Ever been tempted to pray for a fictional character? If so, don’t resist the impulse; use it.
Posted in , Dec 11, 2017
A strange thing happened to me recently, and it was while I was reading. I was engrossed in a novel, and the main character was (as tends to happen in good fiction) in a world of trouble. As I read, it was getting later and later, and the next day promised to be a demanding workday. So I forced myself to stop reading, close the book, turn off the light and try to go to sleep. As I was drifting off, I began to pray, a common experience for me. But this particular instance was unusual because I found myself praying for the fictional character.
Sounds silly, doesn’t it? For one thing, the person I was praying for didn’t even exist. I stopped. I smiled at my foolishness and turned my mind elsewhere. But my thoughts quickly returned to the book (good fiction will do that). So this time, rather than try to ignore it or shake it off, I went with it. And a funny thing happened.
As I prayed for that character, other people in similarly dire circumstances came to mind. So I prayed for them. One thought led to another and I was soon caught up in a whirlwind of intercession that I felt at the time—and still do—was led by the Spirit of God. I prayed for people close to me, but also for people I hadn’t thought about for a long time. I even found myself praying for people whose circumstances I didn’t know, but I prayed anyway, asking the Spirit to “fill in the blanks,” so to speak and to intercede for them with knowledge I lacked and “with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26, KJV).
Maybe it seems weird to you; it did to me at the time. But I’ve repeated the experience since and have discovered that fiction and fictional characters can take me to new places in prayer—places I may have never reached otherwise.
So if you are ever tempted to pray while reading—even if it is a novel, and even if the person you want to pray for is fictional—go ahead. Don’t resist the impulse; use it. The Spirit of God may use the book or story you’re reading to take you someplace new.