It’s time to stir our imaginations and creativity and learn to pray in new ways. Our imagination connects us to our inner selves, to God and to the world around us. Stirring our creativity helps us dream God’s dreams and bring them into reality. It helps us to focus our prayer energy, and frees us from the limits of prayer forms that have become rote and stale. It gives us permission to venture into the unknown realm of God’s imaginative, creative power.
During Lent and Easter, I reminded us that the good news of the gospel is God’s desire to reconcile all things to God’s self. God’s plan embraces not just our inner transformation and reconciliation to God but also restoration of creation, reconciliation with neighbours and renewal wherever the image of God is distorted. Our creator has begun a process of redemption to restore all things to what they were meant to be.
I quoted from Kerry Dearborn’s inspiring book Drinking from the Wells of New Creation: The Holy Spirit and the Imagination in Reconciliation. She explains that it is the imagination that opens the heart’s floodgates to both receive the Spirit’s love and release it to others so that we can enter into the reconciling work of God. It breaks down old ways of seeing the world, offers us a new vision of life and hope, reshaping our desires and expectations around God’s vision of reconciliation and connects heart, mind and body to this new vision and catalyzes responses. (69)
Inspired by her writing and my desire to enter more fully into the reconciling work of God, I spent Lent and Easter looking for creative resources that would stir all our imaginations and assist us to create new prayer practices that further God’s reconciling work. I talked about this in my post Get Creative and Play Games in Lent, and have tried to share some examples of creative possibilities others are exploring in my new Saturday series Lets get creative.
Unfortunately, creativity is not widely encouraged in the practice of our faith, unless we are kids. Kids are encouraged to explore their creativity by playing games, reading books, walking in nature, planting and watching things grow, listening to music and drawing together. Adults are encouraged to pray only with their minds and not with their imaginations or other God given senses.
According to Albert Einstein:“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” So why should kids have all the fun? It is my growing conviction that we all need to learn to be more creative and more experiential with our prayers. We need to allow the spirit of God to stir our imaginations to create new models of prayer and new expressions of spiritual practices. This doesn’t mean letting go of our prayer life, but rather using the creative tools of ancient spiritual practices to reshape and reimagine how we pray.
Over the next few months, let’s explore the realms of imagination and creativity together. Many of you have already tapped into this God given ability and have created prayer practices around painting, collage and photography. Others have discovered the creativity of running, walking, sharing food and gardening. Others I am sure, have found creativity in places many of us have never imagined.
I love what Rebecca Joy Sumner is doing to help us reimagine scripture and prayer lived out in the neighbourhood – like her post I’m Having a Failure of Hope Kind of Morning. And appreciate the insights of Sybil MacBeth on Praying in Color that I shared a few days ago. We all need to explore this kind of creativity in order to connect more intimately with God.
Would you share what you have learned with the readers of Godspace? Consider contributing a post about your creative prayer process. Do you know of others who have developed inspiring creative practices that we can learn from? Let’s have some fun together.