The Secret Life of Books

The Secret Life of Books

Have you ever wondered why some things you read move you beyond words and others fall flat? Both are well written. Both use great descriptive detail. Both show instead of telling. Both are structured well.

And yet…there is a difference.

Let me explain. Books and articles are more than just letters on a page. This little-known fact may surprise you: They have a spiritual life.

If you want your writing to have that extra something that’s hard to define, make this a lifelong habit: go to the Throne Room before you go to the computer. Praise your way into God’s presence until His anointing is dripping off you like honey. Then go write.

That anointing will wrap itself around your words as they become alive with power. The anointing opens the heart and mind of the reader with revelation.

Years ago, my friend Gina Lynnes and I wrote a devotional book that way. Then we had to decide which devotional belonged on each date. We shut ourselves in the office and praised God until His presence filled the room. Under that unction, we put them in order.

All these years later we still have people ask, “How did you get that particular devotional on that date? It’s astounding!” The book is still alive with power today, and the message people need seems to be on the right page when they need it.

We couldn’t have done that, and we don’t claim to.

It works the opposite way as well. I’ve watched a shadow fall on wonderful, anointed books when harsh words, strife, negative attitudes and untruths are spoken over them. Unless someone prays, that book will never fulfill its destiny.

One of my friends told me about working with a well-known minister as he dictated his partner letter to her. In her office as she typed it, she realized that it was one of the best letters he’d ever written. A while later, he called her back to his office.

“Please destroy that partner letter,” he said. “I’m going to write another one.”

“But that was one of the best letters you’ve ever written!”

“I know,” he replied. “Destroy it anyway. I thought about how much money it would generate. It’s tainted.”

That man understood the spiritual life on the printed page. Our attitudes, our thoughts and our words influence them, just like they influence us.

Here’s my best writing advice: guard your work like you guard your heart. Be quick to repent and pray. Refuse to get into strife. Guard your words. Most important, never go to the computer until you’ve been to the Throne Room.

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