Here’s a simple prayer exercise you may find helpful. I think people of all ages or personalities can make use of it – alone or with others. Not only does it provide a creative and meaningful way to pray, but it also connects you more deeply with scripture. win. win. win.
Last week, I was reading in Isaiah and I came to this passage:
The Lord will be our Mighty One.
He will be like a wide river of protection
that no enemy can cross,
that no enemy ship can sail upon.
(Isaiah 33:21, New Living Translation)
It would be easy enough to conceptualise this – ah, the Lord will protect me. And pray as such – Lord, protect me from… We do this all the time.
I feel there is a power in the picture. This is an absolutely beautiful and rich picture, isn’t it (go ahead, re-read it)? So why not pray the picture itself, not just the principle?
sounds good. How?
Here’s what I did:
I got a piece of paper and wrote the scripture on the top.
I drew a river and wrote the word “God” on it
I drew myself on one side of the river (stick figures are acceptable!)
I drew my enemies on the other side – naming actual things that are bothering me, attacking me, or that I feel could distract or hinder my relationship with God and the things God is wanting to do in/with me. At the time, I had three specific things in mind.
Looking at the pic, I re-read the scripture, declaring truth, God’s position, and protection from enemies: “God is a wide river. He protects me from jealousy and jealousy can not touch or affect me.”
Like I said, simple!
Why this works:
- We connect with pictures differently than we do with words. They speak to a different part of us, they draw on a different part of the brain. This is very helpful with children who are still developing vocabulary and abstract concepts. It also helps us not “overly analyse” things.
- It gives a way to see and name what you are praying for. It is a way to be more clear or specific. If you can see your enemy you can look for it better.
- Pictures stay with us. You can return to this very easily. So with this scripture, when this enemy shouts at you or tries to attack, you can pull out the picture and remind yourself, and your enemy, how it really is
- You are praying – talking to God – as you are making the pic – you are writing out the words, turning them over in your mind, or saying out loud. One could even describe this as a form of meditation in that sense.
- This is just a good way to get something out of your head only. It puts prayer a little closer to the real world (a picture). Because this is where prayer needs to matter!
Taking it further
One could take this further, of course, by reading/praying the same thing at an actual river. Write out your enemies on papers or rocks and put (or throw!) them on the side of the river opposite you. Speak/sing/shout this scripture. In other words, make everything all the more concrete than the drawing versions.
I’ve been using this verse from Isaiah as my example, but I hope you can see how you could use other scriptures in a similar way. The Bible is FULL of pictures. Perhaps what you are reading right now could lend itself to praying this way. Give it a try.