Prayer Pictures

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Remember in the gospels when Jesus teaches us how to pray? He models for us how we should come before God. We acknowledge who God is – our Father, who art in heaven. We acknowledge how holy God is – hallowed by thy name. We acknowledge our fallenness, our separateness, our need and we acknowledge our desire for connection and wholeness – they kingdom come. There’s more, of course, about forgiveness and provision. It’s a great model for prayer.

The leader of the bible study I attended last school year is a preacher and when he was pastoring his last church he would always remind the church that when they were praying, they were going before the throne of God. I think sometimes we forget exactly what is happening when we pray. We’re not just speaking words out into the void and hoping for the best. We’re talking and the God of the universe is listening.

I have a couple of mental pictures I like to employ to help me focus while I’m praying. The most common is this- I am am essentially the woman who dumps perfume on Jesus’ feet and then uses her hair to wipe it up. I picture myself laying flat on my stomach, with my head resting on Jesus’ foot. For some reason focusing in on the physical connection of face to foot and on the physical representation, the humanness, of Jesus helps me focus. I acknowledge my humility in coming before Jesus and my desire to be close to Him. He listens to me and accepts me as He listened to and accepted the woman with the perfume.

Another mental picture is more of a group thing. Sometimes when someone is praying in church or someone is praying over a large group, I picture us all on our knees before God, in child’s pose for those familiar with whatever branch of yoga Yoga with Adriene does, and God is sitting on a throne and He’s smiling. And everything is light. There is light everywhere. And contentedness and rest and comfort. It’s beautiful.

These are the kinds of mental images I’m picturing as I type up my prayers every night (or almost every night as a trip to the beach sans laptop interrupted my Lenten practice this week). Even though I may be expressing myself through fingers on a keyboard, the heart of the thing is still the same. I am connected, face to foot, to my Savior Jesus. I am humbled, face to the ground in child’s pose, in front of my Father God. I am listened to. I am accepted. I am humbled. I am safe. I am comforted. I am at peace and rest. I am in the light. I am beautiful.

This is what prayer is for me this week.

I almost asked You how You were doing when I started this prayer. And now I’m kind of thinking it’s not that crazy of a question. Like obviously You’re doing Love and Mercy and Forgiveness and You’re interceding and sanctifying and prodding and moving. But like, when You look at the world today, how do You feel? Sad? Not hopeless, which is nice and an encouragement. But man alive, we are a mess.

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Thank You for giving her the strength to get out of a bad situation. Thank You for providing the way to her safety and freedom. I pray that she would continue to see Your hand in the situation and that You would reveal Yourself to her through her circumstances and through me – You as You really are, whole and true.

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Thank You for all of the amazing ladies around the world, Lord. Thank You for creating man and woman, for creating us differently to compliment each other. Thank You for the way You made our bodies – to grow things and to be squishy and soft or skinny and pointy or tall or short but all beautiful. Thank You for the way You made women strong… So much strength, Lord, but we know the only real strength comes from You.

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Thank You for rain that makes the flowers grow and makes hostel stays cozy. I pray that nothing leaks in the hostel tonight. That any water that might come in will be caught in garbage bags. Thank You for a flexible and understanding group who doesn’t whine too much about garbage bags full of rain.

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I just thank You so much for the way You have plans for us, for the way You shape us and mold us and give us jobs to do and then equip us and empower us to do them. I’m so glad to serve a God like You. Thank You. I love You.

 

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