“I wish that I had told my writing students to give some thought to what they wanted their books to make happen inside the people who read them." Frederick Buechner
This month’s prompt challenges us to answer that question. What do you want your writing to make happen inside your readers? As you explore this question, what are you discovering about yourself or your writing? What is God challenging you to do?
John Bunyan’s Conversation with His Book
One author who articulated what he wanted to happen inside his readers was John Bunyan, who wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress, one of the best known allegories in Christian literature.
In the sequel, the journey of Pilgrim’s wife and children, Bunyan instructed the book to bravely go out into the world and tell people how much God loves them.
The book raised objections: “What if they don’t believe me? What if people get angry? What if they criticize you, the author? What if they don’t like the way you wrote?”
Bunyan answered, “Don’t be afraid, Book, as you are a friend and are sent to friends, not enemies. If anyone objects to your authenticity, come back to me, and I will confirm that you are mine. Turn away from people who criticize you. Seek instead those who will rejoice when they read you.”
Then Bunyan concluded with a prayer that the book would be a blessing to those who love it:
And may it persuade some that go astray,
To turn their Foot and Heart to the right Way
Prayers for My Readers
John Bunyan’s conversation with his book, written over three hundred years ago, has been a model for me. It, along with this month’s prompt, has challenged me to be more specific as I pray for my readers.
Some of my prayers include these points:
- Before praying for my readers, I ask God for a listening attitude for his inspiration, his message and his guidance for the particular writing of the day.
- My overall goal is to encourage others who are facing life and faith issues—their struggles in everyday experiences and problems. One Scripture God has given me is Isaiah 50:4: “The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed (pen), to know the word that sustains the weary”(NIV)
- I ask God to take my writing to those who need to hear from God.
- I pray that each article will be a work of art to challenge the reader’s intellect as well as the spirit.
- I pray that the living Lord would step out of the sentences, paragraphs and ideas to leave his gentle touch on their lives.
- Our church’s mission is for each person to become a devoted follower of Jesus, and I’ve incorporated this in my prayers for my readers.
- Ultimately, I leave the results to God.
And you? I look forward to reading blogs on this month's topic and discovering the diversity of your thoughts and how God is challenging your desires and prayers.