The primary publisher of first time authors was Harlequin. They have a lot of lines these days, but that wasn’t always true. Except for Silhouette romances, which were really sweet, the few other lines had profanity and fairly graphic bedroom scenes. This wasn’t something I was willing to write. So with the exception of Silhouette, my books didn’t fit anywhere. I still remember vividly reading that Harlequin was opening a line of Christian romances called Love Inspired. They did this, I’d say, because books like the Left Behind series proved there was a huge market for books that included people of faith. I believe I was writing for ten years for an area of fiction that hadn’t been born.
There’s a line in Petticoat Ranch that says, “Pastor Roscoe had come west as an answer to a prayer that Sophie wouldn’t even begin praying for five years."
I like to think of God being ahead of us. Preparing us in ways we haven’t even imagined. He did this for me. I’m a firm believer that dreams can come true. And we need to make God a partner in our dreams. Praying for ourselves, for a thing like getting a book published seemed wrong, even sinful. Asking God for what I wanted seemed worldly, but I did it anyway.
I prayed hard for God to grant me this desire of my heart.
In Luke Chapter 18, Jesus tells this parable. Yes, Jesus was a storyteller, I love that. He tells the parable of the woman who went before the corrupt judge over and over asking for justice. In other words, she nagged.
The judge gave her justice just to get her off his back. The end of that story goes, “If the corrupts judge will give someone justice, how much more will your Father in Heaven give you justice.”
So, I nagged the Lord. It felt wrong, selfish. When I prayed there was a niggling place in my heart that would way, “You don’t pray for your children this much. You don’t pray for your friend who is sick this much. You don’t pray for your unchurched neighbors this much."
But still I prayed. I did add to my basic prayer though. After each time of pausing to pray, “Lord, help me get a book published." I added, “And let me write something worthy.” Worthy of God. Words that a person might read and be touched, changed, their hearts lightened, their faith strengthened, their unbelief challenged.
I’m telling you about the prayers because God gave me the deep desire of my heart. God blessed my words and my work. My dream came true and I don’t believe it was wrong of me pray for this. To put my hopes and dreams in the able hands of my Savior. I want all of you to let God into your dream. I want you to think about prayer in a new way. It’s not sinful to ask God for what you want. It’s more likely that it’s a sin NOT to ask. It’s wrong to keep God out of something this important to you.
Say the prayer to God with joy. Pursue the dream and desires of your heart in partnership with God.