prayerscapes - creative journeys in worship and prayer

creative prayer journeys



Our creative blog, words, music, films and imagery are to serve you...our heart is to bring hope into suffering, light into dark places, and inspiration to release God's love like a wave of restoration into a broken world.

Neil and Julie

Neil & Julie

Song for Eden

Watercolour painting of woman with city background

Over the last few months, prayerscapes have been working with Sally Cranham, a UK based singer/songwriter, to create a song about the work of Eden Ministry. The mission of Eden is to rescue sexually exploited men and women in Asia and provide for them a safe and dignified environment to live and work. You can buy this song from itunes now – all the proceeds go to the work of Eden!

Here Sally writes about her experience of “Eden” and how the song came about:-

In 2014 I travelled to Asia for the first time. When I arrived there, I was surprised by the intense level of human souls that filled the air. The population is far greater than anywhere I had been before, and nestled in the vast city was a garden. Not a real garden but still, a garden, where people were creating beautiful jewellery and young women were finding rest, healing and new life.

Eden Ministry works to reach, rescue and restore those caught in the red light districts of Asia. They provide holistic programs and courses which enable both men and women to support themselves into a new and brighter future. Many of the young women have been trafficked and the work of Eden Ministry provides a safe place to process their stories.

The young women and teams working with Eden Ministry create beautiful pieces of jewellery that are sold all over the world to support the work. The women are given new skills, not only in the making of the pieces but also in the design process too.

I was privileged to visit one of the Eden offices and was able to teach and share about the creative story of God and how He makes us all uniquely and endlessly creative. We dove into the text of Genesis 1 with joy and I shared songs of that garden space like “Eternity” and “Sapphire Blue“. At the end of our time one young girl spoke (in Chinese) a song she had written about her time at Eden. There was a translation of the song into English and I was able to sing an improvised melody in the moment as a perfect conclusion and prayer to our individual God breathed creativity. Two worlds collided in that room, a garden in the middle of a booming city and it was really a sweet holy moment.

Two years later, here I am, writing a blog about the space of time between that room and this moment. For the time it takes for little things you might see in the moment to come into fruition, one must be patient in what can be seen as full of potential. After working with a couple of friends who run Prayerscapes, we are now able to release a full track inspired by the moment in that room in Asia. At the time I recorded the spoken song in Chinese and the melody that I sang. Now we have a song ready to share with the world, highlighting the work of Eden and the awareness we can raise of modern day slavery. All proceeds raised from sales of this single will go directly to Eden Ministry. You can download the track now here from itunes.

For more information about Eden ministry please visit www.edenministry.org. If you would like to book me to come and share about the work, the song and even run a creative workshop for your community please contact me at sally@feathersandwhirlwinds.com.

With love,

Sally Cranham

www.sallycranham.com

The Making of “Eden Song”

Our Father

New York Underground Train in Station

We all experience the brokenness of humanity. My heart goes out to all those of you who find yourself in that place today. Illness, sorrow, fear, loneliness, hopelessness, confusion, hurt and fatigue are all real and immensely hard sufferings to endure. Christ knows all these feelings, and he overcame even death itself to create a path for us through the hard times. So when Jesus taught us how to pray, it is his understanding of these things that lie at the heart of that prayer, commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer.

It begins “Our Father” – two very powerful words. We are all sons and daughters, equally loved, with the same inheritance, the same status, and the same grace heaped upon us in God’s Kingdom. Jesus does not pray “My Father”! “Our Father” unites us, it forms the stable ground for love to reign and redeem and restore us individually and corporately. This heart connection, this heavenly vision, will unite us and soothe our souls.

Shortly after the 24/7 prayer movement began, we were asked by Pete Greig to create a track that captures the essence of this famous prayer. We recorded the prayer in several languages, reflecting both it’s corporate nature and echoing the growing movement of 24/7 prayer vigils springing up all across the world – a movement that today has now touched more than 2 million people in over 10,000 prayer rooms across the earth. The film was also shot in New York shortly after the 9/11 tragedy.  This added a challenging ring to the line “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us”. The film reminds us that God is ever present with us – we can reach out to Him wherever we find ourselves – whether this be on the daily commute, carrying heavy shopping back from the city, or sat in solitude in the midst of crowds. Throughout, the prayer reveals itself as an offering rising up like a beautiful fragrance from the debris of a fallen world. Today, as you watch the film and pray the Lord’s Prayer, we stand with you trusting in the Holy Spirit to minister to your needs and bring God’s redeeming change into your life.

