Jabez and Walmart
Back in 2000, Bruce Wilkinson wrote a little book called the Prayer of Jabez. Many of you are familiar with it, some are not. It was a runaway bestseller and took the Christian world by storm . . . and controversy. Seems Wilkinson’s theology came under fire. Regardless, many people started praying Jabez’s prayer (found in 1 Chronicles 4:10) asking for God to bless them and expecting great things to happen. Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn’t. I’m not going to debate the theological aspects of this here, but the whole prayer did get me thinking.
Here’s the prayer:
Oh, that You would bless me, indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil that I may not cause pain.
You see, Wilkinson brought attention to this all-but-unknown prayer right as I began getting serious about my writing. I felt God calling me to write. At the time I wasn’t sure what that would look like but I knew His hand was one me . . . so I followed Jabez’s example and prayed for a blessing, I prayed for God to expand my circle of influence (my “territory”), and prayed for Him to keep me from harm and evil. I didn’t copy Jabez’s prayer word for word but the spirit of it was there. And, honestly, I didn’t pray it every day. It was no ritual for me. Sometimes, weeks would go by before I prayed for God’s blessing.
Now, I know some of you may think this is all humbug and that’s fine. I’m not going to argue with you. To each his own. But for me personally, the attention brought to that tiny prayer in the Bible shined light on an area of my own prayer life and faith that was lacking.
I’ve been praying for God’s blessing on my writing for 10 years now. Let me quickly run down how things have played out. This is time to bear witness to the faithfulness of God.
I started out unpublished and unknown, of course. My first writing was for my church newsletter, a very limited audience. From there I moved to a column and feature writing for my local newspaper. Then I began doing some writing for websites–devotionals, inspirational articles, news articles, anything. My circle of influence was growing and my readership with it. Soon after all that I wrote inspirational articles for a candle company that made scented candles that came with devotional booklets.
In 2007 things really took off with the signing of my first contract for a novel with Realms/Strang Book Group. In 2008 by first novel was published. It was in some of the major stores but since I was unknown in the fiction world it was difficult to find. The next year I signed another contract, then a two-book contract, then a four-book contract. With each new book more and more stores stocked them. I started doing more radio and blog interviews, more speaking and teaching, more signings.
My circle was ever-expanding, growing wider and wider and with it, my audience. I was being blessed and I knew it.
And now the next step. This week I found out Walmart ordered a special 2-in-1 edition of my books The Hunted and Scream. It will be both books in one binding sold exclusively at Walmarts across the country. And things are happening fast. The book will ship on December 29 and be in stores in January. To get in with the largest retailer in the world is kind of a big deal, a major widening of that circle. Again, God has blessed my writing as He has continued to do these past ten years.
I realize all this comes at the hand of God. I’ve done none of it. He deserves all the credit.
Look for the book in Walmart in January. I don’t know which stores will be carrying it but it may be your local one. It will be at a discounted price, of course, and is a special edition. And hey, if you’re in the book section and someone else is perusing the titles, why not point it out and say, “You know, these books are quite the read. You may enjoy them. And I hear the author is a real whiz-bang guy.” Okay, you can leave that last part off.