Story, Value, and Becoming More Real
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The Courage to Write: A Prayer

June 17, 2021

Nicole Howe



Here I sit staring at the blank page again. I know it is an invitation from You, pregnant with potential. Something new, waiting to be birthed.

But it doesn’t always feel that way. Before it is a canvas, it is a chasm. It’s every longing I’ve ever had looking back at me. Every unmet need. Every question that’s gone unanswered. Every blank stare.

It is white noise. The hollow hum of space. 

My heart quickens. My hands shake. I long to bring life to this void, but how? The flood of voices rush in – a cacophony of truth and untruth, blessings and curses, life and death. And before I’ve written a single word, I am at war with myself. Chaotic and churning.

It all gets lodged in my throat, and I am lost to my own voice. My body is a grave, and my thoughts are buried there.

Why am I so afraid? Have I forgotten how to be honest?

I am afraid because I know I am dust and dirt. I am afraid the ink will spill and words, words, endless words, will lie flat and uninhabited. Dispirited. Dead on arrival.

I am afraid my words will be stillborn.

So I keep them buried. Forever buried inside the womb of my own mind. Never to be born at all. What could I possibly say that hasn’t already been said?

God, break me free from the terror of my blank page.

You spoke the whole world into existence in an act of poetry. You filled the hollow hum of space with the music of the spheres. You hovered over the chaotic waters and breathed light and life into the void. And then you invited the dust and dirt to dance. 

I want to be your apprentice-poet.

Will you bring these dry bones to life?

Unlock these dusty words from the prison of the page. Help the images and ideas, metaphors and sentences, swirl together into a living, breathing organism. Make them sing.

But first, let this blank page be my altar.

Give me the courage to die. Let the words lie still if they must. May I trust in You, the God of the Resurrection, to resuscitate them when You choose. Come, Holy Spirit, come. Inhabit me, fill all the cracks and chasms in my own soul.

Breathe it all to Life.


The featured image is courtesy of Julie Jablonski and used with her kind permission for Cultivating and The Cultivating Project.


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  1. Amy says:

    Amen. Oh, amen, Nicole. I can tell that this prayer came from a deep place, because it speaks to my deep places, and gives those places new words. Thank you for this offering. What a gift.

  2. Nicole, thank you so much for sharing this! I’m going to print it and use it during my prayer time. I’m in a season where I want to write, but I’m not quite sure what to write…nor do I even have the time or mental space to begin a new novel just yet. And so I am once again learning to trust the Lord with my storytelling!

  3. Julie Jablonski says:

    “I want to be Your apprentice-poet, but first let this blank page be my altar.” Oh wow! This is beautiful and profound, Nicole. A gorgeous prayer from the heart of an artist. One I will return to. Thank you.

  4. Emily says:

    Let this blank page be my altar…

    Thank you for giving my mind a place to begin 💜

  5. thank you for all your kind words, friends! It makes my heart glad to know this piece touched you.

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