Father, strengthen my writing with Your power, a writers prayer based on Ephesians 3:16.
Writing is a bridge of words that carries a thought from the writer to the reader. Powerful writing changes both the reader and the writer—it has an impact. It brings new realizations, new connections, new possibilities, new ways of being. Powerful writing can be forceful and hammer-like, lifting or bending the thoughts. But it can also be gentle, attracting and fascinating, drawing out matching thoughts. When God makes the words powerful, they never fail to accomplish their goal.
Recently, I had an unexpected encounter with the power of words in an Ohio hotel room. When I opened the drawer by my bed, looking for the Gideon Bible, I was disappointed that it was a King James Version. “Why can’t those Gideons give Bibles everyone can understand?” I complained.
But I had forgotten the power in Shakespearian English. It seems God strengthens his word with power in any version. I was invigorated by phrases like “it came to pass,” which made me think of the flow of time. Then I read, “it is written” and remembered the eternal power in God’s word—once it written, it is forever in force. I was caught by the phrase, “A certain poor widow.” There was a particular widow, one special little lady whose story God wanted me to know. And she as a very special lady, indeed, who put all her income into the offering.
Before I closed the KJV Bible, I was in for another surprise. Someone has written a personal, handwritten note. “Love you to everyone who reads my words in this book,” it said. Something about this simple sentence blessed me. Someone else had sat here reading his Bible, looking out this window at the sunset over the Ohio fields, someone who had heard footsteps in the hall, someone who had pancakes at the breakfast bar, and went out to do his business in the Ohio day.
I know it was a man because he told me about himself: he was Mark Cobbs, born 1.17.42. That makes him 77 years old—more than a decade older than I am. Reading his words, I felt like I was ushered right into a Bible study, a Prayer meeting, and a church service combined.
When he read that Christians should not take other Christian to court (1 Cor. 6:1-2), Mr. Cobb wrote: Pray before police. When the Bible said the kingdom of God does not include thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers, or swindlers (1 Cor. 6:10), Mr. Cobb asked: Forgive me, Jesus. When he read that we are all Abraham’s offspring (Rom. 4:16), Mr. Cobb responded: DNA of Christ. I had not thought of these verses that way.
Now, I don’t believe in writing in someone else’s Bible, and I sense this man was a little off, perhaps an edge of age taking its toll? Still, his few words ministered to me.
What is my point? If I can find strength in the few stray words of a 77 years old churchman—if he can move me—can’t I expect God to answer my prayer for powerful words? I most certainly can!
I have a very personal reason to want God’s to strengthen my words with power.
On June 22, my daughter, Aimee, got married to Kody. She invited her family and Kody’s family to pray over them on their wedding day. I got the privilege of writing the prayer.
I never wanted power in my words so much as I did on that day in May when I sat down at my dining room table to write a prayer for Aimee and Kody. I wanted my prayer to impact my daughter and son-in-law for the rest of their lives. So before I wrote, I asked, Father, strengthen my prayers with Your power (Eph. 3:16).
I can’t write a prayer like that without the help of other powerful prayers that have stood the test of time, so you might say I compiled this prayer using the wisdom of others. I drew on prayers from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer and from the Lutheran Marriage Ceremony, adding some words of my own.
Here is part of my prayer for my daughter and son-in-law:
Father, thank You for the promises Aimee and Kody have made today. May their marriage be a sanctuary to protect their relationship and a home for their souls. May they delight in each other, serve each other, and grow in love until their life’s end. “Give Aimee and Kody wisdom and devotion in the ordering of their common life, that each may be to the other a strength in need, a counselor in perplexity, a comfort in sorrow, and a companion in joy” (BCP).
As witnesses, we “commit to pray for them and to support them in times of trouble and to give thanks with them in times of joy, to honor the bonds of their covenant, and to confirm the love of God that is reflected in their life together” (Lutheran Marriage Ceremony). We entrust them to Your unfailing love, knowing that You can do immeasurably more for them than we can ask or imagine. (Eph. 3:20).
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Because this prayer is written, I can continue to pray it for my children year after year. I intend to do just that. And because God is a God who answers prayer, I can trust him to continue to strengthen these prayers with his power. I am so glad.