what is best. I’ve seen some authors, for example, who see writing as their way to become independently wealthy, but God wants us to always recognize out dependence on him. I see some writers who may tell themselves that they are writing for the benefit of their families, but they write without consideration for what impact a successful writing career will have on their families.

Instead of asking for a writing contract, what we should be doing is asking the Lord for wisdom. God always wants to give us wisdom (James 1:5). What writers really need is wisdom to know whether we should continue what we are doing and the wisdom to understand why we haven’t had the success that we might desire. But be forewarned that when you pray for wisdom you may get an answer you don’t like. If ignorance is bliss, wisdom will make you miserable. When you look at your life through the eyes of wisdom, you may discover that you are spending time in front of the computer that you should be spending with your children and spouse. Through the eyes of wisdom, you may see that your writing isn’t good enough and never will be. Through the eyes of wisdom, you may see that you are spending thousands of dollars learning to write well enough to earn only a fraction of it back.

On the other hand, the eyes of wisdom may show you an avenue that you haven’t considered on you quest for publication. The eyes of wisdom may show you a story idea or a topic that you haven’t considered. The eyes of wisdom may be all you need to put the finishing touches on that manuscript to make it stand out to everyone who sees it. We don’t know what wisdom will show us until we ask. Whatever it shows us, we can be sure that it will show us something better, even if we don’t like what we see.