Creative Prayer Session #2-Trees

Supplies needed: watercolor paper, pen and watercolors and water container

Welcome to the Maker’s Space. Relax and enjoy this time that you have set aside to feed your creative side, where you have something in common with our creative God. This is our second session of Creative Prayer. We are going to be focusing on 3 different types of prayer,  meditation, contemplation and thanksgiving.  Both meditation and contemplation are introspective, quiet and reflective, and are often confused, but meditation is stimulated by something external;  a text, a quote, a sound, an image, a thought or even a repetitive action, while contemplation deals with the purely internal:  silence, stillness, void, release, and the lack of emphasis on reasoning and rational thought. Contemplation uses your imagination or day dreaming, and in meditation we will use a tree image to think back over things in your past and how they have shaped you.  So, we will be using a little bit of both.   One of the dangers in any kind of prayer is our limiting God and not expecting the unexpected or something beyond our imagination. What if God gave us our imagination to connect with Him. Quieting yourself and your mind, is the first step to using you imagination, the first step to worshipping God, and the first step to training yourself to hear what God is saying to you. 

So, we are going to get right to it and open in prayer and a reflection.

 Our Creator, we ask you to be with us today and let us speak with you using art and the spirit of creativity. Let us hear what you have to say to us, as we spend time with you.

Take your watercolors and do a wash for a background on your watercolor paper.  You can do blue for sky, leaving white for clouds, or different blended colors all over the paper.  While you are doing your wash, listen to the following devotional.

 In The Heavenly Places 

“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.”- Ephesians 2:4-6

 This is our rightful place, to be “seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” and to “sit still” there. But how few there are who make it their actual experience! How few, indeed think even that it is possible for them to “sit still” in these “heavenly places” in the everyday life of a world so full of turmoil as this. We may believe perhaps that to pay a little visit to these heavenly places on Sundays, or now and then in times of spiritual exaltation, may be within the range of possibility; but to be actually “seated” there every day and all day long is altogether another matter; and yet it is very plain that it is for Sundays and week-days as well. 

A quiet spirit is of inestimable value in carrying on outward activities; and nothing so hinders the working of the hidden spiritual forces, upon which, after all, our success in everything really depends, as a spirit of unrest and anxiety. There is immense power in stillness. A great saint once said, “All things come to him who knows how to trust and be silent.” The words are pregnant with meaning. A knowledge of this fact would immensely change our ways of working. Instead of restless struggles, we would “sit down” inwardly before the Lord, and would let the Divine forces of His Spirit work out in silence the ends to which we aspire. You may not see or feel the operations of this silent force, but be assured it is always working mightily, and will work for you, if you only get your spirit still enough to be carried along by the currents of its power. —Hannah Whithall Smith

 Contemplation is a refreshing way to take a vacation from yourself. Imagine someone left you a peaceful place to go to that you never knew existed. Imagine your idea of a peaceful place, a beach, a cabin in the woods, a mountain chalet. You have a beautiful sacred space thing you formed by your Creator that fits you perfectly, where you can meet with God and find the Kingdom of God within you. The challenge is finding out how to get there. Just like a vacation, you need to leave your current activity behind and go with the intention of being quiet and alone putting everything else on hold. It takes practice, because your brain does not want to stop assaulting you with thoughts. So, you need to focus on one thought and continue to keep your mind coming back to it. Our centering word today in meditation  is going to be ‘trees”. 

Close your eyes to help a little with distraction.  Let your mind wander to a tree that has been important in your life, perhaps your childhood. Let the Holy Spirit bring it back into your memory. If you to do not have one, think of the trees that you have seen in your lifetime, and pick out a favorite. Contemplate that tree, and the experiences you had with it. What are the things that your tree gave you? How did the tree help you grow or what did you learn from it? How has where it was placed give you a sense of place? How did its roots nourish you? Trees are God’s gift to us, not just for their fruit and wood and beauty, but they bear witness to events that take place around them. They bear witness and give us a sense of place and memory. Think hard about the trees you remember and they may unlock memories long since forgotten. You may even meet the Lord there. 

Start by drawing your tree.  We are using pen, so there are no mistakes, only more branches. Start at the outermost branch and go backwards into the trunk in order to spatially place it on the paper, As you fill in the other branches, the trunk, and even the roots if you want to, thing about the memories that this tree is bringing to you mind. 

After you feel you have a pretty good outline of the tree and its branches, start to write the things that the tree gave you along lines of bark and up into the branches. Take your time, more and more gifts of time and place that the tree gave you will begin to pop up. 

Next, are our prayers of thanksgiving. When we give thanks, we have to realize that we are giving thanks to someone, not just the air. God gave you the tree, the memories, your very life, and He is the One to which we give thanks. Since we are transitioning from summer to fall, make leaves for the tree and attach the ones of summer and growth that you want to hang on to, and let the leaves fall to the ground of the things that you would like to let go of, either from that past time with the tree or this summer and fall in the present.  As we grow, we all have things in our character that we are ready to let go of, not just events that have happened to us. Thank God for the growth and for the “fallen leaves of growth”.  You can add a wash of watercolor to your pen and ink drawing.

Some thoughts and excerpts have been taken from “The God of the Garden” by Andrew Peterson and “Pray Like a Gourmet by David Brazzeal and Streams in the Desert Devotional.


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