A Fountain

Prayer and the Empty Page

I've been a professional writer for over a decade, and a professional fundraiser for nearly eight years. From time to time, I find myself staring at a blinking cursor on a white page.

Writer's block is even worse because I'm a fundraiser. If I'm feeling uninspired, what is my audience going to think? If everything that I write feels flat and lifeless, how will it make my readers feel? As a fundraiser, my job is not just to inform or educate, but to stir into action. How can I inspire action in someone else when I'm feeling like a blob of mental jello?

This happened to me last week. I was working on the Food Bank's "Case Statement" which is destined to be used to encourage donors to make big gifts. And nothing was coming. No, less than nothing. I had some words on the page, but I hated it. I wanted to toss it all in the garbage. Highlight, delete. Empty page once more.

Come to the fountain.

So I stopped. Got down on my knees. And prayed. Not for a long time. Nothing complicated. Just something like, "Lord, I need to write this thing so that it will inspire people to give to feeding the hungry. I have no idea what to write. Please help me."

And the heavens were torn open, and God said,"…..". Yeah, that didn't happen. But what did happen was just as awesome. The mental dam broke. That dryness of mind that might be peculiar to writers on a deadline tasted a trickle of cool water. Living Water.

And I started writing. I'd like to say that it all poured out of me in a giant gush like a fire hose, but it didn't. But I did make more progress in the following hour than I did in the previous three. AND I have a strong sense of where I'm supposed to go.

Turn your eyes to heaven.

So here's this great mystery. God doesn't just do everything for us, because He doesn't want us to be perpetual adolescents. He wants St. Peters, not Peter Pans. On the other hand, without Him, without His grace, we can do nothing. Except sin. Sin is ours.

So when you are trying to tackle a big project, start with prayer. It doesn't have to be a big formal prayer, although those work as well. Quiet your heart, acknowledge your Creator, and invite Him to join you. Ask for His assistance, for clarity, for insight, for a vision.

And then listen. You might not get the burning bush, but if you are faithful to ask, He is faithful to answer. You might notice a stirring in your soul that wasn't there just a moment before. Most often, God speaks in the still, small voice. You might miss it if you're not paying attention.

Remember, He is the Creator. Creation is His thing. And when we create, we are living out the reality that we are made in His image. He is delighted to come alongside, give us a few pointers, and help us use our talents to build up His kingdom.

When you've finished your project, don't forget to say thank you. It's not just polite to thank God for answered prayers, but it helps you remember that GOD JUST ANSWERED YOUR PRAYER. You say thank you because you recognize His hand on what used to be an empty page.

Would you like to learn more about raising money for Church and Ministry? Check out Letters From The Almoner, now available on Amazon.com.
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