This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at www.jenniferhudsontaylor.net.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Using Prayer in Christian Fiction


By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

When showing a character's faith, you will need to show his/her relationship with God. This includes how that person talks to God. Some of us think of prayer as long petitions of things we want and need, while others think of traditional prayers that sound really important with special words. Unless your character is a priest, these kind of prayers won't be necessary. Keep your characters' prayers brief and to the point, a sentence or two, but no more than a short paragraph.

Prayers don't always have to be inside a church, by one's bed side, or before a meal. Make it natural like real life. What situations have brought you to question God? Circumstances in life prompt us to seek Him. It could be the death of a loved one, a serious accident, healing for a loved one, help to pay a mountain of bills, guidance in making a huge decision. At those moments, did you stop and worry about what kind of words you needed to speak, or did you just let it out? Did you cry to Him? Shout at Him? Talk to Him as you would a friend? This is what your characters need to do.


Perhaps a character is relieved and joyful at how something turned out. Then show them speaking a sentence or two in a prayer of thankfulness or praising God. Using prayer for a Christian character is a great way to provide introspection and character growth.


There are times you might want to simply reference a prayer rather than showing the actual prayer. For instance, if a character is about to go to bed for the night, you might want to just mention that he said a prayer before he slipped into bed and then move on. You would especially want to do this if you'd already shown him praying before bed time in a previous chapter. Even though prayer is part of his nightly routine, you don't want to bore the reader by showing the same thing over and over. The reader will get the picture.
In everything that you write, be brief, but natural. Sometimes less, is more.

9 comments:

Congratulations on your debut novel! Looks like it's deserved and well-earned. The world certainly does need more good Christian fiction.

I just b/c a "fan" of yours on FB. What exactly does that mean? It isn't the same as a friend connection I learned. I am looking forward to seeing your book.

I am going to do an interview on my blog with Nicole O'Dell about her books in August. Would you want to consider something like that?

I ended the "Parenting Extremes" series a while back, but started another one "Encouraging Your Child's Faith." I only have one post on that theme yet, but will post more. Please visit if you get a chance.

This was a good post. I appreciate your Christian emphasis. wb

This is a very informative post! Thank you for sharing it!!! Wonderful news about your novel!!!! How exciting!!!

your book looks beautiful! I'm excited for you. I'll definitely be using your blog for tips! congratulations!

Joyln, Faith Imagined, and Tamara, Thank you for stopping by. I hope you get a chance to read Highland Blessings and that you'll like it. It's been hard to prove that Christian readers will not only read, but support European set historicals. Please join me and other CBA authors in showing that there is a market for these kind of books.

Warren, there is a definite difference between a friend and fan on FB. A friend is someone you've gotten to know, but a fan is someone who likes your work or what you do, but you don't have to personally know them. I've tried to send friend requests to a few people and they reply wanting to know if I know them. No, I don't always know them, but I'm trying to network, that's why I'm on FB. So I set up a fan page to get around that and to set those folks at ease. I can't blame them for trying to be cautious. There are a lot of crazy people in the world. But if you are my friend, I hope you will also be a fan of my fiction, too!

I'd be happy to do a blog interview. I'll pop over on your site and contact you there as well.

This is some great advice. I too believe strongly that sometimes less is more.

Great post, Jennifer. One of the quirks of my heroine is she prays often, and usually unintentionally outloud. Praying is one of her character traits, but it's done in a whimsical way.

If a character is a Christian, why not have them pray? It's something we should be doing anyway, so why can't our characters? I don't mean 3-page prayers, but enough to show that there is a relationship going on with the Unseen :-)

Prayers can be done anywhere at it can be a short one as long as it came from the heart! Your post was very informative and very enlightening! I hope to hear from you more!