It seems incredible that it was three years ago this month that Elizabeth Musser sent the e-mail that launched our wonderful online prayer group! There are six of us who meet via Skype each month to pray, study, and encourage each other in our writing careers and in life in general.
Corralling six busy authors even for an hour each month is easier said than done! But here’s how we’ve made it work, and some practical tips we’ve learned along the way:
• It works well to have one person manage the Skype group call and initiate the call to each other member. (Remind members to have their sound on and their Skype app open and updated to the newest version. If connections are problematic, sometimes it’s best to have everyone hang up and start over.) We had many technical difficulties in the beginning, but as we’ve learned and Skype has improved, things work remarkably well for having six people on the same “party line.” :)
• We try to keep our gathering scheduled for the same time (first Thursday of the month) and the same time of day. It’s tricky when our time zones span nine hours, including Elizabeth who is often an ocean away in France! Even for those of us stateside, we are in at least three different time zones. We’ve found that 3 p.m. CST (my zone) works well for everyone (even though it’s always fascinating to see Elizabeth in the dark in France while Susan has just finished lunch in California!)
• We have a sort of unspoken rule that if half or more of us aren’t able to make the date, we try to find another workable date, but since we all have work and family obligations, book deadlines, and emergencies, usually we just go ahead with whoever can be there.
• While we’re always open to the Spirit’s leading, we do try to follow a loose schedule in the interest of keeping the meeting to one hour. Sometimes one of us will need to slip out early, but our usual format is: brief greetings, a short devotion, updates and prayer requests from each member, then responding to those requests with a time of prayer for each member.
• One of the group takes notes of the prayer requests that were shared and adds them to an ongoing Google Doc that any member of the group can access to edit or add to. This also allows those who weren’t able to be on the Skype call any given day to catch up with the others and add their own prayer requests and news. It’s been quite encouraging to read back through the document and see how the Lord has answered prayers through the years! It’s also great knowing we have the details needed to pray for one another throughout the month.
• We also have an email group so we can send reminders about our meeting time, or share more urgent prayer requests between Skype gatherings.
• In a rather stressful and ever-changing industry, it’s wonderful to have dear friends that we can confide in and who understand the issues we deal with. Of course, privacy and confidentiality are essential and everything that is shared is understood to be kept in the strictest of confidence.
I’ve been writing for 25 years now and sometimes I wonder how I ever survived without the prayer support these dear friends offer. Some of us came to the group as longtime friends, some of us have never met face-to-face, but the sense of camaraderie we feel is a blessing and a gift we do not take for granted.
To enter the grand prize (all six novels) enter each giveaway of the Transformational Fiction Giveaway Tour. Visit my sister in faith and fiction Sharon Garlough Brown for her post about our group's successes and hardships—and for a chance to win her novel An Extra Mile!
Ends Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 11:59pm CST. All Transformational Fiction Giveaway winners will be announced Monday, February 11, 2019, and will have 48 hours to claim their prize or thereby forfeit to the runner up. Participants must enter all 6 giveaways to be considered for the grand prize drawing. Limited to US residents only. Must be 18 or older to enter.