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We have been discussing some guidelines to improve our prophetic delivery skills, to help us get better at sharing God's word when He gives it to us in written form. We want to become the best possible vessels we can be for God to flow through, and that is why we try to improve our delivery skills. We don't want our inadequacies to get in the way of the word that God is trying to give through us. We want to learn to better flow with Him, so He can put more of Himself and more of His power and more of His anointing into the word.
This teaching series is focusing on written words, (e.g, words that God intends to have the receiver read), such as words in a ministry newsletter, or magazine, or words sent to an email list or posted on an Internet bulletin board, etc. We have been looking at seven guidelines to help us become more skilled at writing down the words that the Lord gives us to share. Those seven guidelines are:
We already discussed the first three in previous lessons and now we will talk about guideline number 4, proper writing skills...
4. USE PROPER WRITING SKILLS
One of the most important things is to write at your level. Remember, you are the vessel that God chose for this message, and that makes you a part of the packaging that God intended for this message. If you write at the 8th grade level, then don't try to write your words at a 2nd grade level (unless, of course, it is a word to second-graders). Likewise, don't try to write it at college level. Give the words at the level that is approprate to who you are and how you write.
One of the mistakes I see is when people who are very plain and clear communicators suddenly start giving their words in King James English, with a bunch of "thee"s, "thou"s and "-eth"s in them. The problem is that we don't speak King James English today, so that doesn't really communicate clearly. The reason God gives a word is for it to be understood, so He is going to give it in a way that is understandable. If He wanted to make the word difficult to understand, then He could always choose to give it in a foreign language. But He doesn't do that (except occasional messages in tongues, but then He also provides the interpretation). God usually gives words in our native language and He speaks clearly. Speaking in King James English makes it much harder for people to understand--and we should avoid intentionally making a word harder to understand.
There is one exception to the "avoid King James English" guideline, and that is when God sends us to people who think in King James English. There are small pockets of believers, whole congregations, who feel strongly that King James Version (KJV) is the only valid translation of the Bible. They don't read any other translation, and over time they even start to think in King James English; they are used to it and they are able to understand it. Since God likes to reach out and meet people where they are, He will often ask us to use King James English when addressing this select group of people.
When we are sharing God's word in written form, we must use reasonable grammar, syntax, punctuation, complete sentence structure and other things that go with good writing skills. God is not illiterate, and He does not want a literate person to suddenly become illiterate when they give a word. That reflects poorly on Him, and it is also a big distraction to the people reading the word. These things (bad grammar, bad punctuation, spelling mistakes, etc) all serve to distract the person reading the word and they can make it hard to understand the message that God is asking you to share.
Another big distraction is improper capitalization; e.g., capitalizing words or letters that should not be capitalized. The big area of debate in this is personal pronouns for God. Those are words like "Me, My, Mine" (first person) or (He, His) second person.
Personally, I prefer to honor God by capitalizing all personal pronouns for Him, even thought that is not technically correct. Others feel that written words should always follow proper grammar and syntax rules, and therefore personal pronouns for God should be lower case. Either style is fine, but please do not mix them within the same message. It is never ok to sometimes capitalize personal pronouns for God and other times not capitalize them.
We should not use capital letters to emphasize certain words in a sentence. Let me give you an example:
In the above example, some words were capitalized for emphasis. It is ok to do that on the rare occasion, such as with a single word in maybe one out of every ten or twelve prophecies, when God really wants to make a point. But we should not make it part of our regular style, because it obscures communication and makes the word harder to read. I frequently see words submitted to the prophetic-word list that do this in every single sentence, making them hard to read. The correct way to write the (above) example is either:
If you want to emphasize something, try to find a way to do it that does not violate good grammar. You can use repetition or you can rephrase the sentence for emphasis. For instance, you could write the above sentence as: "I am coming in My power and authority--in My unlimited power and glorious authority--to do mighty works in your midst."
ALSO, YOU SHOULD AVOID USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS AND NO LOWER CASE LETTERS IN EACH WORD, AS I AM DOING HERE IN THIS PARAGRAPH TO GIVE YOU AN EXaMPLE. IT IS VERY HARD FOR MOST PEOPLE TO READ THINGS WRITTEN IN ALL CAPITALS, BECAUSE THE BRAIN HAS TO WORK HARDER TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS READING. WE HAVE BEEN TRAINED THAT THE ONLY TIME ALL CAPITALS ARE USED IS EITHER FOR PARAGRAPH HEADINGS OR FOR EMPHASIS. THE READER'S BRAIN BEGINS TO TO "TILT" WHEN THEY READ SOMETHING FOR AWHILE THAT IS IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS BUT IS NEITHER A POINT OF EMPHASIS NOR A PARAGRAPH HEADING. IN FACT, I BET SOME OF YOU ARE GETTTING TIRED JUST READING THIS EXAMPLE PARAGRAPH BECAUSE IT IS WRITTEN IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. I THINK I HAVE MADE THE POINT NOW AND I WILL SWITCH BACK TO THE PROPER CASE FOR THE REST OF THIS LESSON....
There is one more important thing I would like to say about proper writing skills. That is what I call Yoda-like sentence structure. Yoda was a character from George Lucas' Star Wars, and he intentionally and always talked funny. It was part of the charm of the furry Jedi master. But we should not imitate him when we are speaking for the Lord.
Different languages use different sentence structures and different grammatical rules. You need to write your word in what is proper for the language in which you are giving the word. Have you ever seen what happens when you literally translate something into another language without adjusting the grammar accordingly? Some "instructions" from Japanese manufacturers work that way, coming across Yoda-like. Let me give you a short example:
The wrapper of plastic, it is not conducive for breathing proper. From small children it should be kept, or resulting in death it can inflict. Once removed and discarded, to the task you can address yourself to. Take you the components as per Illustration A, and in the proper order assembled they must be. That order change not, or results not pleasing will be.
Those product instructons can be really humorous to read if you don't actually need the instructions, but they are frustrating when you need them and have trouble understanding them because of the bad sentence structure.
When God gives us a word, we really need the information it contains, or He would not have bothered to give it. We don't want to frustrate the people and make the message unclear by using poor sentence structure. I recommend after you have written the word, you go back over it and clean up any bad sentence structure. In fact, you probably want to prayerfully review the word to fix any/all errors or unclarities, because you want the final product to be is well written and easy to understand.