by Jenneth Graser
How do you love to spend time with your loved ones, your family and friends? The ways are as vast as the relationships. Each person comes with their special and unique personality and friendship is shared. There are times of chatting, laughter, meals. There are walks to go on, bikes to ride, places to swim. We may like to go out to a museum, a gallery, a show.
We may like to sit in silence and be completely at ease in one another’s company. We may go to the beach, to a restaurant. We may go to the movies, or relax in a lounge in front of the fire playing board games. We may like to do art together, read books, play sports, go to a market. We may like to garden together, work together, listen to music, do church life together. You can add to the list!
God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit – the Trinity of perfect relationship. We have been designed for relationship. And to relate with God in this perfect union in the Trinity, is to be one with Father, Son and Spirit. There are as many ways to pray and be with God in relationship as we can imagine sharing with our closest and dearest friends and family.
So often we may feel like prayer is something challenging to accomplish. God may feel afar off. We may feel like we need to have all our theological “ducks in a row”. We may feel spiritually blocked. But prayer is as accessible to us, as our breath. Prayer is as natural as relating with a friend. Jesus is our friend and brother and desires to break open our ideas about prayer that have not always served us well. Where in our lives can we experience a fresh new insurgence of creative inspiration in prayer?
What follows is a variety of ways we can enjoy God’s presence – yes! This is Prayer! You are Praying!
Choose a painting or work of art to spend some time with.
You may have an actual piece, or you may find something in a book, magazine or online.
Look at it. Observe for some moments what is there.
What are you drawn to?
What do you feel?
Share this experience with God.
“In the beginning God created…” Genesis 1:1
Go for a walk in nature.
Feel through your senses.
Feel the elements, the ground beneath your feet, the air, the sun or rain or wind, the weather…
Feel your blood flow through your body, your heart beating.
Notice what catches your attention as you walk.
Look at the view.
Share your gratitude with God.
“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:9
Put on a piece of instrumental music.
Listen, while lying down or sitting comfortably.
Notice your breath – breathe deeply in and out, filling your diaphragm.
Remember what it is to be loved by God.
“…praise him with the strings and flute…” Psalm 150:4
Sit down with your child or grandchild.
Hold your child and listen to what they have to say.
When you have welcomed a child, you have welcomed God.
“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18:5
Slow down, sit in a garden.
Notice life around you: the sounds, the sights, scents, colours.
Watch without getting up, watch for awhile.
Feel the sun on your skin, the shadows, the breeze.
Feel the presence of God in the stillness.
“I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride…” Song of Songs 5:1
Switch off appliances, the microwave, computer, telephone, television.
Pick up your camera.
Capture the moment.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…” Matthew 6:25
Put on a piece of music.
Move to the music.
Move your body, respond to the rhythms.
Let your body be the prayer.
“He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
Make a collage.
Select pictures from magazines.
Put them together on a page.
See what comes up for you.
How do you feel?
What do the pictures symbolise for you?
Share your collage with God.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
Write down a dream you remember.
Write down the feelings you connect to your dream.
Notice any symbolic images that may speak of something deeper.
Share your dream with God.
“Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.” Genesis 40:8
Choose a poem.
Read it and then read it again.
Which parts of the poem are you drawn to?
What feelings arise?
Share these thoughts and feelings with God.
“My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king…” Psalm 45:1
Take out a world globe or atlas.
As you turn the globe or page through the atlas, ask the Holy Spirit to highlight a city, country, people group or area.
Raise these people up in prayer in the presence of God.
Your intercession is incense.
Let your will be done Father, on earth, as it is in heaven.
“…your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10
Read a Psalm.
Choose one verse that especially stands out to you.
Write it out. Illustrate your page.
The word is flesh, the word is God come to us in the person of Jesus.
The word is alive in you.
“I have hidden your word in my heart…” Psalm 119:11
It is a great adventure in prayer, our relationship with God. I encourage you this month, as we celebrate creative prayer practices throughout September at Godspace, to explore your creative prayer time with God using whatever suggestions appeal to you. You may like to choose a few, or you may like to focus on one. The invitation is to feel the invigorating life of God’s love and creative power infuse our relationship with fresh new life. There is always something new God desires to share with us.
Take some time with God as you read this poem, from my devotional Catching the Light:
I find Christ curving road in my car
He sways side to side, bending gravity
With each corner, not held to the ceremony
Of my appointment prayer stool
Not waiting patiently in the pews
For stained-glass contemplation.
My hands on the wheel, not bedtime-prayer
Poised; my eyes on the road, not reverently
Closed; tapping out time on the gas
I accelerate prayers into orbiting hands.
All along it takes one word to release
Greater power than ten-page supplication
Intelligently read from high street corners.
I basket up my bread and fish, lower
Paralytic men, request long-distance
Healing with Gentile Centurion plea.
In my thoughts, “Jesus”
Is prayer; I capture grace for them like
Light in amber, release the resin
Of the Tree of Life into hearts.
Prayer handkerchiefs float down,
Green leaves bud; a baptism of streams
Well out of desert beds, scented oil
Drips the hems of a dress
As my prayers take off
Out of my car on a Sunday traffic road.