“They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:8
Trees are a useful metaphor. Jeremiah is using this idea here to describe one who “trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him”.
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: I find it really useful to use something creative in prayer. It generally helps me to focus, and having something physical to keep means I’m more likely to keep coming back to it and keep praying.
This is fairly similar to the paper chain, in that it can be easily added to and is a pretty visual way of doing things. It does require a little more effort but it’s also super easy to add to.
I used a simple tree outline (stretched horizontally to fit A4), copied it a few times and then put the three parts together to make a self-standing tree (with instructions here, of all places, about slotting them together). And then used a printout of a simple leaf to pin on.
Reasons I like using this:
- It’s easy to look back on everything I’ve prayed for/given thanks for
- It’s easy to update – just adding a new leaf
- It’s quite compact but also nice to look at
- I actually really like the visual metaphor – being rooted in God and seeing more of His goodness every day.
This last point reminds me of John 15 – Jesus being the true vine, how we only bear fruit when rooted in Him, but we must also be continually “pruned” in order to produce more and better fruit. It’s a wonderful bit of scripture. I could go on about it for a while…
I always like to do something creative to pray. Whilst simply speaking is great, I often end up just… waffling on. So something creative can also help me to focus.
I came across this idea just before Christmas. And when I did it, I made a few mistakes. I made the strips of paper too thick, and I didn’t do them brightly-coloured enough. But it was still effective.
The idea is simple; write a prayer on each strip of paper, and join them together. You could have separate chains for separate themes (we’ve got one in our house with the theme of ‘thankfulness’), or separate colours for separate themes, or simply write down prayers and not worry about colour-matching themes. I like things being colour-matched but I also hate being too legalistic about things that don’t really matter.
Some of the reasons I like this:
- It’s nice to have something to brighten up a uni room.
- It’s good to see how God’s working, and everything He’s done.
- It’s really easy to add to.
- It’s easy to take a section and give thanks for answered prayers, or continue to pray for something.
- It’s good for both group prayer and personal prayer
I will admit, the idea did come from a list of prayer activities for children, but then again I could quite reasonably describe myself as 20-going-on-5 so I don’t feel too bad about recommending it…
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:6
I’ve talked a lot about prayer before. It’s perhaps one of the biggest recurring themes, probably because it’s so important, but so special, to talk with God and to cast everything onto Him.
8 months ago I was at Forum, a CU training camp where CU leaders from across the country met to worship God and be equipped for mission on campus. And one of the things I took from that was that it doesn’t matter how you pray, it just matters that you pray!
To save this from being a really long post that I need to update whenever I find a new, creative way to pray, I’ve decided to make this a category of its own. Mostly so that when I’m stuck for ideas, I can look back through the category to find something 🙂
In other words: Prayer is important, I hope this is useful 🙂