Saturday, February 12, 2005

Prayer and the Practice of our Trade

I heard an interesting quote recently, from the Jewish Talmud – “their prayer is in the practice of their trade.” The man quoting it was talking about working with wood, but I believe it can be just as well applied to working in words.

As we work at our trade, our writing, it becomes prayer when it is offered to God. It becomes a communication, first and foremost, One to another. Even when we have that third party, our audience, in mind, our writing can and perhaps should be primarily our connection to God. How many of you have written a piece that taught you more than it ever will the reader? How many of you have been convicted more by your own words than those who read them? How many of you have sensed the presence of God as the words spilled onto the page or screen in front of you?

No, I’m not talking about Divine inspiration. I’m talking about Divine communication. If our words do not teach us, convict us, inspire us, they will be dead words to those who read them after us. If we do not allow ourselves to be taught, convicted, inspired, we will not communicate well to our audience. It is when our writing has been communication to and from God that it throbs with passion and touches the reader. This communication, this prayer, is done at the deepest level of our hearts, our souls, and our minds. It may not happen every time we take up the tools of our craft, but it will happen if we are faithful to it and to the One who wants to use it.

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