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Never Underestimate the Power of a Prayer

By Sharlene MacLaren

I didn’t write my first word of fiction until age 52. I had just come through a year of clinical depression (1999-2000), and I knew I needed a purpose, something that would make me excited about getting up in the morning. “God, please reveal to me what I can do for You,” I prayed. “I long to serve You better, take the focus off myself, and make an impact on others that will have eternal value.” I recall surrendering everything to Jesus in that moment. I even envisioned myself walking to the foot of the cross and carefully laying down that prayer request. I definitely wanted, even needed, to make my life count for Jesus.

One night not long after praying that specific prayer, I had a dream that I had written a novel. I thought it such an odd dream and attributed it to my having read so many books lately, so I dismissed it. But then I dreamt it again – and again. What in the world? I could write, but I’d certainly never written a novel. In fact, the last time I had dabbled in writing fiction was as a 16-year-old when I could fill up a spiral notebook with teenage romance stories! Not since then had I attempted to write even the shortest story.

I started wondering what I would write about if I did write a novel, and a whole plot developed in my head, so I decided to sit down at my trusty desktop and at least try. The second I put my fingers to the keyboard, a seed rooted itself in my soul, and my passion was born! Yes, it happened that fast.

I did not publish for six years after that, so, no, just because God gave me a writing gift didn’t mean He’d also wrapped it up in a neat little package, tied a pretty bow around it, then magically dropped my first book into the hands of an editor and said, “Here, publish this!” Ha. No, there was work to be done on my part, conferences and workshops to attend, submissions to be made to which I received plenty of rejections letters, books to read on the subject, more work on my part, more rejection, acquiring an agent, more practice, more honing, and the list grew. Finally, the day came when my publishing debut became a reality, and guess what–I was 58 years old!

Now, 18 published books later… I’m still going, and, yes, this year I’ll be 69, and my 19th book will release in 2019. I’m humbled and honored to be serving God in this manner.

I tell you this story for one reason only. If you have a deep longing in your heart to do something for the Lord, whether it be writing, speaking, teaching, editing, publishing–and you want to make a difference in the lives of others–and you pray, “Here I am, God, take me, use me,” He is going to run with that prayer. You can be sure of it. (Your age never matters. God doesn’t care how old/young you are. He just wants your surrendered hearts! That’s it, friends.) Are you fully surrendered to God’s desires for your life? Are you willing to do the work that comes with God’s gifts? He gives the gift, but He wants you to share it.

“But now, O LORD, You are our father;
we are the clay, and You are our potter;
and we all are the work of Your hand.”
Isaiah 64:8

Sharlene MacLaren launched into writing in the summer of 2000, and since then has published almost 20 novels, most of which are 3- and 4-book historical series. Besides writing, she loves to read, travel with her husband of almost 42 years, shop for home décor, spend time with her two married daughters and her lovely five grandchildren, and stay busy in her home church working with women’s groups and teaching Bible studies. She has traveled the country doing book-signings, radio and TV interviews, and attending book retail conventions and writing conferences. Shar lives with her husband Cecil and their two beloved pets in Spring Lake, Michigan. You can contact her at sharlenemaclaren@yahoo.com.

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9 Responses to Never Underestimate the Power of a Prayer

  1. I LOVE this post! It gives me hope that I AM meant to write a novel. The feeling hasn’t gone away and I’ve had it for years. I am 51 years old. I started writing again in November 2013 and have several mostly finished novels that I struggle knowing how to make them readable. I struggle with confidence in my ability to plot a decent novel and edit it to the point of being publishable.

    I would LOVE it if you would pray for me and my writing that it may glorify God.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story.

  2. John Tucker says:

    What an exciting adventure God had in store for you! I’m so proud of you! Your “prayer” article is amazing and so helpful. Thank you for reminding me of how faithful God is. I’m still writing, even though the process is slow going. And I’m learning the benefit of reading more than I ever have in the past. Thanks for your post.

  3. Thank you, Sharlene, for sharing this beautiful and encouraging story. God is so good to us–when we remember to seek His will first! I love that He has given you these stories to write and share. What a grand adventure to allow yourself to be used by God!

  4. Perseverance does pay off with lots of prayer to keep us going. Add a little patience to the mix and you have the formula for God’s plan to work in your life. We traveled similar roads, but I do have a few years on you. LOL 12 to be exact.

    Our stories are so similar and proof that God works in His own time and gives us our heart’s desire on His timetable and not ours.

    Love you girl, and so glad we’re friends. Wish I could give you a big hug in person, but it’ll have to one from cyber-space. 🙂

    Keep writing those books!

  5. Sharlene, thank you so much for sharing this encouragement. Sometimes I forget the beauty and power of prayer. I’ve recently been pondering how prayer should really be more a part of my dreaming. So thank you for this post!!

  6. Ooooo! AND CONGRATULATIONS on all the books and lives you’ve been able to touch over the years! What a gift. 🙂

  7. What an encouraging message! Thank you for sharing your heart. I am 56 and writing my first novel. 🙂

  8. Carol says:

    At 67, while taking college courses, I discovered these words which have propelled me into taking Professional Writing courses at Taylor University:
    “Your purpose in life is not to have babies or go to church BUT to reveal the nature and character of God for all eternity.” AMEN! I said to that so here I am studying fiction writing and loving it. Hopefully senioritis will not prevent me from pursuing something I have always wanted to do…..especially having a more effective way to bring attention to God.

    Thanks for the encouragement!!!!!!

  9. I am SO BLESSED by all of your kind remarks about my blog article. You dear people just need to stay true to your hearts and to God’s call upon your lives. He has marvelous things in store for each of us. Thank you for taking the time to respond.