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Describing Uncontrived Prayer

I ran across this post from Dave Long on a non-contrived way to describe prayer.

The prayer that follows is in narrative form. This is very important, I
feel. Too often, writers feel compelled to put prayer into dialogue. It
is spoken out loud or in the mind, but it comes out word for word.
Personally, I feel this misses the point of prayer, which isn’t
necessarily the words said, but what is truly meant. Narrative allows
the meaning of the prayer, what God hears, to be shared with the
reader. It’s a nice little trick and ends up sounding less stilted and
more substantial than words that are spoken. See this portion from the
book:

She began at the beginning. She prayed for forgiveness for defying her father in marrying Teddy. Her father loved her, that was all, and he hadn’t wanted her to move so far away. She
had done it blithely, sure her father would come around, but he never had….

This is just a small example. Yvette continues praying, eventually getting to her guilt. Then, the supernatural:

She had just finished praying, still high from Maria-Jose’s Chesterfield,
when she felt at once the heaviness of what she had undertaken to keep
from Teddy, and a rushing upward in the top of her head. She caught her
breath, and looked down, and saw her own kneeling figure at the window
below. She could study the part in the dark hair on the top of her
head: it was a little crooked. She no longer felt the aching in her
knees—she no longer felt anything. She willed her body to look up, but
it stayed in the attitude of prayer, while she floated above.

It’s a small moment, and precisely rendered. The detail of looking at the part in her hair, tells us all we need to know of her perspective. The whole thing lasts a few moments and then Yvette seeks out the Mother
Superior to help her understand what happens. The nun’s response is to tell Yvette never to do that again, which confirms the mysticism of the moment, tingeing it with power and danger. Throughout her life Yvette
returns to that moment as a true spiritual experience.

Full article here at Faith*In*Fiction

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