God’s people from around the world, including my writing and prayer partner from Chile, are preparing for the upcoming Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.
Some are breathing sighs of relief because they made the deadline for pre-submissions. Others are talking themselves off the ledge because they missed the deadline.
A few are practicing pitches.
Others are smiling, nodding, and excusing themselves for an urgent call. “Okay, Google, what is a pitch?”
Friends who met online are excited about seeing each other face-to-face for the first time. Old friends are looking forward to reunions. And a few first timers are nervous, because they won’t know one single person when they step onto that beautiful campus.
Quiet ones will feel invisible or like they don’t belong, while gaggles of writers feel at home amongst their tribe.
Many, if not all, will be terrified of rejection.
But every single writer, agent, editor, volunteer, and Mount Hermon staff member will be leaving a life back home.
During our time at Mount Hermon kids will get sick, spouses will still be unemployed, prodigals will still be wandering and some may be on their way home.
Grief, discouragement, depression, anxiety, and chronic pain will still cause very real struggles.
Life-changing diagnoses will lurk in the shadows, waiting to be faced head on after some writers return from their mountain top experience.
A couple of writers will be wondering if they prepared enough meals for spouses who can’t cook. A bunch will feel guilty for not being around when kids need help with a project.
Some will be missing their new babies, missing celebrations or big announcements, and missing their comfortable beds.
Writers from all backgrounds, dealing with all kinds of situations, will all convene under the towering redwoods, inhaling the crisp air and knowing something is very different about this campus, this conference.
The Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference is as much a spiritual retreat as a business trip.
Every person attending the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, no matter what their role, will have been covered by prayers. Every single person.
So, we can approach these five to seven days with a mission to make a name for ourselves, focused only on what we can get out of the classes or what we can get out of the people we meet.
Or, we can relax and expect God to show up.
We can enjoy this incredible opportunity to grow as a writer and spiritually, take our writing to the next level, and confirm God’s calling on our lives.
We can ask the Holy Spirit to help us truly see the person sitting next to us in chapel, to listen attentively when someone’s sharing their heart, to pray for others, and notice those who look like they need a word of encouragement.
The most important thing we can do before and during the conference is P.R.A.Y. while we pray.
P: Pursue God more than publication
R: Remember our purpose is to use writing as a tool for ministry
A: Acknowledge and Appreciate God’s presence and the people around us
Y: Yield our agenda to God’s will and His leading
As we remain focused on God and others, we’ll be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit as we:
Pray for those attending and those staying home.
Pray for those preparing and those who feel utterly unprepared.
Pray for those celebrating new contracts, book launches, great reviews.
Pray for those finishing a manuscript and those receiving great feedback.
Pray for those who are discouraged enough to consider quitting.
Pray for the people we pass along the tree-lined walkways and the people God places directly on our path.
Pray for the people serving us and those we have the privilege to serve.
If we’re not attending the conference, we can pray for those who will have huge targets on their backs once the enemy figures out they’re serious about writing for God’s glory.
But if the Lord blesses us with the opportunity to attend the 2016 Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, we can enjoy every moment and guarantee our success by committing to P.R.A.Y. while we pray.
Who will join me in discovering the peace that comes through this powerful four letter word?
The Inspire Prayer Team will be praying for those attending the conference. Please add your prayer request in the comment section. Even if you can’t share details, God knows and cares and is listening to all our prayers.
Xochi (so-she) E. Dixon encourages and equips women to embrace grace and deepen their relationships with God and others, through prayerful study and life application of Scripture. Her work has been published in The Upper Room, ENCOUNTER—The Magazine, Devo ‘Zine, on the Deeper Waters blog, in three Inspire anthologies, and at www.xedixon.com.