What if Imagining Were Prayer?

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To Him who is able to do more than we could ever ask or imagine…

What if prayer is an invitation to imagine with God?

This verse seems to think imagining can be something of a prayer. Sometimes we can ask straight-out. We know what it is we need. Forgiveness. Daily bread. Wisdom.

But sometimes we pray – Your kingdom come, Your will be done – and if we’re honest, we admit we have very little idea what we’re asking for. The elusive kingdom made of mustard seeds and healed sick people… When we ask for it to come, do we even know what that would mean?

Walking through my neighborhood, I can almost hear the gathered groups singing and worshipping. Love between neighbors; justice spilling out in our interactions. It doesn’t exist yet, but it will one day I imagine.

Praying with a friend for her fractured, fighting family. I imagine the five of them bathed in Presence and forgiveness. They’re not there yet, but we weep with the vision of a family at peace.

I imagine who I could be, what I could’ve accomplished, how I can have changed in one year. In five. There are no words to describe the things I imagine I’m free from, the encounters I imagine I’ve braved. There is only hope inexpressible and I offer my imaginings upward. A groan too much for words.

Sir Ken Robinson defines imagination as “the power to see beyond the present moment and our immediate environment”*. If that’s imagination – isn’t all prayer imagination? Looking beyond what is to what could – and even should – be?

So I slip into prayer, sit down on the cold pew and close my eyes. And suddenly I am no longer there, on the hard wood. I hear a Whisper that pulls me to imagine with Him. To imagine a world in which swords have been bent into plowshares. To imagine two streets over, a young man finding grace and courage in the middle of despair. To imagine rescue coming to girls half a world away who’ve been kept and abused for far too long. I imagine my own heart – tuned irrevocably to the distant beat of the kingdom drawing closer.

And I offer all of this in a prayer to the One who can do so much more than I can even imagine.

 

 

 

 

*Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative

To Be

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There are people who think in movement.
Minds filled with ideas and topics that can’t be expressed in words – only with a dance. 

There are people who think not with words, but with images.
Noticing details of a scene they have never seen. 

There are people whose minds have made connections between letters and colors, smells and music.
So ‘G’ is always blue and chocolate cake wafting from the oven sounds like Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. 

And this morning as I wake up, the world seems infinitely more – full of color and possibility.

While we’re busy categorizing people and stuffing them into boxes
         – calling some genius and others “slow” –
our Creator is painting with broad strokes.
Sometimes the sky is pink and orange – instead of blue – the ocean is green and foamy white. 

I am – you are – so much more than our labels.
I want to hunker down next to you and trade eyes.
Whisper to the children – they are oh so very free to be whomever they were knitted to be. 

And What We Have Left Undone

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A line in the liturgical prayer of confession asks God’s forgiveness for what we have done, but also for the things “we have left undone”.

That line always catches in my throat.

For generosity left undone in favor of “personal financial security”.

For humility left undone in favor of ego.

For the sitting at His feet left undone to chase the life of busyness.

For kinds words left unspoken as I babbled other, less-edifying things.

For the good work left undone in favor of frivolity.

For the reconciliation left undone in favor of nursing private grievances.

For what’s done in secret left undone in favor of the stage.

For truth not spoken, justice not sought, and righteousness left undone in favor of others’ good opinion.

For the dreams left undreamed, the stories left unwritten, and the chances to create beauty left undone in favor of the status quo, life as usual, and my “comfort zone”.

For transformations we could’ve sparked, for the miracles we could’ve witnessed, for the grace we could’ve ministered left undone because we simply didn’t believe You’d empowered us for such astonishing things.

Forgive us Lord, for the things we have done.

And also for the things we have left undone.

There seems to be a lot of them.

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