One of the most important tools that God provides to help communicate with him is our imagination. This little function of our brain can take us places in prayer that we never expected to go and give us prayer experiences that are deep and lasting. Warren W. Wiersbe states, “We think in pictures even though we speak and write with words.”
Think about it. What were you picturing in your mind as you read the above paragraph? I may be writing these words for you to read, but the thoughts going through your head as you read them are probably forming an emotion (interest or boredom) and some sort of mental picture. Our inner communication is not a tickertape of words, but of emotions and mental pictures.
Perhaps that is why God chose the Hebrew people as the means to bring his message of salvation to mankind through the Bible. The Hebrew culture and language are filled with pictures, vivid symbols, emotion, and imagery. God still uses imagery to communicate with us. According to Horace Bushnell, “God gave man imagination that He might have a door to enter by.”
Try using your imagination in prayer. Mentally picture yourself sitting on a hillside, or beside a brook, under the shade of a large oak tree with soft clouds drifting overhead. Imagine the Lord sitting next to you (even if you can’t see his face), and just begin talking to him. Tell him about the events of your day or share your concerns with him.
If you don’t like to sit still even in your imagination, picture yourself walking with Jesus beside a gentle lake. As you walk along, share your concerns with him. Then imagine Jesus handing you some flat stones to skim across the lake representing each concern that you need to release into his care.
Don’t be surprised if you find God enlarging your prayer time by adding more to the imagery. He may even use metaphors and similes to represent what he wants to communicate, or you may just hear him speak softly deep within your spirit.
What has been your experience with using your imagination in prayer? We would love to hear from you in the comment section at the very bottom of today’s post.
In Him together, Susan Gaddis
This is the first in a series of posts at Holy in the Daily exploring different avenues of prayer. I hope you’ll join us as we discover some new and old ways of praying.
This Post Has 2 Comments
Oh, Susan, reading this makes me homesick. Many times the way I have “heard” the voice of mystery was through pictures in my mind. I think because of disappointment and lost hope my imagination has been darkened. I need the sun to rise in that place again. What use to just come now will take effort.
I long for the time it is just part of my life again.
I think your words might ring true for others, Cathy, who are going through the dark night of the soul. I appreciate your open heart with words that speak for others. I’m praying for you that the spark of mystery will be lit once again. Love you.