It’s a process (how I create my prayer prompt calendars)

Several people have asked me to write about the process for creating the prayer prompt calendars. Creating them is one of my favorite things to do. It’s difficult to capture the stream-of-consciousness thoughts that lead to one, but I kept notes and took screen shots as I put together the calendar for August, so I ...

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Several people have asked me to write about the process for creating the prayer prompt calendars. Creating them is one of my favorite things to do. It’s difficult to capture the stream-of-consciousness thoughts that lead to one, but I kept notes and took screen shots as I put together the calendar for August, so I could try. (If you’re not really interested in the process, I won’t take offense—simply click here to go straight to the August calendar download.)

Before I tell you about how I create these, let me back up and tell you about why I started doing them in the first place. In order to find a publisher, an author usually needs a good “platform”—which, simply defined, is the audience the author has influence with, usually consisting of social media followers, blog readers, and so forth. One of the tried-and-true ways to increase blog followers is to offer free downloads as an incentive for subscribing. Many other Christian authors offer free downloads of inspirational quotes or scriptures. As a designer, it would be simple for me to do the same thing, but then I realized that as nice as those are (and I hope to offend no one when I say this), those weren’t really something I wanted or downloaded for myself. So I started researching, looking for something I could offer that related to my book (Praying Upside Down) and seemed specific to me. My Pinterest board from that time was filled with downloadable quotes, prayer journal pages, etc… but nothing really jumped out at me. I didn’t want to do something just for the sake of having something, but I wanted to create something useful. Then I saw a calendar somewhere, and I thought, hey, what if I made a monthly prayer calendar? When I sat down to do it, I grabbed a bunch of random, colorful photos and started playing around. The first several months were completely haphazard.



Over time, the process evolved, becoming less random and more intentional. I started thinking about themes (beginning with giving thanks for November), and then, apparently, I got tired of bring confined to the straight calendar grid and started breaking out of that structure.

People started responding to the calendars, and I started keeping a list of potential themes or graphic ideas when I saw something that inspired me. I’ve done a few calendars tailored to the content of some books I loved (Hope Prevails by Dr. Michelle Bengtson, Rush by Jayme Mansfield, and The Spirit-Led Heart by Suzie Eller), and some just based on fun or graphic images I found.



Somewhere along the way, these calendars became one of my favorite things to do. They’re all about prayer… creativity… coming up with something new… having fun… finding a new look, a new approach—a combination of words and images and prayer that I’m uniquely suited to create. I’ve been making these monthly since March 2015—over three years—and I’m not tired of it yet. As you can see, especially when you compare these to the first calendars I did, they’ve definitely evolved over time!

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OK, so now that you know the background of the calendars,
let’s talk about the specific process of making one.

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I start with just a vague idea about possible themes, usually tied in somehow to the month. If it’s spring, it might be focused on growth, or words and phrases connected to the color green. Summer might be about freedom. September might be back-to-school (even though our schools start in August—old habits die hard)—perhaps a chalkboard theme, or teaching or learning. Some of the holiday months are pretty obvious—gifts for Christmas, gratitude for Thanksgiving.

For my August calendar this year, I considered some concepts related to the month—the colors of the August birthstone, definition of “august,” checked out the holidays that month. In the end, I chose the theme of travel/exploration/adventure, simply because I was preparing for a trip to Malta and that was the mood I was in.

From there, I went to Shutterstock.com, a stock photography and illustration site I subscribe to for my graphic design business. I scribble ideas on a piece of paper and start searching related words, looking for some kind of overall graphic look. It might be a complicated illustration, or a border and a bunch of little pieces. I collect them in a “lightbox” until I have plenty of possibilities. Using Adobe Illustrator, I can change colors, modify shapes, and so on.


I decided that I loved the look of the retro travel stuff, the postmarks and luggage tags, so I started playing with the airmail envelope border and then filled in with smaller graphics related to the individual prayer prompts. I also picked one graphic to use as my primary color palette (the six postcards in the third graphic in the row above this paragraph). Starting with my calendar template in Adobe InDesign, I began copying and pasting individual elements to try to come up with a workable structure.

