Wednesday’s Word: CANVAS

Sometimes we run out of words. And sometimes we have too many of them. Sometimes there’s so much to ask that we don’t even know where to begin. In the times when I believed I’ve heard from God, the message has been short. The words succinct. The meanings deep and layered, complex. The nuances of ...

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Sometimes we run out of words. And sometimes we have too many of them. Sometimes there’s so much to ask that we don’t even know where to begin.

In the times when I believed I’ve heard from God, the message has been short. The words succinct. The meanings deep and layered, complex. The nuances of it take so much longer to express than the amount of time in which the complete message was originally communicated.

The power of a single word can be immense—if we let Him do the defining of it. If we wait to hear what He will speak about it.

So on Wednesdays, when our weeks are in high gear and chaos is the norm, we’re going to slow down. Simplify. Pray—just one word—and then spend time focusing on what God wants to say to us about it. It’s like the “one word” concept many people do in which they choose one word and use that as their prayer focus for the whole year. But if your attention span is short like mine, this might suit you better because it’s just one day.

After the word, I’ll add my thoughts, my prayers, around it. But don’t feel you have to follow my lead. Do what you will. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Shut out the world. Concentrate on establishing a connection with God. Wait until you believe He’s listening, that He’s right there beside you. And then pray. You can pray my words with me. Add your own. Meditate in silence. Let God paint a visual image in your mind. Sing a song, look it up in a Bible or dictionary.

Or maybe you’ll feel, think and know nothing new. If that happens, you have not failed. I promise. You succeed at prayer simply by doing it. By showing up. Because our God is always, always there listening, and He’s the One who gives prayer its meaning.


Canvas

Before You spoke, there was nothing. Before You breathed, there was no life. When You create, the possibilities are endless. Lord, breathe into me. Sculpt me, mold me, draw me, make me. When I close my eyes and try to see You, reveal to me Your vision. What You want to paint. Transform me into the masterpiece You’ve imagined, even if I’m afraid. Even if I feel incompetent. Even if I feel all I have to offer is a blank canvas. Because who You say I should be has little to do with who I already am or what I think I can accomplish—and everything to do with the One doing the painting. Amen.

A blank canvas

It can be a bit intimidating to get started. That may be true in whatever it is that you’re doing, but especially if you’re creating art. That blank canvas… So much possibility. Possibility — or pressure? Depends on why you’re creating it, I suppose. If someone hired you to do a masterpiece, if you had a ...

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It can be a bit intimidating to get started. That may be true in whatever it is that you’re doing, but especially if you’re creating art. That blank canvas… So much possibility.

Possibility — or pressure?

Depends on why you’re creating it, I suppose. If someone hired you to do a masterpiece, if you had a large commission depending on your success, or if people are actively watching you — yeah, that can be intimidating. If you have to complete something specific and you have exactly one canvas, or a limited amount of paints, I suppose that could cause some trepidation.

Lucky for you — and for me — this blog is one place where the pressure is off. You are not here to perform or to achieve. Just to do. If you want to paint something, be my guest. But I’m really here to talk about prayer. It’s amazing the similarities between prayer and art.

During the next several months as I prepare my book (The Art of Praying Upside Down) for publication, I’ll be exploring countless other connections between prayer and art, hoping you’re willing to walk beside me as we search for more of God, for deeper intimacy in prayer, and for individual ways to strengthen our prayer lives.

Your prayer style will likely be very different than mine. That’s what makes art interesting, too — the individual styles, the variety, the differences. I’m excited to see what each of us will create. One thing is certain: we will get God’s attention. He’s waiting, as anxiously as we are, to see what we can make together.

Because the possibilities are endless.

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