Praying with Trees
I become fidgety when I have to sit still in meetings, even in meetings I generally enjoy, even in prayer meetings. So, even though I very much appreciated the privilege of gathering with other believers in prayer, I found myself becoming distracted and antsy when everyone else was quietly focused and sitting still. I just couldn’t sit so still for long, and that caused my mind to wander to my walk with my dog in the sunshine that afternoon, the interesting bird at my feeder, a phone call with a friend, my next meal, and so on…
One rainy November day I was walking in the woods with a friend and telling her my struggle to focus during prayer meetings, and I expected her to suggest that I not go, since I wasn’t really enjoying it. Instead she just listened and walked along in silence for a few minutes. Then she said, “You know, Melissa, God made you to be an artist. Is there some way you can combine your art with prayer?”
We continued to walk in silence as I pondered my friend’s words. As we walked between two rocky ridges I looked up and saw trees and rocks dark with rain high up the ridge above us. I threw up my arms and exclaimed, “The rocks and the trees, they speak to my soul!” And in that moment I had the answer to my dilemma. I would sketch trees during prayer meeting, adding the names of those for whom we prayed as they were mentioned. My hands would be occupied, my mind would be focused on something that has always been a symbol for me of standing firm in faith, and I would create a visual prayer that would also be a reminder for me to pray for those people throughout the week.
I feel this way about my photography. I couldn’t put into words what I was feeling about my pictures until a friend said, “Your pictures are your act of worship.” YES!!! She so eloquently said what I was unable to articulate. So I get it totally. Keep on expressing your worship through your artwork, Melissa!
Thank you, Terri! Your posts are inspiring to me, and I love your photography. Your photos point to the beauty of God’s creation and the simple beauty that can be found in the ordinary. They help me slow down and be more receptive to wonder.
This is wonderful. I too sometimes have problemsstaying focused in worship. I used to sketch during the sermons. I felt bad about it. I believe God understands. Im going to start sketching during sermons again.
There are a couple of us in our church who sketch during the sermon, and I know of other artists who also sketch during church. I think it helps us stay focused. My sketching is usually people in church, but some artists I know of sketch images related to the sermon topic or Scripture passage. Thanks for commenting, and I love to hear more about your sketching!