After playing with images for a while, I went back to words. First, I searched for travel idioms to inspire the prompts…

  • Mile a minute
  • Bad news travels fast
  • Have __, will travel
  • Travel light
  • Off the beaten track
  • Travel broadens the mind
  • Travel with someone
  • Right up my alley
  • Whatever floats your boat
  • Jump ship
  • Train of thought
  • Step it up a gear asleep at the wheel
  • At a crossroads
  • At a fork in the road
  • Backseat driver
  • Put the cart before the horse
  • Cool your jets (calm down)
  • Fifth wheel (someone who’s superfluous)
  • In the driver’s seat
  • Ships that pass in the night
  • Middle of the road (moderate)
  • My way or the highway
  • Road rage
  • On the right track
  • Going nowhere fast


Then I looked for more graphics on Shutterstock related to some of the key words that seemed to have potential.

  • travel
  • map
  • suitcase
  • Airport/airplane
  • cars
  • trains
  • boats
  • tickets
  • world
  • globe
  • stamps
  • coins

Next, I pulled out some of those pictures and scattered them around the page, then started typing in (in a random order) some of the prayers inspired by the images. I keep paper in front of me so I can jot down ideas as they come.

  • Someone who feels lost
  • Sunglasses – what people see
  • Camera- something you’d like to capture, seeing the beauty
  • Vintage travel – suitcase
  • Suitcases – heavy – carrying something they shouldn’t
  • Wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round – someone who’s spinning in circles, getting nowhere
  • Give thanks for the life you have, not the life you want
  • Train tracks, ships that pass in the night
  • Train coming out of a tunnel – pray for someone to get to the light at the end of the tunnel, or pray for someone passing through

From there, it’s simply a lot of back and forth… a few prayers, a few more images, a few more prayers inspired by those images. It’s like a giant crossword puzzle, and I keep moving things around until they fit. I add some color here and there, add things in, take a few things away, substitute shapes and color blocks for some of the calendar squares… Eventually, all the squares are filled, and I’ve squeezed in whatever graphics I can and found a reasonable overall balance to the page….

And voilá! The calendar is ready to download.
[Click here to download your August prayer prompt calendar.]


It’s always just a trial and error process, one in which I follow my gut instinct and operate on a whim. I try to find funny twists on the words and graphics, and I don’t shy away from irreverence. I want this to be fun, and real. I want people to know that prayer doesn’t have to be stiff and formal, that it can be fun and whimsical.

And from there, I hope people will take the same approach I used to create these—and run with it. Use the prompt to get you started but let your mind roam freely from there. Follow the seemingly random connections. Let God bring people to mind and use your individual thought processes in a creative way to guide your prayers.

I can provide a starting point, but it’s up to you—and God—where you go with it from there. Just as I go back and forth, following whatever obscure connections I see in the space between the words and the pictures, I hope you will follow those trails through your own brain. We’ll never get it all. We’ll never pray about every situation that needs prayer. We’ll never remember everyone we care about. The world’s needs are too great. People are too numerous. We’re too limited.

But our God is a creative God. I believe He delights in us when we offer our creative selves to Him, when we try to channel that creative energy that is at the foundation of who He is and all that He creates. I believe He uses these calendars—not because of anything I did, in particular, but because each one of you opens yourself up to His leading when you open your mind to prayer.

I’m thrilled that I get to be a part of it.

CONTEST: Let me design a prayer prompt calendar just for you

I love to design my monthly prayer prompt calendars. I love the colors, the quirky connections, and coming up with the themes. There are more ideas than time to produce them. The hard part is narrowing it down and selecting a direction. That’s where you come in. Because you know what? I think there are lots of ...

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I love to design my monthly prayer prompt calendars. I love the colors, the quirky connections, and coming up with the themes. There are more ideas than time to produce them. The hard part is narrowing it down and selecting a direction. That’s where you come in.

Because you know what? I think there are lots of you out there with great ideas, too. And there are a lot of online ministries I’d be honored to help in this small way, so I decided to run a contest for bloggers.

Submit your idea for a theme for my March calendar before January 31, and if I select your idea, you win! You’ll get a calendar designed around that theme that you can give away on your blog (either free when they subscribe to your blog, or just as a free download for everyone—your choice how to promote it). I will also use it as the March calendar on my website, but I will publish it on my blog, linking to your blog, along with a brief introduction to you and your message.

