You could say that The Fisherman’s Wife, my first novel, was a novel experience for me. I became so engrossed in the people and happenings in Capernaum that when I left the computer, I didn’t know if it was morning, noon, or night! That never happened when I wrote other books. My heroine, Peter’s wife, and her exploits were imagined, of course, because we know absolutely nothing about this woman. Yet, we do know what she must have witnessed because the Gospels tell us that Jesus stayed at her house. As I brought her to life and told the story through her eyes, I felt that I really got to know the people in the Gospels, in particular the Lord himself.
This writing experience called to mind a method of praying that I learned long ago. There are three steps.
1. Read a Gospel story and as you read, imagine the scene vividly as though you were watching a movie.
2. Rewrite the story in the first person. You are an eyewitness. Remark on the weather, people’s expressions, and what you see, hear, taste, feel, and smell. State what you are thinking as the plot unfolds.
3. At the conclusion of the Gospel story, extend it by arranging a situation where you and Jesus are alone together. Maybe you are sitting on a rock with him, walking along a beach, or drifting in a boat under a starlit sky. Then write the dialogue for the two of you. Refer to the event that just occurred. Tell Jesus what you think of it. In your conversation link the event to your own life, for example, what is happening, how you are feeling, or your relationship with God. Write the responses Jesus makes to you.
I once used the story of Jesus healing the woman who snuck up and touched the hem of his cloak. In our conversation afterward, Jesus and I talked about my fear in learning to drive, how difficult it is to trust him when he is invisible, and my hopes that he would heal me of a bad habit.
Some benefits of praying this way:
• You become more familiar with the Gospel stories and delve more deeply into them.
• You come to know yourself better. In the words of author E.M. Forster: “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?”
• You encounter Jesus and through your pen he says things that may surprise you!
If your prayer life is routine and dull and you are looking for something to jumpstart it, try this method. Or why not write a novel about a person in the Bible?
After trying out this prayer method, what did you think of it?