A MINISTRY OF LETTER WRITING
Letter writing is a reminder to someone that they are thought of, cared about, and prayed for. It also brings a sweet touch of encouragement. Our words can be a glimmer of hope to someone who is hurting.
You are a letter from Christ … This “letter” is not written with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is not carved on tables of stone, but on human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:3)
#PENTOPAPER IS A MINISTRY OF LETTER WRITING
#PenToPaper is a ministry of the heart, because we are the living letters of Jesus, inscribed not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. (2 Corinthians 3:3)
God’s love, poured out into us, infuses each word we write in love for the heart of another.
“…be a precious letter from Christ,” wrote Dr. Paul Marquardt, “and take the time to let [someone] know how loved and treasured they are by you, and by the Lord!”
What an encouraging reason to write!
“THOUGHT OF, CARED ABOUT, AND PRAYED FOR”
It’s not the length of what you write that matter, but the love you pour into your words. Be honest and authentic. Offer a kind word or an encouraging phrase. Share a favorite quote or Bible verse. Include a short prayer. In short, write the words you’d want to receive.
In 1895, Emily Dickinson wrote, “A Letter is a Joy of Earth,” and she’s right. Putting #PenToPaper is a vital and life-giving ministry of hope to both sender and receiver.
STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT LETTER WRITING:
- increases brain development and cognition
- makes physical wounds heal faster
- keeps us focused on the present moment
- improves sleep
- elevates mood
- decreases stress and depression
- increases creativity and critical thinking
- builds motor memory
- improves overall well-being
In his book, Intimate Letters on Personal Problems, published in 1914, J. R. Miller wrote:
“… Go on, my dear friend, in your ministry of letter-writing, and let Christ use your pen in this way for his service. God has given you a big heart—a great fountain of love and sympathy and cheer. Let the streams pour out continually in all directions, to bless the world. Hundreds and thousands of people need encouragement and uplifting. You will scarcely meet one man or one woman … whom you cannot make a little stronger or braver—by saying the right word.”
Why not pick up your pen today and pour out a little love, reminding one precious person that they are not alone – that they are thought of, cared about, and prayed for? Your words just might make them a little stronger today or a little braver tonight.
PICK UP YOUR PEN AND BEGIN
Letters don’t need to be long or beautifully written to make a difference. Just a few words written in love can change the trajectory of someone’s day.
WHAT TO WRITE IN A LETTER:
- A short prayer
- A favorite Bible verse
- What your typical day is like
- An encouraging quote
- A story of how God has comforted you
- Your favorite hymn or worship song
- What you’re reading or learning about right now
- Your favorite holiday – describe your favorite sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or memory of that holiday
- Your favorite part of the day or season of the year and why
- What you enjoy most about your hometown
- Your biggest challenge right now
- Something you’d like to do or a hobby you’d like to take up
- What made you laugh this week
WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY
And if you honestly don’t know what to say, if you haven’t walked a mile in someone’s shoes, it’s okay to write that too. This letter from Pastor John Piper to the parents of a baby born blind is a beautiful example: Words of Hope for a Baby Born Blind.
Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. (Proverbs 16:24)
A PLACE TO BEGIN – IDEAS TO GET YOU STARTED
There are many good places, but the best is in prayer. Ask God who you could encourage with a note or letter today. When He prompts, start writing.
Need a few ideas? Here are some of our favorites:
WRITE TO A LOVED ONE
Strengthen relationships with loved ones as you share family news and favorite memories, write about hopes and dreams, pray for one another, and share encouraging Scripture.
WRITE TO YOUR SPOUSE
Today might be the perfect day to write a love letter to your spouse.
A few quick tips:
- Share how your spouse has touched your heart.
- Share what you admire about your spouse.
- Reaffirm your love and commitment. These are words we can never say enough.
- Share a favorite memory about your spouse.
- Write about how a favorite song, quote, movie or food reminds you of your spouse.
- Write about a funny moment that has turned into a favorite memory.
- Close with words that mean something to both of you. If you don’t have a phrase you use, maybe today, with this letter, is the day to begin.
