You wouldn’t believe the amount of goose bumps I’ve received from hearing the many stories people have shared with me for this blog! Recently, I received a text from my friend, Maleia. Her words immediately evoked the familiar prickly feeling on my arms. Her God story was extra special for me because it occurred while she was praying with the Sacred Beauty Prayer Cards. There were a couple take aways from her story that I found really helpful – I had to share!
Maleia was preparing to take her daughter to gymnastics. She was thinking about what she could take to do in the car while she waited for her daughter. There was the schedule that needed to be refined for next week, the grocery delivery order that needed to be put in, and several texts that needed her response. She thought of her prayer cards and quickly grabbed them on her way out the door.
“Instead of checking my emails, breathing in the busyness in my life, or crossing tasks off my to-do list, I prayed with one of the prayer cards.”
“I was praying with the card of the young woman walking across the rocks to the sunlight. The Scripture on the card was from John 8:12, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.' In the photo, I was drawn to her sandals and I started to imagine Jesus’ feet and what his sandals looked like as he walked over very rocky, rough terrain. While I prayed, I released. I had tears in my eyes when I finished. I connected to Jesus right in the car with me. It was the best gymnastics session EVER! From now on, I’m keeping those prayer cards in my car so I can use those extra minutes of waiting in prayer.”
The next day, Maleia was up early to go swimming at the gym. As she started swimming, she found her thoughts started to focus on some stressful situations.
“I thought, I don’t want to start my day like this. It’s barely 5:15 in the morning and I’m already trying to work through frustration and anger with my workout. Something’s wrong here. I want that peaceful experience I had with God the day before. I was thinking about how I was sitting in the car and the image from the prayer card came to mind. I started to see the sandals again and the image of her walking on the rocks. It brought me back into prayer and talking with God. It better equipped me for facing the day and the stressors ahead.”
“I’ve always known I am a very visual person and this type of prayer has helped connect me to prayer more than any other kind. Now all I have to do is envision that sandal, and I start to relax. I can do that while I’m driving down the road, while I’m trying to fall asleep at night, and even when I’m on the phone. Talk about pivotal. And that’s from one prayer card!"
I loved hearing this story. First, it was convicting. As I was reading Maleia’s text to me, I, too, was sitting in my car waiting for an appointment and scrolling on my phone. Go figure! After I read her text, I put down my phone and prayed. I could be using my time more meaningfully.
Second, her story demonstrates the power of images. Images surround us everywhere we go and they can influence us greatly both positively and negatively. Think about how advertising influences us. What emotions do you feel when you see the Disney logo? I don’t know about you, but I can instantly start craving ice cream after seeing an ad for Dairy Queen. Or, think about movies. I can never see the crucifix the same since seeing Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of Christ.
If images are that impactful in evoking emotion, think about how powerful they can be when they are used in prayer. As Maleia experienced, using images to pray (Visio Divina), can awaken our senses and really speak to our hearts. The images allow us to better imagine God and further illuminate Scripture in our daily lives.
How can you better use your time for prayer?
Have you ever prayed with sacred art, icons or other artwork? How did the images or artwork draw you closer to God in prayer?
About the Author
Darcie Tallman is a child of God, a daughter of loving parents, a wife to an amazing husband and a mom to four precious souls. She has a passion for prayer, photography and being surrounded by God's beauty. With God's help and guidance, she created Sacred Beauty Prayer Cards, a prayer resource that incorporates photography, Scripture and storytelling.