You don’t have to be a designer to participate—in fact, I hope you’re not, because then I have more leeway! 🙂 Your idea does not have to be completely thought through, nor does it have to look like one of mine. The sample calendars throughout this post are provided to help you start thinking. Many of mine so far have centered on that month’s holidays, like Christmas or Valentine’s Day or summer, but even in those cases, I’ve gone in a certain thematic direction (love, thankfulness, etc.). Let yourself be creative! At the same time, know that I’ll choose one entry based on the possibilities I see to be creative with it, so you don’t really need to provide the creativity—and you never know what idea will intrigue me the most. Here are some examples of what I’m looking for. Your submission does not have to be any more detailed than the samples below.

Sample idea based on a graphic concept:

Chalkboard—calendar can look like a chalkboard with hand-drawn graphics and type, with the prompts themed around people who use chalk (teachers, kids, sidewalk artists, seamstresses, or what have you)

Sample idea based on a ministry topic:

A real example I created for a friend—she writes about being a single mom and the issues she faces, so I designed a calendar with prayers specific to her audience (your ministry may be about hope, or forgiveness, or renewal, or marriage, or love…)

Sample idea based on a scripture or Biblical theme:

Fruit of the spirit—prayer prompts might be about people who exhibit specific fruit and prayers for us to manifest those things (example: pray for someone who consistently shows joy; help me practice kindness) —OR—

Psalm 91 (“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”)—calendar would include prayers about shelter (giving thanks for it), prompts related to things like protection, security, steadfastness, leaning on God, etc.

Sample idea based on book content (I’ll use my own because that’s an easy example):

Upside down—graphically, the type could be oriented in many different directions, and the prompts would be centered on unexpected people to pray for, ways to look at your own prayers differently or from a new perspective

or, say you write fiction:

Prayer prompts associated with your book, like people who share names with your characters; people who share professions or hobbies or quirks of a character; prompts about adventure or history or a specific place; and so on

Sample idea centered around specific people to pray for:

Prayers for children (infants and their parents; preschoolers; teens; athletes; someone struggling in school; kids whose parents recently divorced, etc.)

To enter, leave your ideas in a comment below or email me (kellyostanley@me.com). I need your website/blog URL and a brief description of your idea (doesn’t have to be any more detailed than the examples above) and how that relates to your site/ministry/message/book. You may include a sample prayer prompt or two, or not. If you have a certain style in mind, you can mention that (or show me a sample image)—or leave that part up to me.

If I select your entry, I will be in touch to learn more about your ministry and theme and to ask if you’d like to submit some of the specific prayer prompts as well. (Totally up to you; I am glad to come up with them myself, if you’d like.) Remember: deadline is January 31, and I’ll design the calendar by Feb. 20 so you have some time to promote it before March 1. Good luck! Can’t wait to hear your ideas!

P.S. I won’t use your ideas if you are not selected as the winner; they’ll remain yours, I promise. If you want to keep the ideas confidential, please submit to me by email with the subject line “prayer prompt contest.”

P.P.S. If you happen to be a man, I promise not to make the calendar look feminine or frilly. Don’t rule out this opportunity based on how my calendars have looked in the past. It just so happens that the majority of my readers are women, so I let myself be girly sometimes.

 

The essence of creativity…

As I’m busy writing my next book, I’m also poring through all of my files. Stacks and stacks of papers. Printed blog posts and online articles. Handwritten notes scribbled over the years as I read books in bed, late at night. Scraps of paper and receipts with “brilliant” ideas that I scribbled as I drove, ...

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GRAPHIC essence of creativityAs I’m busy writing my next book, I’m also poring through all of my files. Stacks and stacks of papers. Printed blog posts and online articles. Handwritten notes scribbled over the years as I read books in bed, late at night. Scraps of paper and receipts with “brilliant” ideas that I scribbled as I drove, afraid the thought would vanish with the scenery. Bits of my own writing, bits of other people’s.

This quotation is one I stumbled upon again recently. I immediately fell in love with when I first read it—when Ann Voskamp posted it in 2012 in a post about why everyone needs to make art everyday. (Read that post here.)

