A Writer’s Magnificat

How often do you thank God for the words you write? The ideas you’ve had? The things you’ve published?

There is no better time to do so than the Christmas season, and the end of a year and beginning of a new year. And there may be no better way to do so than adapting the Magnificat as your prayer.

The what?

The Magnificat is a name given to the song of Mary after her cousin Elizabeth greeted her as “the mother of my Lord” (Luke 1:43, KJV).  The name comes from the first word in the Latin translation of the hymn, which is rendered in English as “magnifies.” It is one of the oldest Christian hymns in existence, and is still used in the liturgies of the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox churches.

The original text is found in Luke 1:46-55, but the following is one way a writer may choose to adapt Mary’s canticle for a strikingly appropriate “Writer’s Magnificat”:

“My writing magnifies the Lord,
and my words rejoice in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.

Surely, from now on all generations ought to call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.

His mercy is for those who revere him
from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts
and inspired the humble with poetry, prose, and fiction.

He has brought down the powerful from their bestseller lists,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the prayerful with ideas,
and made a way for His message to be heard.

He has helped his servant [your name]
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
that His word ‘always produces fruit’ (Isaiah 55:11, NLT) and will prosper everywhere He sends it.”
(adapted from Luke 1:46-55)

It is a fitting prayer for any time, but particularly for the Christmas season, don’t you think?

 

40 Responses to A Writer’s Magnificat

  1. Brennan S. McPherson December 20, 2017 at 4:30 am #

    So you’re telling me you changed a Bible passage? . . . blasphemy.

    But in all seriousness, that’s very interesting, and definitely quite a helpful prayer! I’ll be using it in my mornings from now on. You always have such spiritually uplifting posts, Bob. I really appreciate it. Blessings this Christmas season! Stay safe and healthy.

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler December 20, 2017 at 7:03 am #

      Well, I figure Jesus did it, and I follow him, so I can do it. 🙂

      Thanks for the kind comment.

  2. Sharon Cowen December 20, 2017 at 5:30 am #

    It’s wonderful! Thank you, Bob!

  3. karen Saari December 20, 2017 at 5:43 am #

    That blessed me so much – thank you. Christmas Blessings.

  4. Loretta Eidson December 20, 2017 at 5:58 am #

    Amen! This prayer should be read every day.

  5. Joey Rudder December 20, 2017 at 6:03 am #

    What a humbling, beautiful post… Maybe it’s just me, but this had me in tears.

    Thank you, Bob. God bless you and Merry Christmas.

  6. Shirlee Abbott December 20, 2017 at 6:04 am #

    I often picture myself placing my written words at the foot of the Throne of Grace. Words that don’t honor God glaringly stand out (humbling!). Thank you, Bob, for the reminder to put them there, not just for God’s approval, but in gratitude.

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler December 20, 2017 at 7:06 am #

      You’re welcome, and thank YOU for the comment.

  7. Rachel McDaniel December 20, 2017 at 7:13 am #

    I love Mary’s song! I have a song on repeat play by Chris Tomlin which pulls portions from it called – My Soul Magnifies the Lord. Acknowledging His favor and grace helps keep things in proper perspective for me. Without Him, I can do nothing. It’s a holy poke to the ego and a gentle nudge to the heart to be faithful in giving thanks. This was a wonderful post, Bob. Merry Christmas!

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler December 20, 2017 at 7:21 am #

      Rachel, what a great phrase: “a holy poke to the ego.” You should be a writer! 🙂

  8. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser December 20, 2017 at 7:32 am #

    Really nice, Bob. Worth printing and framing.

  9. Carol Ashby December 20, 2017 at 7:35 am #

    Lovely, Bob! When we look at our sales figures, may we never just see the numbers. May we always think of each individual reader with a prayer that what we wrote drew him or her closer to God.

  10. Lori Altebaumer December 20, 2017 at 8:01 am #

    What a beautiful and humbling message to meditate upon, just like Mary pondered upon the Word she carried. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Mark Alan Leslie December 20, 2017 at 9:13 am #

    I love this prayer. When I remember to pray before starting my writing, it always goes smoothly. And, yes, without His inspiration, His promptings, His mercy and grace, I’d never have been published. Thanks so much for this post, Bob.

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler December 20, 2017 at 10:36 am #

      Thank you, Mark. And congratulations on your latest book release, The Three Sixes.

  12. Patricia Beal December 20, 2017 at 9:25 am #

    So that’s why “Ballet Magnificat!” is called “Ballet Magnificat!” Now I get it. Good grief. I’m so clueless… Thanks for making me one tad smarter. I still write from a place of mega brokenness (and perhaps always will), so it’s easy to beg for every word and know that whatever good shows up on the page is from God. What I bring to the writing desk is an autistic brain, my English as a third language, and the baby faith of one born again well after halftime. God gives the words, shapes the stories, and blesses the journey with people who help make the dream come true.

    Magnificat.