WRITE TO A MEMBER OF YOUR CHURCH
Ask your pastor if there is someone you could encourage with a note. Someone who is:
- Recovering from surgery
- Celebrating a birth or adoption
- Grieving a loss
- Lonely or depressed
We need each other. Without even one of us, the Body of Christ is incomplete.
WRITE TO A SOLDIER
You can write to deployed and active duty military members, new recruits, wounded warriors, caregivers, veterans, and families of the fallen through an organization like Operation We Are Here that:
- offers practical insights about how to support and encourage those in the military community
- provides free thank you cards to download, print, and share
- offers tips on writing letters to deployed military
- provides free downloads for kids (e.g., coloring pages) to send to deployed military
WRITE TO PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS
What about writing to a persecuted Christian around the world, reminding them that they are not alone or forgotten? Let them know that someone cares and is praying, through organizations like Open Doors USA?
WRITE TO ANOTHER WOMAN
To Love Ourselves was founded to invite women into a Christ-centered community that builds each other up and encourages collaboration. “We believe that we’re all in this big, beautiful world together and the best thing we can do is pour into one another.”
WRITE TO THOSE IN A NURSING HOME
Love for the Elderly – Many nursing home residents are lonely, having few local relatives who care for, look after, or love them. Your letter could change that. Founded by Jacob Cramer when he was just thirteen, Love for the Elderly is a five-year-old, non-profit organization. It is dedicated to enriching the lives of seniors with kindness and joy.
Interested in connecting locally? Call a local nursing home and let them know you’re interested in sending a card or letter to someone who seems lonely or down. They’ll be able to get you started.
WRITE TO A MISSIONARY
- Share stories about God’s love and provision, especially in the small things and poignant moments.
- Ask questions about what they’re learning. Share what you’re learning.
- Share your story — and ask them about theirs.
- Remind missionaries that they are loved and that the work they do is needed and appreciated. This helps especially when times are difficult.
- Share fun news and photos (ie: engagements, weddings, new babies, adoptions)
- Include the hard news too (ie: losses, illnesses, deaths)
WRITE TO A FOSTER CHILD
Braid Mission – Many foster children never receive holiday, birthday, or “just because” cards. Braid Mission makes sure they do. Founders Rebecca Edwards and Christopher Chase set out to create a new community built around mission to the foster system. Throughout the year, they send birthday cards to kids ages 6-16, as well as encouragement cards to staff and social workers.
WRITE TO A COLLEGE STUDENT
Do you know a current college student, niece or nephew, a friend’s, neighbor’s or co-worker’s child, someone from church? Writing to a college student can be such a blessing. Make it fun! Include local news, an update from the neighborhood, a joke, a memory from your own college days. Then you could end with a few words of Scripture and a prayer for them. These can be a stressful days for a college student. To know someone is thinking about and praying for them can make a big difference, especially for those who are far from home.
WRITE A THANK YOU
Thank someone who has made a difference in your life: a loved one, pastor, doctor, nurse, teacher, mail carrier, delivery person, neighbor, friend, local business owner, dog groomer, vet, hair stylist, a server at your favorite restaurant, a checker or bagger at your food store, etc. Your note will likely mean more to them than you know.
WRITE TO A STRANGER
Hannah Brencher founded The World Needs More Love Letters after leaving more than 400 handwritten notes around New York City for strangers to find. The envelopes simply said, “If you find this letter, it’s for you.” Since 2011, letters have been found in 50 states, 73 countries, and on 100 college campuses. More than 250,000 letters have been delivered to people in need across the world.
HOW TO SPEAK HOPE WITH #PENTOPAPER
#PenToPaper is a powerful way to encourage one another, offer hope, and let a friend or loved one know they are prayed for, cared about, and loved.
- Begin with prayer. Ask God who needs a note of encouragement today.
- Download and print our free stationery or order one of our Notecard Collections.
- Write a short prayer or choose one from our free printable, Short Prayers – Note Starters.
- Include a favorite quote or Bible verse.
