As an aspiring writer I periodically experience what most like to call “writer’s block.” I can personally attest that the block isn’t due to a lack of creativity. It’s not because all the stories have been told, and it’s not because I’m lazy.
For me, writer’s block is a communication block. I know what needs to be said, but I don’t know how to say it. I’m afraid to say it. I don’t want to write it. I don’t want to speak it. Writer’s block is the same thing that happens when I’m having a bad day and I don’t feel like answering the telephone when it rings. It’s why so many of us answer “fine” when someone asks how we are. Sometimes it’s easier to not communicate.
Just as often as I experience writer’s block I also experience “prayer block.” I know what needs to be said for me, for other people, but don’t say it. I am afraid of some of the words I have to say sometimes. I’m in a mood, or angry, or complacent. Even when I’m perfectly happy I seem to have a communication block with the God who blessed me.
Why do we do this?
What to Do
Karl Bimshas, writer and executive coach says: “When you cannot think: write. When you cannot speak: write. When you cannot sleep: write. And if you cannot write: read.” From the perspective of someone who loves to write, this is brilliant–and it’s true. Reading helps with the writing. Reading helps with the communication, and I think it will help with prayer as well. If you can’t think, pray. If you can’t speak, pray. If you can’t sleep, pray. And if you can’t pray, read your Bible.
Another method I’ve come to cherish is letting my kids’ prayers come alive to me. Praying at breakfast, lunch, and dinner is a great habit to teach them young, but taking their prayer requests and talking about prayer is even better! This past Sabbath during Sabbath school my 6-year-old prayed that our turkey hen would come back. Our turkey hen, Lorelei, had been missing for three days following a predator attack in our yard. We spent those three days explaining to the boys that she was probably killed by a predator (along with her eight babies). They were bummed, but they’re beginning to learn about life on the farm.
When Mickey offered this prayer request I knew the likelihood of Lorelei’s return. But I prayed anyway. And while we spent Sabbath afternoon playing in our yard the boys started yelling that the “mama turkey” came back home! Sure enough, she wandered back into our yard! It wasn’t until later that night at dinner that Mickey said a beautiful thing: “That’s an answered prayer!”
“Prayer Block” is an excellent reason to keep a prayer journal. Looking back on answered prayers is a wonderful thing.