Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Establish the Work of My Hands by Michelle Shocklee

Way back in January 2010, my sweet agent at the time, Les Stobbe, sent me an email about pinpoint prayer. I hadn’t heard of pinpoint prayer, but one of Les’s clients, Will Davis, Jr., had recently published a book on praying big. Davis’ stance is that while prayers like “Bless Tom” or “Be with Sue in her time of need” are nice, they aren’t meaty. Pinpoint prayer goes beyond that.

With that in mind, I set out to pray bigger regarding my writing career. Using the word career for that period in time is a bit bold, because I’d only published a few magazine articles and a story in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. I’d written a couple novels that Les was shopping around to editors, and though we had some interest, no one had offered a contract.

During my devotions one morning, I read Psalm 90:17: “May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.” The words leapt from the pages of my Bible to my heart. Here was my pinpoint prayer! It spoke directly to what my desire was for myself and for my writing. I desired God’s favor. I also realized that my work as a writer needed divine help if it were to be established.

I began praying the verse each time I sat down at my computer to work on a project. I also pondered the verse itself. What did God’s favor look like as far as my writing goes? My dream was to be a multi-published fiction author, but was that’s God’s plan? I decided I wanted God’s favor, no matter what it looked like. Next, I thought of what it meant to have one’s work established. Would my work be established if I had thousands of devoted readers? Or was it more simply the hope that my words would make a positive difference in the life of the person reading them, be it on a blog, a magazine article, or a novel? My heart told me the latter was what I truly desired.

Did God answer my pinpoint prayer? Yes! In his timing and his way, of course. Soon after I began praying that verse, I discovered that my inspirational blog was reaching people in countries I knew I would never visit and some I’d never heard of. I also sold several more stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul. In 2016 I signed my first book contract, followed by two more in 2017. My prayer hasn’t changed. I still ask that God will grant me favor and that he will continue to establish the work of my hands. Even this little blog post is an answer to that prayer!

Are you praying for your writing? I’d love to join you. If you have a special verse or a prayer need you’d like to share, feel free to post it in the comments.


Michelle Shocklee is the award-winning author of The Planter’s Daughter and The Widow of Rose Hill, the first two books in the historical romance series The Women of Rose Hill. Her novella, To Heal Thy Heart, is included in The Mail-Order Brides Collection. With both her sons grown, she and her husband of thirty-plus years enjoy poking around historical sites, museums, and antique stores near their home in Tennessee. Connect with her at