Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; And to the one who knocks,
the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)
In preparation for my Zoom meeting with a literary agent, I constructed a 30-page book proposal that I could share if asked to do so. For those of you unfamiliar with a book proposal, it is a document used to convince an agent or publisher that your book idea is (1.) economically viable and needed in today’s market, and (2.) that you are perfectly suited to write it. Among other things, it contains a chapter-by-chapter synopsis of the proposed book that highlights the topics to be addressed in each chapter. And that’s where I hit a snag.
Over the last year, I’ve been collecting stories from people who have heard from God in various ways: during prayer, in nature, when a door closed, as an audible voice, etc. But the chapter I had entitled Dreams and Visions was blank. In truth, I had one awesome dream story, but the person who shared it had not yet given me permission to use it. Since I have no personal experience with spiritual dreams or visions, I was caught between a rock and a hard place.
I figured I had two options: pray or delete the chapter entirely. With the meeting quickly approaching, I chose the first option.
Yes. You read that correctly. I chose the first option.
When David faced Goliath, he called on God to claim the victory, saying to the mammoth Philistine, “You have come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” (1 Samuel 17:45). When a vast army from Edom came to make war with Judah, King Jehoshaphat turned to God in prayer. “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (2 Chronicles 20:12). And after Paul and Silas had been flogged and chained in a jail cell, they would be found “praying and singing hymns to God” (Acts 16:25). Did prayer make any difference?
You bet it did! David slew Goliath with one stone (1 Samuel 17:49). King Jehoshaphat went into battle only to find that his enemies had already slaughtered each other (2 Chronicles 20:22-23). And God used a violent earthquake to loosen the chains and open the prison doors for Paul and Silas to walk free (Act 16:26).
God did not have to answer my prayer, but I prayed in confidence knowing he could, and he would if it would help build his kingdom. Then I waited in expectation.
Within days, I received an email from a church member. I had been blind copied and did not know who else or how many others were on the receiving end. Without getting into details, this church member shared a dream he had experienced the night before that contained a message for someone—but he didn’t know who. Hence the reason for the email. In a rather cryptic way, he asked for the identified person to contact him. Though the details of his dream did not pertain to me, I suspected that God had provided me with a willing subject for my book.
Several days later, while talking to a friend on the phone, she mentioned that she had recently met a woman who had visions. “Really?” I squealed. “Would she be willing to talk to me?” Once again, I suspected God’s provision.
It was no coincidence when I ended up interviewing both these individuals and wrote the Dreams and Visions chapter of my book within hours. The words simply flowed. And why shouldn’t they? God had provided!
Christian author, Karen Ehman, tells aspiring authors to remember to pray before they write. This is an important reminder for everyone, not just authors. Doctors should pray before they see a patient. Teachers should pray before students enter the classroom. Grocery store clerks should pray before each shift. Parents should pray each time their child leaves the house. Prayer helps center us for the road ahead by inviting God to take the wheel. And I must give a shout out to my pest control agent who carries his Bible on the front seat of his truck and prays over each home he visits. (Thank you, David!)
Needless to say, I prayed before my meeting with the literary agent. At the end of our meeting, she asked me to send her my book proposal. Yea! In addition, I had to send in three sample chapters, and the Dreams and Visions chapter made the cut.
What happens next is anyone’s guess. But I know this much: Had I been left to my own devices it would have taken me weeks—maybe months—to find someone who hears from God through dreams or visions. So, while I would like to get signed by an agent, I am content knowing that God heard my prayer and chose to answer it.
THE SONG THAT COMES TO MIND IS God Who Listens by Chris Tomlin.
Lyrics: “Yes, I am praying to a God who listens.”