Google “writing inspiration” and you’ll get millions of suggestions. Finding inspiration can be a problem even for full-time writers. So here are some ideas for next time you don’t know where to start on your prayer letter:
- Pray. Read your Bible. Listen to worship music. This should be the first place to start. Ask God what he wants you to share.
- Recall a recent conversation with a Japanese person or a colleague that has stuck in your head. Write about it or why it has remained with you.
- Consider writing about something you’ve read recently related to your ministry or Japan. If you can’t think of anything, try looking through your favourite reading material (e.g. blogs, magazines, or the Facebook page of someone who shares good articles).
- Look back over your previous prayer letters. Can you give an update on something or someone? Have there been answers to prayer?
- Look at photos you’ve taken over the last month. Are there any you’d like to include? Could you write about one or two?
- List what’s coming up on your schedule. Is there something you could explain in further depth? Anything you especially need prayer for? Or a decision that needs to be made?
- Take some exercise: go for a walk, run, swim, ride. Whatever you prefer. Ideas often come when we go away from our blank computer screen or paper.
- Ask for advice. Email someone who prays for you regularly and ask them what they’d like to know about your life and ministry.
Paul wrote to Philemon: “I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers . . . I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective . . . Your love has given me great joy and encouragement” (Philemon 4–7 NIV). Something else to consider is how we can encourage our prayer partners through our prayer letters.
I pray God would help you strengthen the partnership with your prayer supporters as you communicate with them.
Wendy Marshall is the managing editor of Japan Harvest. She’s learnt most of what she knows about writing from her international critique group, Truth Talk. She’s Australian and works with OMF International.