Friday, June 7, 2013

When No Answer Means Not Yet

This week I got a great piece of writing news:  I've been invited to write  intercessory prayers for Sundays and Seasons, an Augsburg Fortress worship resource. For more on the difference between types of prayers, see this piece on my theology blog.

Longtime readers of this blog know that I've already written prayers for Augsburg Fortress.  I've written before, in numerous places, about my experience over the past few years writing prayers for Bread for the Day, which is a book of devotions. I was given the reading for the day and asked to create a prayer. It was a wonderful experience.  I've done it several years and found it rewarding.

So I said yes to the invitation to write intercessory prayers.  It's similar to what I've done, yet different. 

When I told my spouse about this invitation, he said, "Cool! That's my favorite kind of prayer!"

I had no idea that intercessory prayer was my spouse's favorite kind of prayer. I've known this man for 30 years, and I didn't know that fact. There's still so much to discover.

But I digress. 

Getting this invitation made me not only think about how much I like writing prayers, but how I came to write them in the first place.  Back in 2007, I had been writing meditations on the weekly Gospel lesson.  I'd been doing this for several years, and I thought a series of them compiled together might make a good book of devotions.  I prepared a query letter and a writing sample and sent it off to Augsburg Fortress.

I didn't get a reply, which I took for a rejection.  And in a way, it was.

Except that years later, in 2010, I got an offer to be part of a different project.  And it's because I sent that query, and the editor put my name in a file of potential writers.  It took years before a project came along, but the seed was planted.  I didn't know it was planted, but it was.

We are told again and again that it's important to send the work out, even when we get rejected, even when we get no answer.  We just don't know what's going to take root.

Sure, I'm like everyone else.  I'd like a book contract to fall in my lap out of the clear, blue sky; if I'm being completely honest, I'd like that contract to be accompanied by a hefty book advance.  So perhaps I should ask myself, what seeds am I planting now to make that happen in a few years?

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