Because of my new book, I’m thinking a lot about creativity. About risk. About finding the courage to seek God even when it’s not easy. To look for Him even when we’re tired and weary. To pick up the Bible even when we don’t know where to start. Wondering about how to keep up a life of faith, how to not burn out, how to push through anyway. And I’m pondering how to still my mind and relax into my relationship with God even as I try frantically to meet this next writing deadline.

Just because I’m writing about prayer does not mean I struggle any less than you do. But with each comment I receive, each message and question about prayer, I am more and more inspired to work on this book. I’m in love with the subject. I’m in love with creativity. And I’m remembering how much I’m in love with the Creator who inspires all of those things.

And I’m grateful for you. For that thing inside that won’t let go, the part of you that keeps reaching, keeps wanting to try again or find more of God or reach out to connect with others. The part of you that keeps hoping. We hear all the time that God is love. And oh, He is. We can rest in it, pull it around us, wrap ourselves in the warm cloak of God’s adoration.

But the word that makes my spirit leap is hope. Hope says there’s always something more. That the end is not the end. That somehow, some way, things will get better. Deadlines will be met, bodies will be healed, finances will balance, relationships will be restored, life will move forward, and God will prevail.

But allowing ourselves to believe? Letting ourselves feel that hope? It’s hard. And scary. It’s a huge risk. But if you look back at Ann’s quote, note that she doesn’t simply say that creativity is believing. She says it’s believing enough.

That’s it. That’s all you have to do. You don’t have to believe everything you hear or study. You don’t need all the answers. You can still wonder, and doubt, and try, and fail, and walk forward, and fall back. But just believe enough to pick yourself back up. To take one more step. To reach out your hand, to tilt your face towards the sky. To dream. To create. To pray. To seek. To hope. And to find.

Because the biggest risks bring the greatest rewards.

 

 

Look around

Ask God to show you where He is in anything you witness, study, or participate in. Inspiration—creative and spiritual—is everywhere. ~Praying Upside Down Anyone willing to share with the rest of us? Where have you found inspiration lately? What are you reading? Listening to? Learning? Absorbing? Watching? Discovering? It’s not too late to download this ...

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PUD book quotes-12Ask God to show you where He is in anything you witness, study, or participate in. Inspiration—creative and spiritual—is everywhere. ~Praying Upside Down


Anyone willing to share with the rest of us? Where have you found inspiration lately? What are you reading? Listening to? Learning? Absorbing? Watching? Discovering?


It’s not too late to download this June calendar to use as a daily reminder to pray… or to help you pray for something different. It’s free to all blog subscribers!

 

An Upside-Down Christmas (part 1)

Since I lost Mom three and a half years ago, Christmas has been decidedly less fun. The best part of Christmas was finding really fun, quirky gifts that only my mom would like—and lots of them. She did the same for me. But now, she’s not on my gift list. My kids are past the ...

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Since I lost Mom three and a half years ago, Christmas has been decidedly less fun. The best part of Christmas was finding really fun, quirky gifts that only my mom would like—and lots of them. She did the same for me. But now, she’s not on my gift list. My kids are past the age of waiting by the tree with eyes full of wonder, but instead have few needs and fairly expensive wants (I’m not criticizing them; just saying how things have changed). My life—with its work, activities, and responsibilities—has gotten fuller. Busier. I have less time to “do” Christmas and less desire to add Christmas clutter to my décor… because in a few short weeks, I’ll then have to undo all the “cheer.”

But this post isn’t going to be a downer. I’m just saying that because of all of these things, I’m particularly aware that the holidays aren’t always fun. I feel like everyone expects things to go perfectly—over-the-limit credit cards to miraculously get paid off in January, family members to bury the strife they’ve stirred up for years, pounds to drop off once the Christmas fudge is all gone. And, even if you’ve lost someone you love, the hole in your heart should be filled by happy memories and other people you love. If these things happen for you, I’ll be the first to celebrate with you.

But this series of posts is for those who might be feeling stress heading into Thanksgiving and Christmas.

For the next few Fridays, I’m going to try to look at Christmas’s stressors from a different point of view. Backwards. Inside-out. Creatively. And of course, my favorite—upside down. I’m hoping these ideas will inspire you—and remind me—to find the joy in the holidays again.

