I received a letter the other day from a man in prison. We receive them fairly regularly; prisoners are allowed to write to request books. Since they’re not allowed to contact the authors directly, the letters come to us. Jesus had something to say about showing mercy and love to those in prison. When we get these letters we send the book or books they request.
The prisoner who wrote this letter, though, wasn’t asking for a book. He had been reading a book about prayer, The Voice and Two Hours on Tuesday by Pamela Lash. Because of this book the prisoner was learning to pray and had a question for the author. I could tell from the letter that this guy’s spiritual life, whatever it was that landed him in prison, was taking a profound turn for the better. Reading Pam’s book played a part in that. A life had been changed.
Currency like that, for us as a publisher and for our authors, is greater than any dollars we’ll ever earn.
As the late Paul Harvey famously quipped, let me tell you “the rest of the story.”
I want to tell you a little about Pamela Lash, the author of The Voice and Two Hours on Tuesday.
Several years ago Pam and a few friends began walking and praying. Walking in and around the State Capital, in and around bars, in and around drug houses, in and around Masonic Lodges, in and around city government buildings – anywhere their presence and their prayers could have an effect. And it did. They changed lives in their community and beyond.
Pam had a profound story to share, several stories actually, of changed lives, saved lives and healed communities. She contacted me about publishing the book that would tell these stories and provide advice to other believers for “prayer walking” their own communities. Her story, in a book, could light a flame that would spread far beyond her Indiana town, across a nation, across a continent, maybe further.
Pam had a story, but not much else, certainly not any of the “requirements” to becoming a published author.
- Pam didn’t have the money to publish a book. She lived off of her Social Security check; it was enough to keep her fed and sheltered but not much else.
- Pam didn’t have email.
- She didn’t have a website or an “audience.”
- Pam was in her seventies, she had health issues and she needed surgery.
- Pam was not a good candidate for publishing.
But she had a story she knew God wanted her to share with the world … and she had a few friends who believed in her.
When she called me she told me she didn’t have the money to publish her book. I told her not to worry about it; that if her book was meant to be published it would be. Finances have a way of showing up when a story is ready to share.
She sent me her manuscript, I read it, she was right: it was an amazing, inspiring story. But she didn’t have the money to publish it and she didn’t have the audience or a way of creating an audience to sell her book if it was published.
I told Pam not to worry about it. If she really felt like God had wanted her to write this book, finding finances to publish it wouldn’t be a problem. I suggested she pray about it. After all, her life was full of miracles as a result of her prayer walking, why not this?
A few weeks later Pam called me. Her friend Cindy asked if she could cover the cost of publishing Pam’s book. Cindy had seen the lives of others touched and the town itself transformed through Pam’s prayer walking Cindy believed the story needed to be told. We published the book.
How does this story end? It doesn’t. The first printing of The Voice and Two Hours on Tuesday went faster than we expected. We’ve just about run out of inventory from the second printing and we’re planning the third. Pam is still prayer walking and changing her community through the power of those prayers. Lives are also being touched outside of her community through the stories in her book. I was reminded of that … again … from a letter I received the other day from a man in prison.
Whenever God gives you a mission, in Pam’s case prayer walking and writing her book, He provides the means to accomplish the mission. Your job is to everything within your power to complete it. I believe He holds us responsible for that, but not for those things beyond our power. For those things He reserves His mercy and grace and supply.
Do your job, allow God to do His.
And a little prayer walking wouldn’t hurt. 😉