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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Pros and Cons (08/14/14)

TITLE: The Power of Prayer
By Julene Celander


The Power of Prayer

Clickety clack, clickety clack, don’t look back! Clickety clack, clickety clack, you are on the right track! As the Number 3 train left Union Station in Chicago and picked up speed, Ermaline began to wonder if she had made the right decision.

The Southwestern Chief was carrying her to Union Station in Los Angeles. It seemed funny to her that she was leaving Union Station, to arrive in Union Station…like she was going nowhere. Only the trip to nowhere was going to last forty hours, seven minutes, and fifteen seconds.

She once again slid her list out of her overnight bag and rechecked the pros against the cons. On paper the pros had won. But in her head she still wasn’t sure. She had given up a perfectly good advertising career to become a screen writer. Maybe it was too big a jump from writing ad copy to screen copy no matter how many plays she had written for the local church theatre group.

Her family and friends, who she knew she would miss dearly, encouraged her so she was on the train listening to the train ride the rails and making up words to the steady rhythm. Clickety clack, clickety clack, I’ve got your back. Clickety clack, clickety clack, you have the knack.

The train roared on and Ermaline got comfortable in her small cabin as she watched the world go by her window. She knew the train followed the old Route 66 highway and that meant she would get to observe a lot of America and the beauty of it.

WOOOOO, WOOOOO, don’t be blue! WOOOOO, WOOOOO, I love you! Her thoughts turned to the little church she left behind and all the brothers and sisters she loved so dearly. Her pastor had given her the address and phone number of a fellow pastor he knew and encouraged Ermaline to contact him once she arrived and became settled.

Hopefully that would become the biggest pro about her move to California. She knew God was with her no matter where she was and her faith became another pro for her move. She also knew that God would take care of her if she lived for Him and always put Him first. Yes, God could certainly tip the pros in her favor if she was faithful.

As Ermaline knelt beside the little bunk in her cabin she prayed. “Dear Heavenly Father I trust you with my life and put it in your hands. Please stay near as I enter a new phase in my life and lead me down the path that is best for me. I still have a decision to make and I know you will give me an answer before I step off this train. Whatever you will me to do, please let it be to Your Honor and Glory and according to Your will. Thank you, dear Father, for always providing and taking such good care of me. Thank you for the many blessings you shower down upon me daily. Please keep my family and friends safely wrapped in Your strong capable arms and away from harm. In Your Son’s most precious name, Amen.”

Venturing out to find the dining car, Ermaline rounded a corner and found a woman in tears. It was always in Ermaline’s nature to help whoever needed help and to do whatever she could. “Are you alright, Miss?”

A shaky voice replied. “Noooo. I can’t seem to quit crying and I am not sure what it is that is making me cry in the first place!”
“Let’s go get some dinner and we can talk.” Ermaline stated as she helped the woman stand and led her to the dining car.

During dinner they talked and the woman wanted to know where the joy that oozed from Ermaline came. Ermaline was exceedingly excited to tell the woman about her Jesus and what He had done not only for her, but for every sinner on the planet. She explained her joy came from Jesus. The women prayed together and the stranger accepted Jesus as her Savior.

The stranger was an agent headed back to Hollywood. She told Ermaline she should write about the truth in God’s Word and that she would gladly make sure her screen plays got to the right people. Ermaline looked heavenward and said, “Thank you dear Lord!”

Ermaline stepped off the train knowing she had gotten her answer. She was going to be a Faith Writer.

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This article has been read 180 times
Member Comments
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C D Swanson 08/21/14
I loved this tender tale. And, I most especially love a "happy ending." Great job with the topic.

God bless~
Rhonda Burns08/21/14
What I loved about your story was your character's devotion to God. Her willingness to step out in faith and take a journey despite her fears and doubts. I found my self wanting to know more about the stranger she came across. I'd like to have known her story as well. It is always nice to leave the reader wanting more! Nice job.
Larry Whittington08/21/14
Well told story. It could even be a real life story.

Serving/helping others is the same as serving/helping Jesus.

When a person believes who Jesus is, continue to urge them to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit. Many times they will be like the Ethiopian on the road to Gaza. When he believed who Jesus was he said, "Here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?" He wanted to have his sins removed and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

I liked the real life setting of your story.
Robert Douglas Brown08/22/14
You hit the nail on the head! This is such a powerful story about trusting the Lord and stepping out on faith.

If this does not make it to the top 5, we need educate the judges in what makes a great article that deserves accolades of the highest order!
Rachel Barrett 08/25/14
Oh, that was wonderful and uplifting.

I could really see that developed into a longer work...hint hint... :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/26/14
I really enjoyed this story. I think you did a nice job of working the topic throughout the story. You had a nice start and showed the conflict right off, which is good.

The ending seemed a bit rushed though and that was really the heart of the story. Because you were limited on your Word count, you needed to switch to telling at the end. It's not easy to write a great story with a limited word count. I tend to just write the story without worrying about the count. Then, when the story is complete, I go back and cut out the stuff that's not essential to moving the story along. I've had to cut over 1000 words before.

Looking at this, there's a lot of details in the beginning you could have cut such as the rhymes, the details of getting comfortable, and even little things like the route. They'd be interesting details in a longer piece, but aren't essential to the heart of the message. If you haven't checked out Jan's Writing Basics on the message boards, I'd urge you to participate. She gives great advice for all levels of writers.

You have a lot of talent. I really enjoyed your characters. The message of how God takes us on a journey and the destination may not be what we expect is spot on. I love how God does that. You have a natural gift and a great passion that shows through in your work. I'm eager to read more.
Sheldon Bass 08/26/14
What a great little story! You have a real knack for writing. I completely agree with Shann's comments and hope you'll continue to grow as a writer along with the rest of us. It would be a shame to waste such obvious talent.

I noticed you used the word "pro" a lot, a little too much I think. What I do is go back over my piece and check for repeated words and change them to something that would mean the same thing. Something like: "That too was on the 'plus' side for this decision." Or positive and negative in place of pro and con. Or "such and such would be a benefit, but this and that would not be so good.
Change it up and it makes for more interesting reading. I hope you can use that little bit.

May God continue to bless your work. And I hope you'll continue to bless us with your stories.