STRESS #1: MONEY

Well, let’s be honest: the issue is really a lack of it, isn’t it? I love to give gifts, so I tend to buy too much. And I start a few months early, thanks to the equally-marvelous-and-terrible phenomenon of online shopping.

Can I tell you a secret? I’m so tired of hearing how gifts aren’t important. (I know, I’m such a rebel.) I fully understand that material things are not the point. That we don’t need to spend a cent. That we’re throwing money away on things that we don’t need. But here’s the thing: giving gifts is my love language. When well-meaning people (or those who are wisely trying to protect their own over-extended budgets) suggest that we don’t exchange gifts, I feel like I’ve been punched. Truly, I am fine with not getting a thing. But I hate to be robbed of my privilege to give. When I give a gift, it is because I’ve discovered that tangible things help remind people of the love I try to show them all the time. Friends, some of whom live in other states, comment that every time they see the glass bowl I gave them as a wedding gift (or the antique flower salt and pepper shakers or the Jane Austen action figure), they think of me. One friend even said that although her children haven’t met me more than a couple times, they know who I am because they’ve heard the story of a gift I gave their mom. You don’t have to convince me of all the reasons gifts should not be (and are not) the focus of Christmas or remind me what it’s all about. I know, I really do. But the fact remains that gifts are often a part of our celebrations.

So today, as we’re coming up on Thanksgiving and the frenzy of blockbuster sales and extreme shopping, we’re going to talk about some gifts you can give that will cost you very little but be meaningful to give or receive. Some take a little more time than others, but the price tag will be small.

What’s in a name? Spend some time on eBay or etsy or Google searching for the names of people on your list. One year I gave Mom a framed matchbook from Hotel O’Dell, an old hotel with my parents’ last name, and a memoir called Miss O’Dell. I found antique sheet music for a song with my daughter Katie’s first name in the title. I found a beer label with a drawing of the Stanley Hotel, the hotel from The Shining (written by my husband’s favorite author, Stephen King), and framed it for my husband. These things fit in inexpensive, standard-size frames, but they showed thought. You can also order (through a site like etsy) customized pendants with a person’s name or a favorite phrase stamped into the metal.

Pick a theme. It can be simple or complex. Is her favorite color lime green? Then buy a few assorted items—pens, a notebook, nail polish, socks—and put them in a lime green gift bag. One year my friend Marcia gave me a bag of gifts with a card that said, “Because you’re bigger than life.” It contained an oversize candy bar, giant highlighter, super-size bottle of wine, and so on. I just put together an inexpensive correspondence kit for Marcia’s 7-year-old daughter with a bunch of items found on clearance—notecards and pens, some 47¢ greeting cards from Walmart, a small address book, stickers, and a sheet of stamps in a plastic box. Maybe you could choose a favorite recipe, copy it onto a pretty card, and include it with one or two ingredients (a gourmet bottle of olive oil or vanilla extract, a fancy bag of pasta, or pretty cupcake liners and sprinkles—easily found at places like World Market and HomeGoods). Perhaps you give away a movie night—a $5 CD from a clearance bin somewhere, some microwave popcorn, an oversized box of candy and a couple bottles of pop.

Do the shuffle. Come up with some kind of exchange—make a game of it—and instead of buying gifts for everyone at a specific gathering, have each person bring one thing. A $10 gift card to their favorite restaurant or clothing store. A favorite book (new or used). A favorite movie (dig through the $5 bins at the big department stores). Or do the “white elephant” game and try to come up with the funniest, most outrageous gifts. You may use something you already own or spend months scouring yard sales and Goodwill looking for just the right thing. Let the exchange be fun and allow yourselves to spend time enjoying it, so it’s not focused on the actual gift itself but the experience and laughter around it.

Know any authors? Ask them to sign books to the person getting the gift. Plan ahead, and try to attend author fairs and library events throughout the year where people will be signing the books they wrote.

Give the gift of you. Make something, even if you’re not particularly crafty—homemade candy, loaves of bread, or coupon books of chores. Or spend some time on Pinterest looking for ideas. (Don’t be disappointed if the finished product doesn’t look as good as the pictures. Just have fun making it.) Order reprints of favorite photos and put them into a small album. You could even write a short letter telling that person what they mean to you. Or use a paint pen to write your favorite scripture around a Christmas ornament. Alternatively, shop in local, independent stores, markets and craft fairs and buy unusual or hand-crafted products.

