Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say, how to adore God in a way that doesn’t sound trite or rehearsed, or like we’re simply going through the motions. Sometimes we need a little help. One great way is to read scripture, and pray out of our response to it. But there are other ways of creatively meeting God in prayer.
Recently I was leading prayer at church and I brought along a few objects to provide a little inspiration. Feathers, stones, gift tags, sprigs of rosemary and some crocheted hearts.
I invited people to come and take one or more of the objects and to spend a few minutes listening and reflecting on what God was showing them about himself or about what he has done. Then I invited people to pray their responses aloud.
It was wonderful to see how the Lord used those ordinary items to inspire fresh expressions of adoration to him.
Have you ever tried anything like this? If not, consider collecting one or two ordinary items from around your house or garden.
Spend a few minutes holding an item in your hands. Pay attention to what it feels like – smooth or rough, soft or hard – feel the weight of it in your hand. Notice the colours, patterns and the details. If it has a scent (like the rosemary we used) then smell it. You may want to rub it between your fingers or bruise it to draw out the fragrance. If your item is edible you might want to taste it.
Whatever you notice, whatever the Lord shows you, use that to reflect praise and adoration back to him.
If you try this out, or if it’s a normal practice for you, I’d love to hear about your experience. Please share in the Comments.
Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”
In the Mark (4:37-38) account of this event we find that “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.”
Jesus is a man who knows how to rest! He takes the opportunity that presents itself – a cushion in the back of a boat. It doesn’t sound all that comfortable at the best of times. So how is it that Jesus could sleep in a sinking boat in the middle of a violent storm? I find this hard to get my head around, but I also find myself concluding that although probably very tired at the end of the day, Jesus was also a man fully at peace, trusting and resting in the Father.
The disciples who were experienced fishermen had no doubt faced storms before, but this one must have been extremely bad to frighten them so much. When they woke Jesus, shouting at him to save them from drowning, they must have expected that he could in fact save them! It’s unclear how, because they certainly weren’t expecting him to still the storm.
Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith, and it seems apparent that they still didn’t fully comprehend who he really was.
What about us? What is our faith like? What is our response to the storms of life? Do we become worried or afraid? Or do we remember that Jesus is in the boat with us, and put our trust in him?
I did something today that I haven’t done much of in a while. When I got home from work, I dumped my bags, fed the cats (it didn’t seem right to make them wait any longer), and I went for a walk.
There’s a new wetlands area being developed near my house, so I followed the paths around the ponds. I sat on a bench and as the sun dipped in the sky and the air became cooler, I sang to the Lord, I talked and I listened. I breathed in and I breathed out. I rested in his presence.
I often feel closest to the Lord when I spend time appreciating nature, so it made sense to me that finding rest in the Lord could incorporate time spent in nature.
When and how do you feel closest to the Lord? And how might he be inviting you to rest in his presence?
Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.
By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.
May wisdom show you the paths of peace, may you find rest in the presence of the Lord, and may you be refreshed like morning dew on the grass.
One of my favourite songs is called “Restless” by Audrey Assad. And yes it’s on the theme of finding our rest in God, so of course I wanted to share it with you.
The YouTube video includes a conversation about rest and about writing the song. I hope you find it encouraging. If you like the song, it’s on Audrey’s album The House You’re Building or you can buy the song by itself on iTunes.
Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.