Prayer, Creativity & Faith

A leap of faith

For the cover of the new 2023 prayer prompt calendar, I wanted something a little more conceptual than in some previous years. I wanted to find an image that said “prayer” at first glance. It’s a lot harder than you might think. I sent dozens of texts to my kids and to friends asking for opinions, but usually by the time they responded I’d already moved on to some other options. Nothing felt quite right.

Finally, I narrowed it down to three images. I liked this neon sign because it’s a graphic way to represent the idea of speaking, of conversation, of love—because isn’t that what prayer is? Communicating with the One who loves us, the One we love?

Another finalist was this heart—again with the love. But also because of the colorful, artistic splashes, which I thought made for a bold and memorable cover. It seemed to fit with the idea of creative expression, which is basically what this whole calendar is about. But still, I kept being drawn back to the image at the top of this email.

It’s quite possibly not as strong visually, not as marketable, not as artistic. And yet, let’s be real for a second: Prayer is nothing if not a leap of faith. Even though I write about prayer, and create these calendars every year, I have had a couple years of really struggling to make sense of my beliefs. It’s a long, angst-ridden journey that I don’t need to share here right now, but just know that at times I’ve wanted to discard some—or a lot—of the teachings and ideas I’ve picked up along the way.

And yet there are a couple things I just cannot and will not let go of. I may spend the rest of my life wrestling with questions surrounding prayer, asking if prayer truly changes things or how exactly it works. (Surely I’m not the only one?)

But I do know this: I am a better person when I pray. My life is better and less focused on myself when I am actively seeking to spend time with God. I find that I am able to love other people better. My relationship with God is better. My awareness of other people’s needs and lives, my compassion and empathy, all of that increases when I pray. I become more thoughtful, forgiving, and generous. And the main way I have been able to get to that place is through prayer.

So, how about it? Willing to take a leap of faith with me?

The fact that you’re here, on my website, tells me that you already find yourself drawn to the idea of prayer—so basically I’m preaching to the choir :-). But I also want to remind you that when you pray, you become part of something greater than yourself. When two or more are gathered in God’s name, God is present—and I don’t think it matters if we gather literally or figuratively. What matters is that we actively choose to love others through the act of prayer—and when we pray together, we become part of a community of people who love God and love others. Prayer is one of the most loving gifts we have to offer. And I love to get to share this with you, to join together with you in spirit even if I never get to meet you face to face.

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