Monday Prayer Practice

In case you haven’t noticed, I love words. I love reading them and writing them. I love speaking them and listening to them and praying with them. And words can be wonderful, soul-nurturing things.

But my spiritual director recently pointed out that I also use words to distract myself. I use them to place myself in a position of analyzing rather than receiving. So he is encouraging me to release my over-dependence on words and allow myself to receive images from God. The images, he says, can speak to a place deeper than words can reach. The images can rest inside and form my spirit in new ways.

So I am trying.

This morning I began the week on gentleness with the Fruit of the Spirit retreat materials. I prayed the prayer for the week:

Holy Spirit,
Bear the fruit of gentleness in my life.
May the words of my voice,
the movement of my hands,
the leanings of my heart,
reflect your gentle, present, persistent love. Amen.

And I realized that this is the prayer I need this week.  (It was a rough weekend with the teenagers.) I don’t just need this prayer during my morning devotion times, I need it with me all the time. So I decided to make a little prayer card. But instead of writing out the prayer, I used images. (Full disclosure, the back of the card has a quote from Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath.” Addictions are hard to break. I can’t go cold turkey!)

So here’s my encouragement for you: Choose a brief prayer or scripture passage that you need to keep with you this week. Put it on a card in images rather than words. (My card is 2.5 X 3.5 inches.) Carry the card with you and let the images sink into your spirit.

May you rest in the gentle, present, persistent love of God this week–and always.


Starting the Retreat in Daily Life

I’m excited to begin the Fruit of the Spirit Creative Arts retreat in daily life this weekend! All those who ordered materials should have received a welcome email with links to our Facebook page and the retreat blog page.

You can find out more about the retreat here. And it is not too late to order materials. Even if you are not using the retreat materials, you might find some of the links on the blog page interesting.

And now I need to get back to sermon writing.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Prayer Beads

(So my creative Monday post is showing up on Tuesday this week due to general laziness and technical difficulties.)

As part of my rule of life, we’ve started having family prayer time several evenings a week. I have a prayer bead bracelet that I made a few months ago, and my children have been intrigued by this. The girls especially wanted to make their own, so on Saturday we got out the beads and string.

My bracelet has one bead for each of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5), and one bead for each of my immediate family members: the three kids and Ryan.  The girls decided they needed prayer beads for grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, pets, and assorted friends–thus the necklace instead of a bracelet. They really put a lot of thought into which bead would represent which person (or animal).

I hope that these beads will be an encouragement for all of us to pray more intentionally and more faithfully.

Here is G wearing her prayer beads (and a random google eye in the middle of her forehead).

Fruit of the Spirit

I’m putting together a new creative arts retreat, and of course I’ve done the fun part first–gathering art supplies and sewing the bags to hold them.

(Yes, I’m sewing.  My multi-talented husband threads the machine, re-fills the bobbin, and fixes things when I mess up. But I am sewing!)

This will be a retreat in daily life for ordinary time. The theme comes from Galatians 5:13-14; 22-23:

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance [patience], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

All of the art supplies this time around will be included in the bag and in the retreat booklet itself. This will make the retreat materials more portable and less expensive! You can see the bag contents below. Those are watercolor pencils–so much fun to use!

I hope to have full retreat details up by the beginning of next week and the kits ready to mail out by early September–enough time to do this 9-week retreat before Advent begins.