    It’s easy for me to be thankful for the miracle I witness daily in front of the computer. Words show up. Stories take shape. People enter my writing life unexpectedly and bless it–evidence that the call is still on and that God’s still in it. But it’s much harder to consider and be thankful for the miracle in each reader’s heart. I read reviews and enjoy it truly, but I don’t always get to witness that part of my words’ journey. It takes resolve to see God’s extraordinary work beyond the numbers, doesn’t it?

    “His word ‘always produces fruit’ (Isaiah 55:11, NLT) and will prosper everywhere He sends it.”

    Thanks, Bob. It’s a fitting prayer for any time 🙂

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler December 20, 2017 at 10:37 am #

      Yes, it is, Patricia. Thank you for the comment.

  13. Kathy Sheldon Davis December 20, 2017 at 10:15 am #

    “He has brought down the powerful from their bestseller lists,
    and lifted up the lowly.”

    I love this! He is God, and he will do what he will do.

    I’m not God, and I will work hard and love well.

    Thanks, Bob! Blessed Christmas to you.

  14. Joyce K. Ellis December 20, 2017 at 10:28 am #

    I love it when we can “personalize” Scripture like this. Your posts are always wonderful, Bob, but this is one is extremely uplifting. We, as Christian writers, who deal with words, the Words of Scripture, and the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us, can, of all people, relate and revel in this song of Mary’s and sing it with her at Christmastime and always. I wish you and your family an awe-filled Christmas, Bob.

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler December 20, 2017 at 10:38 am #

      Right backatcha, Joyce. Thanks for the comment, and enjoy the frozen northlands this winter.

  15. Robin E. Mason December 20, 2017 at 10:48 am #

    Bob, this is, well, magnificent! thank you for sharing, and Merry Christmas!

  16. Nancy B. Kennedy December 20, 2017 at 11:07 am #

    This is definitely a welcome and positive spin! Be grateful for your past work, not anxious about what hasn’t been picked up. But if you’re in the mood to be spiteful, there’s no better poem than Clive James’s “The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered.” https://web.cs.dal.ca/~johnston/poetry/bookofmyenemy.html

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler December 20, 2017 at 6:33 pm #

      Nancy, James’s piece is perfectly delightful. Thanks for reminding me of it.

      • Nancy B. Kennedy December 21, 2017 at 5:16 am #

        “Chill the champagne and polish the crystal goblets!
        The book of my enemy has been remaindered
        And I am glad.”

  17. Linda Riggs Mayfield December 20, 2017 at 11:09 am #

    I don’t think I’ve ever read another prayer that was as convicting as your adaptation. Every day, my attitude about the writing task set before me, though it pales in significance in comparison, needs to be the same as Mary’s attitude about the formidable task before her: to GOD be the glory! Thank you, Bob. Joyful Christmas! 🎄

  18. Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D December 20, 2017 at 11:24 am #

    Love it, Bob! Thank you for sharing it and for being there to encourage us all year long!

  19. Norma Brumbaugh December 20, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

    Well-said. All to the glory of God. Thank you.
    Merry Christmas!

  20. Jeannie Waters December 20, 2017 at 3:22 pm #

    What a wonderful use of Scripture to acknowledge the amazing fact that God chooses us.

  21. Nancy Ellen Hird December 21, 2017 at 11:48 am #

    Thank you. Thank you. It is hard to believe many days that we are actually in partnership with the Lord of the Universe. It seems so improbable and yet–we are. Thank you for reminding us our words and our stories are fearfully and wonderfully made. They bless us first and then they will bless others as they make their way into the world. Not because we are so marvelous, but because He is so awesome and He has, totally beyond our comprehension, chosen us as His partners.

  22. Sandra Allen Lovelace December 22, 2017 at 5:33 am #

    Magnificat indeed. Thank you for turning my eyes upward and my heart deeper.

  23. Edna Davidsen December 29, 2017 at 11:49 am #

    Dear Bob

    It’s been a while since I was on the blog. . .

    Today I took the time to read your latest blog post “A Writer’s Magnificat”.

    Here’s my comment.

    Initially, you ask:

    “How often do you thank God for the words you write? The ideas you’ve had? The things you’ve published?”

    Well, I’ve experienced going from nothing to being happy with how I write today, and I thank God for it daily because I know He’s the reason for what I have.

    Admitted; I was not familiar with what a Magnificat was before I read this blog post.

    I guess I learned something new today (like I always do when I take the time to stop by the Steve Laube-blog.

    Yes, I think this is a hymn fitting for the Christmas season.

    The other day I learned from a a pastor that the organ in our modern churches is a relatively new invention.

    After this reminder, I think many of the songs (and lyrics) may have been more beautiful when used without any instrument.

    But I guess that’s another discussion.

    Thank you to all of you behind the Steve Laube-blog for what you guys do for the online Christian community.

    I’ll share on Twitter.

    Blessings!

    Edna Davidsen

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