Editing Problems? Invite God’s Presence in Your Writing
I knew there had to be a better way to edit. I felt tangled between the commas and blurred lines of text. The continuous rephrasing, wordsmithing and omitting bent my brain five ways before I finished. When I set aside a piece, the writing seemed worse upon return; instead of editing, revision would follow.
In the past, God had placed my reader’s felt need in my heart. He inspired beauty from His holy Word to heal and guide her forward. Yet editing made me dizzy.
There was only one thing to do: Invite God into the editing process.
I learned when I partnered with His faithful presence during editing, amazing things happened. I recognized oversights and areas that needed refinement. Punctuation, grammar, word choice and error correction. All of it.
Here’s what you can do to invite God’s presence into your editing:
Get quiet. Go to your heart’s quiet place — the place that is filled with peace, wonder and the awareness of God’s whisper. Take a deep breath. Inhale and exhale. Ready yourself for the presence of the Holy Spirit. Do you need to talk to Him about something? Do you need encouragement from His Word? Take care of these things. Now, you are ready to …
Invite God into your editing. Ask God to be present with you and to be a partner in the editing process. Pray from the beginning of your editing to the end. “God, please be with me as I edit. Only You know the influence these words will have. Guide me. Show me. I praise You for what You will do. Thank You, Lord.”
Pray for your reader’s heart. Our message is God’s message. Our word choices and their expression reflect Him, and we want the reader to see Him. “God, will these words illuminate Your heart and mind to her? Is there a better way to reflect Your character to her? Are the sentences seamless, making this piece easy for her to read and worth her time? Have I done everything possible to reveal Your person to her? Lord, I pray she receives Your message.”
Pray for clarity. When flow gets muddled and sentences become garbled, we need God to show us points of amendment, impact and error. “God, this part is not working. What should I change? What specific word or expression connects and engages my reader with authenticity? What is the best way to change this sentence from the passive to the active voice? If I modify this part, what else must I adjust? Is there a grammatical or punctuation error that will discredit my submission?”
Listen. While you manage the conventions and rules of writing, surrender to God and listen to His voice. Do you feel a nudge in your spirit to go back to something? Is there an awkward sentence that keeps reading wrong, but you bypassed it because you love it? Maybe you are not sure how to restructure it. Pray again. “Lord, open my eyes.” Pause and wait in the quiet. Listen for His answer, His faithful response.
Repeat. You may not finish your edits this time. That’s OK. Come back to your writing refreshed and with peace. Let go of the mental gymnastics of editing, and hold on to His presence in prayer.
Be assured of this: God wants your reader to hear His message in your words. He will meet your need because He wants to meet hers.
Do you sense God’s presence when you edit? How has prayer helped you?
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Being able to call out to God when I write teaches me dependence on Him. Not only do I need His gentle presence, I also need His omniscience. He knows all. When I overcome an editing obstacle, I know it is by His skill and His grace to me that I succeed. He consistently shows His faithfulness. I would love to hear from you! What is your experience with God while editing? How have you prayed for God’s presence while you edit?