I have to admit, after being a journalist for three decades, the craft of writing stories can – and sometimes has – become rote.
Working on an assignment recently reminded me of how much I need to keep God foremost in all I do. It started out as one of those days when everything seemed to go wrong. To top it all off, it seems my new domain service had problems with one of its servers – the one that held my e-mail accounts. Including the one with the e-mail that had the phone number of an interviewee whom I was already late calling.
I eventually tracked down the number, called, and in the normal chit chat mentioned the e-mail issues. The interviewee immediately offered to pray for the situation. Again, confession time: I have to admit my immediate thoughts were less than charitable. I needed to get to the interview and prayer seemed superfluous. (I later found out the server needed to be rebuilt and I was left without business e-mail for the day.)
“May our days begin in prayer,/Communing with our King,/May our hearts be filled with joy/As His praises now we sing.”
Upon later reflection, I realized I had become so focused on what I considered a routine task that I’d left God aside. And when reminded about it, I almost became resentful.
Perhaps our human tendency to rely on self is the reason two of the books on arts I’ve read recently place our relationship with God at the forefront.
The first section of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship’s 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers is titled “Time with God.” The section’s articles, short stories and poems all focus on ways in which the writer (or artist in general) can, and should, stay in touch with God. Sharon Cavers, in her poem “A Writer’s Prayer” suggests in the last verse: “May our days begin in prayer,/Communing with our King,/May our hearts be filled with joy/As His praises now we sing.”
J. Scott McElroy, in providing guidelines for beginning an arts ministry in his book Creative Church Handbook places “start praying now for God’s guidance” as number one and “invite artists to meet and pray” as third. “God has a plan for the arts and creativity in your church, and if you listen and wait he’ll share it with you and others,” writes McElroy about praying for God’s guidance.
While I haven’t taken a formal survey, I would hazard a guess that I’m not the first creative Christian who needed to be reminded that God needs first place in all I do, including the crafting of my art. And I probably won’t be the last.