This past week I’ve been reading the novel Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. The book has a much slower pace than the young adult novels on my reading list of late (for research purposes, of course). Beauty and depth will not be rushed.
I haven’t finished reading the book yet, so I can’t give a full review of it. The premise behind the book is that the main character is an old and dying man writing a (very long) letter to his young son as a record of the family’s story. Two things I love about the book so far are how the main character weaves into that story of their family the elements of Scripture and prayer and also that he is a reader and writer. The quote I want to share this week shows some of those elements:
“For me writing has always felt like praying, even when I wasn’t writing prayers, as I was often enough. You feel that you are with someone. I feel I am with you now, whatever that can mean, considering that you’re only a little fellow now and when you’re a man you might find these letters of no interest. Or they might never reach you, for any of a number of reasons. Well, but how deeply I regret any sadness you have suffered and how grateful I am in anticipation of any good you have enjoyed. That is to say, I pray for you. And there’s an intimacy in it. That’s the truth.”
I, too, write my prayers often enough. Sometimes in my journals, sometimes in letters to those I love and am praying for. I know that writing the words of a prayer down doesn’t give it any more power than it had when the words were only spoken by my lips or in my heart—God hears regardless. But I like having the written reminder of my requests lifted up to Him, requests for patience through the long days or years, strength during difficulty and uncertainty, a changed heart when I’m confronted with my sin. Those written reminders also carry the promise of hope, of faith in Him, that He hears and He will answer. The written word and written prayers carry the power of remembrance.