I love to collect prayer books; I have several that I enjoy, ones that help put words to my deepest desires. Recently, the one that has captured my heart and attention is Prayer: Forty Days of Practice by Justin McRoberts & Scott Erickson. Their book is different, half visual art, half poetic prayer. Below I share one example from the book, a prayer that resonates with me.
Visual Art in Prayer
@scottthepainter creates the visual art, and his coauthor writes that the art is “an invitation to stop, listen, hear, see, recognize, and contemplate your life, the lives o those you love, and the presence of God in, through, and around all of it.” All of the images are in two colors, a black silhouette style and one in a greenish-goldenrod color. Instead of asking what the picture means, the authors invite us to consider what the piece draws from us.
As you examine this piece, what do you notice? What do you wonder? How might this piece reflect something of your spiritual life?
Poetic Expression in Prayer
Justin McRoberts wrote a prayer for each piece of visual art in the book. The style is invitational, beginning with “May I … . The authors explain that this invitational imperative is linked to the Genesis account where God says, “Let there be.” It’s called the jussive mood, more suggestion than demand. Here’s a simple example:
Imperative: Say what you want.
Jussive: Let him say what he wants to say.
So the prayers in the book invite the one praying to enter God’s work in and around us.
The prayer accompanying the visual art above is this: May I find freedom in limitation – to fully give myself to what I can do rather than worry about what I cannot.
Personal Reflection on Limitation
Here are some of my thoughts and scriptures that came to mind as I spent time sitting with the visual art and poetic prayer:
God empowers me, strengthens, helps, and upholds me. He directs my path, leading me. I go where He leads and can rest in His leading (Isaiah 41:10; 48:17; Proverbs 16:9). By resting in His leadership, I embrace my limitation.
He is the wind beneath my wings!
His divine power has given me everything I need for life and godliness!
I am God’s poetic masterpiece, created to do the good works He created me to do – just the ones He designed. When I focus on those things He prepared me for, I can embrace and rest in my limitation!
“If we are to live our lives fully and well, we must learn to embrace the opposites, to live in a creative tension between our limits and our potentials. We must honor our limitations in ways that do not distort our nature, and we must trust and use our gifts in ways that fulfill the potentials God gave us. We must take the no of the way that closes and find the guidance it has to offer—and take the yes of the way that opens and respond with the yes of our lives.”Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak
Closing Prayer, Celebrating my Limitation
Lord, you assigned my portion and my cup. The boundary lines have called for me in pleasant places. You make known the path of life. Today I embrace the boundaries, the limitation you have set for me. Amen.
McRoberts, J., & Erickson, S. (2019, February 5). Prayer: Forty Days of Practice (Illustrated). WaterBrook.
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