You’ve been framed. Print 5×7” or 8×10” copies of pretty photos you took on a recent vacation or hike through the woods, put them in inexpensive frames, and give those as gifts. Copy your favorite poem or Bible verse onto a pretty sheet of paper and draw little flourishes around it. Or dig through boxes of old photos until you find a photo of the two of you together and have a copy made. Go to the local antique store and look through boxes of old postcards. Select one with a sweet sentiment or old-fashioned illustration of a town or landmark that your friend likes.

Write a prayer or gratitude journal for your friend or relative. One year, I wanted to give my friend Peggy something meaningful. She believes strongly in the power of prayer—as do I—but saying “I prayed for you” feels rather vague and abstract. So I got a small journal and spent one month before Christmas recording my prayers for her. Each day I had a different focus—each of her kids, her husband, ministry, work, relationships, finances, faith. At the end of the month, she was moved by the gift and loved reading through it. It represented, in a tangible way, the prayers I said for her.

**

I could go on and on. I love this kind of thing. But I’ll stop before this becomes the world’s longest post. (It may already be too late.)

Next week, I’ll be talking about holidays colored by loss or overshadowed by grief and suggesting some ways to meaningfully remember or honor someone you’re missing. In subsequent weeks, we’ll discuss time (finding it, filling it, prioritizing it) and ways to infuse spiritual meaning when it often gets obscured by everything else. If you have suggestions for additional topics or ideas you’d like me to include, I’d love it if you’d share them in the comments or email kellyostanley-at-me-dot-com.

In the meantime, enjoy your turkey and pumpkin pie, or whatever your particular Thanksgiving tradition is. And know that I’m thankful for you—for all the ways you encourage me, and for the fact that you actually want to read my rambling writings :-).

Palette of possibilities

But he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. Luke 18:27 ASV I started looking at this photo and could barely pull my eyes away. Look at it a minute, really look. Let your eyes wander across the colors, dwelling on the ones that catch your eye. Notice the watery mixes and ...

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But he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. Luke 18:27 ASV

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I started looking at this photo and could barely pull my eyes away. Look at it a minute, really look. Let your eyes wander across the colors, dwelling on the ones that catch your eye. Notice the watery mixes and the one empty white square.

Do you see what I see? Yep, you got it: Possibility. Potential. Old and new, pure and tainted, bright and dark, viscous and dried, vivid and dull. I see experimentation, someone playing with how the colors will mix, creating something new from the limited materials provided. As much as I appreciate the raw materials, though, that’s really all they are. What captivates me is not what I see, but what I imagine it could become. There’s no way to predict that ahead of time, though — oh, we could study the artist’s previous work, her subject matter, and her sketches. But even then, the best we could do is make a vague guess. Even if we know her plan, she may have to react to happy accidents (or unfortunate mistakes), taking the painting in a very different direction than planned.

One person, with the best of intentions and lots of passion, still might fall very, very short. This artist might create something bold, graphic and contemporary; that one a delicate, carefully rendered, lifelike portrait. The next person might manage, in a few careful strokes, to evoke the stormy sea at night or a field of wildflowers or a dense, rich wash of color so beautiful we wish we could dive into the page, into the beauty, letting it surround us on all sides, overwhelming our senses.

It all depends on the abilities, vision, and talent of the one doing the painting.

But put this palette in a skilled master’s hands, those of a competent craftsman, one who can see the potential, who can imagine things we cannot — and these simple colors will be transformed into beauty, transparency, dimension, delicacy, boldness. Symbolism, representation, accuracy, truth. Depth and nuance, shadows and light.

Like prayer — endless possibility. Go ahead, study the palette again, but this time view it through this lens. Hope and promise, beckoning to us — ready and waiting for what could be.

It’s all about the artist. Put the watercolors into God’s capable hands, and let Him figure out the best way to put them all together. The exact mixes, the ideal placement on the page, the contrast between elements, how much water and pigment are needed and how the colors blend — it’s all up to Him. The best part? We’ve already seen His work. We can relax knowing He doesn’t make mistakes, and trust in His abilities and His vision.

We just need to yield the brush.

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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