by Bonnie Taylor Barry
Dear Father in heaven,
It’s me, a lonely writer. No one here, just me and my computer. I couldn’t sleep, so I got up to write. I’ve been thinking about what it’s like to be a writer, and I’d like to ask you a few things on behalf of all those who struggle to express themselves on the printed page. Here goes:
Like I said, Lord, it sure is lonely sometimes. We pour out our hearts and bare our souls, but we seldom get any response from those who read what we write. It’s kind of like being in solitary confinement. We send out a bunch of letters, but we get few in return. Help us to remember that we’re writing, not for the feedback, but because You put the desire in us to write. But, we’re still human, Lord, so when it’s necessary to prevent us from becoming discouraged, please inspire some reader, once in a blue moon, to send us a little note to perk us up, not just to make us feel good, but to genuinely assure us of positive changes that came about from our work.
Lord, keep us from egoism. When that story or article or book finally gets published, protect us from pride and false notions of importance. Seeing our names in print and our words “immortalized” can be a dangerous thing. Help us to consider how many words have been written since the dawn of time and how few of those are remembered. Keep us mindful that our little contributions are just that. Little. Like a single drop of rain that helps to water the flowers, our words serve their purpose, but millions of other drops are necessary to drench the garden.
Make us people of prayer, Lord. Without your inspirations, our wells run dry; our ideas become shallow. Without purified motives, we write for the wrong reasons. Without you as our model of humility, we snap back at criticism that needs to be prayerfully weighed. Keep the lines of communication with you open so we can hear the voice of truth and echo it in our writing.
Finally, dear Father, here’s a special request for struggling writers, the ones who keep getting rejected, people like me. If it’s your will that we continue to write, give us the gift of perseverance. Help us not to gauge our success by financial gain or letters of acceptance. Remind us that even one of the greatest artists, Vincent Van Gogh, sold only one painting in his lifetime. Maybe, our work is not destined for discovery till after we’re gone. On the other hand, if it’s not your will for us to write, give us the grace to move on to something else, the personal vocation that best suits us. Whatever the case, bless us with cl arity of mind and firmness of purpose to do whatever you decide.
Thank you, Lord, for hearing me. Thank you for waking me up so I could write this. If some other lonely writer somewhere on this planet needs this prayer, find a way to get it to him or her. It might be the only contribution I make, the only drop of water that falls on the flowers. Who knows? It might even be the little bit of moisture some budding mind needs to open up and share its fragrance. For that, I thank you. Amen.
Bonnie is a former high school English teacher, is married to Tommy Barry, her best friend and husband of 32 years. They have two adult children, Catherine and Tom, and a grandson, Sebastian Gabriel. Bonnie does volunteer work at a Carmelite monastery, enjoys freelance writing, conducts storytelling sessions, and teaches occasional classes for homeschoolers. Recently, she was guest writer for My Daily Visitor, a bi-monthly devotional published by Our Sunday Visitor. She is currently working on two manuscripts she hopes to publish some day. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org