Throughout the next few days we will be discussing ways to integrate creativity with prayer. Creativity and color can add such a powerful element to your prayer time.
However, we want to lay the foundation today. Therefore, CJ will start us off with this topic of Prayer ARTS.
How would you define this spiritual term? People all over the world have been practicing prayer from the beginning of time. Webster’s defines it as follows…
a: an address (such as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought
b: an earnest request or wish
I know in my head those definitions are correct. But my heart thinks they’re a tad bland (sorry Mr. Webster). Over the years, I’ve come to recognize that prayer is more than just asking for stuff.
Prayer is part of a living, vibrant relationship with our Creator. It’s both talking and listening.
Still, prayer is a confusing topic to many. It was obviously a mystery to those first disciples who followed Jesus wherever he went. On one occasion after he had finished praying, one of his disciples came to him and asked if Jesus could share some advice on prayer. (Luke 11:1)
These disciples were so intrigued by watching Jesus pray, they just had to learn from the Master. Sure, they’d heard other religious leaders pray but they weren’t knocking down their doors to learn from them.
Something about the way Jesus prayed was different.
For one thing, this rag tag group wasn’t used to hearing someone open their prayer with “Father.” This kind of intimacy demonstrated by Jesus was refreshing. Imagine the amazement by the disciples when Jesus encouraged them to follow his example…
Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:
“Father, may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
Give us each day the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.” (Luke 11:2-4)
In this prayer we see themes like reverence, adoration, God’s will on earth, daily needs, the need to offer and receive forgiveness, and power to overcome temptation. These things will never become outdated regardless of time period or culture.
The acronym ARTS can be helpful to help remember four kinds of prayer:
doration – This is simply worshiping the Lord for who he is. He is worthy of all our praise regardless of circumstances.
“I will exalt you, my God and King,
and praise your name forever and ever.
I will praise you every day;
yes, I will praise you forever.
Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
No one can measure his greatness.” (Psalms 145:1-3)
epentance – This word literally means to change one’s mind for the better. We confess and acknowledge our sins and shortcomings before the Lord. We are agreeing with the Lord that what we did or didn’t do was wrong. Ask the Lord to bring specific things to your mind that need confessed.
“Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.” (Acts 3:19)
hanksgiving – We thank the Lord for every blessing in our lives, including our good health, a roof over our head, food, clothing, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and little things like oxygen.
“I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.” (Psalms 9:1)
upplication – We lift up our specific requests to God. Examples could include our need for a place to live, a car, a new job, guidance and wisdom for choosing a spouse, healing for friends or family, salvation for friends or family.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (Philippians 4:6)
We’d like to encourage you to spend some time praying through each of those four areas above. It can be as long as you want.
Personalize each of the scripture passages by making it part of your prayer. For example, “Father, I repent of ____________ and I turn to You instead. Thank you for wiping away my sin and giving me a clean start.” (based on Acts 3:19)
We’ve found that writing these things in a journal can be helpful.
Tomorrow, Shelley will share four benefits to adding color and creativity to your prayer life.
Download more resources to get started here: http://yourcreativeadventure.com/youversion/