The Lord has led me to focus on prayer this summer. Prayer has been something that always confused me. I generally understand how to pray in public and how to have a conversation with the Lord, however, I always feel like I’ve been missing something in my prayer life. It feels incomplete. Therefore, this summer, I am reading a book called “A Guidebook to Prayer” by MaryKate Morse (whom I had the privilege of hearing at the Missio Alliance conference in April).
One of the first chapters is on Creative Prayer. This concept began to shift my view of prayer. I used to see it as something I need to schedule to do and it needs to be my sole focus during that time. I now understand how while that is one way to pray, it is not all there is. When I invite God into something I am already doing that is creative, whether cooking, painting, singing, etc I get to enjoy community with Him in that space. “By being creative we allow God to open up areas of our lives that are not controlled or managed” (p 35). By engaging with Him in something I am already doing, not only am I “killing two birds with one stone” (something I really love doing) but I am learning how to pray without ceasing, how to truly live my life in constant communication with the Spirit.
“Creative prayer requires solitude… Solitude requires that we get rid of the scaffolding we often use to prop up our lives. Constant connection equals constant distraction. In solitude there are no friends to talk to, no meetings and no internet access… Solitude gives us ‘negative space.’ In art negative space is the place where there is nothing, no color or line. In Japan the word is ma meaning pause or gap…. Therefore, creative prayer needs space in both time where there are no distractions and place where there is no intrusion. The result of solitude is compassion” (p 36-37).
As an extremely extroverted individual, solitude can be challenging. But shifting my focus and allowing creative prayer to be a time where I engage in something I enjoy and focus on God as my partner who is actually creating with me and guiding me throughout the process, changed my view of solitude. I thoroughly enjoy being in His presence and doing something we both love to do. I encounter such incredible peace and joy with each experience.
~Anna Gibbs, NLCF Staff