In college I signed up for an Introduction to Panting class. I remember being super excited to dive right in and start creating my masterpiece! The first day of school found me seated in class early, ready with my half-filled sketch pad of ideas and magazine clippings of subjects to paint. You could imagine my surprise when I found out that we wouldn’t be using any of it.
The first thing the teacher did was have us take out our black and white paints and begin to mix various quantities to create tonal blocks containing increasing percentages of grey from white to black. While absolutely boring it was very important to learn the proper techniques and how to use the tools correctly so that later we could create those masterpieces. Without learning the fundamentals of our trade we could never be successful. Twenty years later I still go back to the basics from time to time.
As an artist I struggled with the techniques and the effective use of tools, just as many christians today struggle with understanding the basics of christian life such as prayer. Prayer is absolutely fundamental in the life of a healthy christian, but many of us still wrestle with what prayer is and how to effectively use prayer in our daily lives. There are formulas and technique’s that will enhance your christian life and help enrich your walk with God, but there are also plenty of reason’s to get creative and listen to the pull of the holy spirit.
In college I had to master the fundamentals of drawing and painting. There were certain techniques I had to fully understand and practice over many tedious hours. Yet, as I learned, I also had to adapt these techniques for my own purpose, to fit my own personal style and self expression. I had to learn the rules so I could learn how to break them! In a very real sense Prayer is an art form. There are some rules in its execution, but part of the prayer curriculum should be “Creativity and Rule Breaking!”
Prayer Is Communicating
Prayer is at once the simplest and the most complicated aspect of the Christian experience. Communication is a necessity for everyday life, yet it is the most complicated social interaction for a tool that is supposed to be as easy as opening your mouth. As prayer is the way in which we communicate with God, and communication is tough between mere humans, prayer is apt to be rife with complications.
Since April, God has really placed on my heart a need to look into prayer. Think of it as a back to basics, but it has been an adventure that has been anything but basic! I’ve really been lead to delve into the complexities of prayer and how to enter into it with the right motives and mindset. Just like basic communication with my fellow humans, there is a right and a wrong way to talk. (Most of the time I tend to get it wrong, but I am learning to do it better!)
I feel led to share some of the things I have been learning the last few months. I have been personally unable to sit down and share any of this yet and it has been playing out in my heart, but if you follow along with me this summer I will try and sort it all out!
In the meantime, I’d love to hear what prayer means to you and how it has impacted your life?