by Christine Sine
I often feel that I am an absolute novice when it comes to prayer. You might say that Jesus teach me to pray is the quest of a lifetime. I love the Lord’s Prayer but often find it inadequate especially when faced with disaster or grief. I am constantly looking for new ways to draw close to God in the midst of my pain and sometimes there are just no words to express what is resident in my heart.
A few weeks ago a close friend had a heart transplant. It was unexpected and devastating not just for the family but for all who love her. How to pray? How to pray? How to lift the fears, anxieties and hopes in our hearts before God? Words seemed so inadequate.
This Is Prayer – No Words Needed
Fortunately someone else had the answer. At our next community meal Hilary brought out some beautiful heart shaped templates she downloaded from the internet and asked us to color them. Even the kids had a go.
The evening was spent in silence, but as I looked at what we had created I thought “This is prayer – no words needed”
A couple of weeks later I spoke at my friend’s church. Heart shaped templates were included in the bulletin and people colored while I preached. It was a profoundly moving morning and at the end of the service we collected about 100 hearts to send to the hospital. “This is prayer – no words needed.”
When we confine our prayers to words we limit both the ways that God has given us to draw close and the ways to express the pain, sorrow and even joy in our hearts. Prayer is meant to be an expression of all our senses. There are times for words, times to paint, times to touch and feel and embrace. These are all prayers.
As I thought about this today, I realized how surprising this expression of prayer was for me. Generally speaking I don’t like coloring. I often paint rocks, write poetry, or doodle, but coloring is not my thing. But in this moment of turmoil, tears and grief it was an important way to express what was in my heart.
Jesus Teach Us to Pray
When was the last time you cried out to Jesus teach me to pray, being open to a fresh expression unlike your usual ways of prayer? Is there a form of prayer that you have tried but not found satisfying that you might like to experiment with again? Have you limited Jesus ability to speak to and through you because you have restricted your prayers to traditional forms that may not express what is in your heart?
Prayerfully consider new possibilities for prayer. You might like to read through some of these articles from a past Godspace series on prayer to help you. And if you have discovered other ways to pray let us know. We all need to learn from each other.
And the posts on prayer that I have added over the summer as I reflected on this series: