Articles and resources to help Christians learn to pray
I recall being especially imaginative as a child. In first grade, my best friend and I had an imaginary “office” in the big magnolia tree in our front yard. She would dictate imaginary letters while I would write with a stick on the leaves of the trees. We conducted all kinds of imaginary business. In the fourth grade, another friend and I spent hours taking turns telling a never-ending story to one another. As I grew towards adulthood, I used my imagination less for amusement and more for specific purposes in life. For example, how many of us have counted imaginary sheep to fall asleep, or imagined that we were standing on top of the podium to give ourselves confidence before a big competition?
Until a few years ago, I never thought to bring my imagination into my prayer life. A professor in one of my graduate courses gave me a new perspective on this by sharing that God created all of me, including my imagination. Just as I am to be holy and set apart for God, so should my imagination also be holy and set apart; consecrated for God’s pleasure and purposes. It occurred to me that my imagination should therefore be a part of the day to day living out of my spiritual life.
An Anglican brother in the Society of St. John the Evangelist brought me additional fresh insight into how the imagination can be utilized effectively in prayer. Geoffrey Tristam stated, “It can be very helpful in prayer to use our imaginations and to actually spend time holding a person before…Jesus. I often imagine Jesus looking at the sick person with deep kindness, knowing them, loving them as someone unique. I imagine Jesus laying His healing hands upon them, and filling them with new hope and peace.”
This thought intrigued me, so I began allowing my imagination to picture Jesus entering into more of my conversations with the Father and into my reading of Scripture. How amazing to allow the One who lives to intercede for me…and the One who is the very Word of God…to participate in my prayers for myself and for others in this unique way. Engaging my imagination provides a powerful opportunity to allow Jesus to be very present in the midst of all that is upon my heart. I pictured Jesus wrapping His arms around my friend whose mother is in the hospital, and saw Him bending down to whisper into my granddaughter’s ear as she played…telling her how much He loves and cares for her as I prayed for her. Wow! That was a particularly sweet prayer time for me.
There are many other situations; however, I’m sure you get the idea. Why not give this a try as you pray through your everyday life? Use your imagination to include Jesus in the lives of those for whom you pray. See if His involvement doesn’t grip your heart and give you fresh insights and words to pray into every situation. Perhaps you will find, as I have, that your prayers may get redirected to reflect His kingdom purposes for the sake of the Father’s glory.
Kim’s passion is to see God’s people recognize that prayer is a creative, continual moment by moment lifestyle with God as we align our hearts with His plans and purposes for His glory and for the sake of His kingdom. Her ministry involves writing, teaching and consulting. She also compiles and edits HPM’s free daily devotional, Connection! and blogs regularly on the HPM website). Kim is a member of America's National Prayer Committee, VP of Gospel Revivals, Inc. and on the Advisory Board for America Prays.
Kim has a BA in Psychology and a Masters degree in Spiritual Formation and Leadership.