On Being An Instrument

writers prayer

Don’t let me ever think, dear God, that I was anything but the instrument for your story.   Flannery O’Connor

This summer I picked up a copy of Flannery O’Connor’s, A Prayer Journal to add to my ever-expanding personal library. I’d read a mix of reviews regarding the contents of her short journal and even now, after reading it myself, I am happy to have purchased it. It amazed me, how many of her prayers echoed my own mutterings and pleas to God. I can’t write apart from God and so my journals bulge with petitions and confessions on behalf of this gift He has given me.

Recently, I shared a few email exchanges with a couple of writer friends, in which both of them expounded on their feelings of frustration, doubt and sense of purpose and worth as it relates to writing. So many of their own thoughts reminded me of the words in O’Connor’s journal, and in my own. I’m grateful for their honesty and willingness to wrestle with the gift, and how it is to be used.

After sitting with their words for a while, I feel compelled to pray for us writers, because though our stories are different, when you know God has trusted you with this particular gift, the struggle to steward it well, is universal.

So, writer friends, join me in praying (or scroll down to hear the prayer, as I pray it over us both)–

Father God, you are the greatest storyteller the world will ever know. You speak and life is formed. You breathe and the wind and waves obey you. Your power is beyond understanding, beyond compare. God you believe in the power of words. You gave us language and voices with which to share your majesty among the nations. You invite us into your story, and grant us the grace to work alongside you, as word weavers, and storytellers. We would not know how, if you had not first shown us in your perfect and holy Word, the very Word who walked among us as a man, as God, as savior. Lord teach us to use our words for kingdom purposes. Part our lips to speak of your glory, of your redemption, of your unfathomable mercy. Jesus shape our craft to reflect all that is good and right and true, that we might draw people into the shelter of your wings. Give us the wisdom to speak honestly, and with love. Keep us from becoming clanging cymbals of self-promotion and idolatry. Lord, your story in us is the only one worth telling. Give us the heart to tell it well. Keep us humble Lord, in a world that determines worth by way of numbers and scales and dollar signs. Lord Jesus, teach us to build altars instead of platforms. Remind us of why it is we have a voice, and what it is you have asked us to do. Unite us in Christ, while defining the beauty of our individual creativity, generously given by your inspired, intentional design. Don’t let us ever think, dear God, that we are anything but the instrument for your story. In your holy and perfect name, Jesus, we pray. Amen.

  • http://susanstilwell.com/ Susan Rinehart Stilwell

    One thing He’s teaching me in my “summer of reflection” is to use [my] words for kingdom purposes. There is SO much emptiness out there. I want my words to matter.

    Blessings to you today, Kris.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Yes, Susan, how well I know this nudge from Him. Praying for you today!!

  • http://www.amylearns.com/ Amy Tilson

    Thank you so much for this prayer and your words, Kris.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      (Hugs) Amy. Honored to pray with and for you, sweet friend!

  • http://sandraheskaking.com/ Sandra Heska King

    Amen. And amen.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      😉 ((hugs))

  • http://www.heartchoices.com Debbie

    How easy it is for me to lose focus when it comes to my writing. Life gets busy and I get sidelined. But when I sit down to write in my journal or on my blog …I love it. Thank you for this beautiful prayer.

    Blessings and love,

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Thanks, Debbie. I appreciate you.

  • Lynn D. Morrissey

    Kris, this is such a beautiful post. Thank you so much! I read O’Connor’s prayer journal, and am so glad that you are mentioning it. Readers might be fooled by its deceptive simplicity. She has much depth and much reverence for the Lord. Her quote here reminds me of one I have framed on the wall of my study, near my computer. It is by Mother Theresa and reads: “I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.” It helps me keep my perspective and helps me to understand what I am writing, how I am writing it, and for Whom and to whom I am writing. Being a writing instrument in the hand of Almighty God is both a privilege and a responsibility. And what an interesting word for O’Connor to have used with regard to her writing gift: instrument. An instrument is a “tool used for delicate or precision work, as in a surgical instrument” (God can use our writing in precise, delicate ways to perform heart surgery on ourselves and as suggested surgery to our readers); “an apparatus for producing musical sounds, as in a stringed instrument” (our writing, if inspired by God, can produce beautiful harmony in an often discordant and cacaphonous world); “a means by which something is affected or done; agency” (our writing, guided by God, can affect great change in a world that is desperate to know him, and to turn from sin towards God and to change for the better.) Oh yes, Kris, thank you for your insights, and most especially your prayer that, as authors, when we write that we be instruments of the living God, weaving words that glorify THE WORD, instruments that are tools in His hand, used by Him to serve those He whom loves.
    PS I LOVE journaling, and you are not the only one whose journals bulge–epsecially in the confession department. God has truly given me a passion for journaling. It’s a big part of my ministry.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Lynn, your comments are always so very generous. Thank you for taking the time to read and encourage me today. We are kindred, you and I, with this love of journaling. I have kept a journal since I was around 8 years old. I am definitely a fan 😉

      • Lynn D. Morrissey

        What a sweet thing for you to say, Kris. Thank you so much. Oh my goodness–eight! That’s amazing. I had a diary when I was young, but not that young. =] I’m older than you, so I make up for the years in that way. What a treasure you are amassing–the kind of treasure that will last to all eternity, as your written prayers are filling the golden bowls of heaven (Rv 5:8) I am so excited for you!

  • Caryn Jenkins Christensen

    Thank you for this today, Kris. Agreeing in prayer with you for the gifts we’ve been given to be used only and always for His glory.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Amen. Thanks for reading, Caryn

      • Caryn Jenkins Christensen


  • http://www.alifesurrendered.com/ Michele-Lyn Ault

    I love the way you hold on and refuse to leg go of God…

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      I love you. You always encourage me. I want more of Him. So much more…

  • http://www.dianewbailey.net/ Diane Bailey

    Thank you for this prayer. The gift we are given as writers is our passion as well as God’s. I DO pray, that He parts my lips to tell His story. Amen.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      I believe you do, Diane. you are such a beautiful encourager in my life. XO

  • http://redemptionsbeauty.com/ Shelly Miller

    Beautiful prayer from a beautiful heart. Thank you Kris.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      ((hugs)) Shelly. It was wonderful to talk with you today (always!) XXOO

  • jenni ho-huan

    Goodness, i cannot tell you how timely this prayer is. I am struggling to find words to pray. My book is launching this Sun and I am a bag of nerves! Thank you for reminding me I am not alone; and for helping me find the prayer I am wanting to utter! Bless you Kris!

  • http://loriharris.me/ Lori Harris

    Such beauty in this prayer, Kris. Your gift have met me in a vulnerable place this morning and I thank you.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      So grateful for you, Lori, for how you steward the gifts He has given you. Xo

  • Amy L. Sullivan

    So fun to hear your voice. So thankful for your prayers.

  • http://www.nellers.net/ Janelle

    Wow girl this is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing this. I needed to hear it.