- Tuck a free printable into your note, like Suffering & Joy, Story Matters, or You Are. Visit our Printables page. There are many to choose from!
- What matters most is that you share your heart, for “You are a letter from Christ.” 2 Corinthians 3:3 Your words carry His love.
#PenToPaper • Ministry of Letter Writing
#PenToPaper is a ministry of the heart: God’s love, poured into us, infuses each word we write to the heart of another. What an encouraging reason to pick up your pen and write!
#PenToPaper Note Starters
Sometimes all we need to get us started are a few words. Include these short prayers in a notecard or email, or send them in a message or text to a friend or loved one.
Note Starters for Difficult Relationships
Difficult people are often hurting, overburdened, and under-encouraged, leading to impatience, anxiety, short tempers, loneliness, depression, and emotional isolation. If we’re honest, we are all difficult people sometimes.
In the Midst of Grief Note Starters
It’s hard to know what to say to someone who has suffered a loss. What matters is not the length of our message, but the simplicity of a few well-chosen words.
Add a Little Laughter Note Starters
Illness and pain can sometimes shroud the gift of glittering laughter, crushing the embers of our joy. Sometimes all it takes is a quirky pun, a groan-worthy Dad joke, or a play on words to spark a grin. Grab a pen, a Chronic Joy flat card, and share a little bit of #PenToPaper laughter with a friend.
Kind Words for Caregivers Note Starters
Caregivers need to be reminded that their sacrifice, endurance, and compassion are noticed, that they are seen, cared about, thought of, and prayed for, that living into this vulnerable calling matters.
7 Simple Ways to Thank Care Providers
Seven simple ways to thank care providers and remind them of how grateful we are for their wisdom, care, and expertise.
15 Prayers to Share • Note Starters
These prayers are an invitation to settle in with God. Then an opportunity to love one another. Pull out a Chronic Joy flat card, and share a meaningful prayer with a friend of loved one. It's always the right time to #PrayItForward.
Gratitude Note Starters
Gratitude invites us into the wonder and awe of God’s expansive creation. Eager to see and thirsty to notice God’s handiwork. We begin to experience the exquisite joy of the Lord. What a beautiful gift to share God’s joy and our gratitude with friends and loved ones.
Looking for a way to connect with, encourage, inspire, and love on others? Text them! Tips for texting: Keep it short. Don’t expect a response. Write from your heart.
Thank a Care Provider Note Starters
Notes of appreciation don’t need to be long to express our heartfelt gratitude, though starting them can sometimes feel daunting. These note starters are a great place to begin.
You Get Mail!
You Get Mail! Sign-ups for Adults, Teens, and Children. It's safe, secure, and free!
Thank you for the ministry you all do. I always seem to get a [You Get Mail!] packet from you guys just when my depression is bad and I seem to need it.
The ❤️ of You Get Mail!
Our desire is to show people of all ages that we care, sharing God’s love to as many as possible, one precious life at a time. That's the ❤️ of You Get Mail.
Mailboxes Filled with Kindness
There are days a letter in my mailbox is the only contact I have with the world outside my home. I love this special kindness in a mailbox.
If You Find This Letter: My Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers
A heartwarming memoir of love and faith from Hannah Brencher (founder of The World Needs More Love Letters) who has dedicated her life to showing total strangers that they are not alone in the world. There is something about receiving a handwritten note that is so powerful in today’s digital era.
Letters of C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis
A repackaged edition of the revered author’s collection of personal letters (a curated selection of the best of his correspondence with family, friends, and fans at various stages in his life, from his youth to the weeks before his death), these letters illuminate Lewis’s thoughts on God, humanity, nature, and creativity. In this captivating collection, discover details about Lewis’s conversion to Christianity as well as his philosophical thoughts on spirituality and personal faith.
Friends for the Journey
The Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux
St. Therese of Lisieux
Letter writing at the end of the nineteenth century was an important activity for the people of France. Those who received letters from family and friends alike usually kept the hand-written texts sent to them as precious gifts. That is why this collection of letters by and to one of the greatest saints of modern times is so interesting to us today.
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A TOUCH OF KINDNESS
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