Here’s the film we created :-

It’s possible to download and keep this film for a small fee by following this link.

Landing Space

Pilots landing a small plane on a landing strip.

Living in a fallen world can be a lonely experience. I have come to see this isolation, this separation is in opposition to the connectedness that Creator God intended for us all. I can only imagine that somehow in heaven we will enjoy a unity and intimacy with God and each other that we only experience as tiny fragments in our lives here on earth. So what is unity? A friend of mine who is not a Christian once described a “moment” he experienced at the end of a folk festival. “We all joined hands and agreed in that moment that love would overcome” Yes!! says the Spirit of God. In that moment his isolation was surpassed by connection. How much more connection is there for those who follow in the footsteps of Christ? When we as the family of God physically join hands and respond in our hearts in unison to our sovereign Lord, the Holy Spirit has a perfect landing space!  Suddenly the skies clear, there is a runway for the grace of God and truth is in our midst.

Let’s not allow anything to prevent this space from happening in our families, in our churches, or in our wider world. Christ’s prayer for us is that we might be one. May we not be frightened of rejection, but rather be open to connection, confident in the redeeming power of the resurrected Christ!

Disturb Us Lord

Sailing Boat on the oceans

The words in the video below cry “Disturb Us Lord!”. Come disturb us – when we are too safe, too distracted, too caught-up in the now to “dream of eternity”. Yet unlike some of those early Celtic pilgrims we are unlikely to literally sail out in a coracle into the vast unknown! However, at every stage, circumstance or challenge in our lives we can choose the great adventure. We can choose to trust in God, to give him everything, and allow the Kingdom of Heaven to be poured into us.

Recently a very special man who was part of our home church, an artist and sculptor, lost his battle with Alzheimer’s.  He truly encompassed the meaning behind this poem. He and his wonderful family faced “the unknown” and choose to sail with immense courage. He lost so many things in life but never lost his faith, which continued to shine brightly, even in his final days. The strength, love and compassion of his family are a living testimony to the redeeming power of Christ.

Take heart as you sail into the sea of parenting, negotiate the waves of ill health, or navigate the demands of a stressful career. Take courage as you voyage through clouds of depression, tack the shifting waves of anxiety, or confront the darkness of grief. At times such as this we are called to fix our eyes on Jesus, stay soft in heart, and carry the promise of eternity in our hearts.

“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 2: 1b-2, NIV)

It’s possible to download and keep this film for a small sum by following this link.

prayer in this film:-

Disturb Us Lord

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

(attributed to Sir Francis Drake -1577)

Treasure Chest

God’s love is a like a treasure chest in the centre of our lives. It is at the very core of our families, and is the powerhouse of our callings in the world. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians there lies an explanation of love that explores the nature of this treasure trove. We can draw from this “love stash” at any time and it never fails to deliver. Why? Because God is love! As followers of Christ we don’t have a monopoly on it. God has poured love into his creation. It seeps out of every pore! This heavenly love has touched us, no matter who we are, what our background is or what world view we happen to hold. Most of us would site loving and being loved as the most important thing in life.

So I wonder why I have not cracked it? Why do I fail so many times to get this right in my own life? I just forget the treasure that is already there. Sometimes I am too tired to open the lid and take a look, or too hurt to receive forgiveness, too rushed to be kind, too needy to be giving, or too insecure to roll out humility. Yet! If I take a moment to dust it off, and open the lid again on the treasure trove of love I have been given, something remarkable begins to happen. Grace begins to flow again in my friendships! Differences fade away under the weight of God’s acceptance, and my heart is free to give and to live.

Note to self: visit the treasure chest! x

Turn This Boat Around

Small sailing boat with two people in.

At the beginning of a new year, many of us relish the possibility of change. For some it is the thrill of setting a new course, for others that of developing relationships in family life, for still others it is the hope for new patterns to emerge in work life. I imagine that our Heavenly Father, the one who is bursting with love and forgiveness, longs to help us to embrace all these things.

I have so many things on my New Year list! Sometimes it feels as though even making a small change can take months of pondering and planning. Sometimes changing direction is like turning a really heavy boat around against the flow of the tide! All too often in early January I see some of these hopes fizzle out, drop off my agenda or become crushed by insecurity or doubt. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. When I lift my eyes to the skies I see the birds fly where they choose on the winds of the moment! This is a beautiful metaphor for the freedom intended for us all. Why is it that so often we feel like we are moving in slow motion or dragging ourselves through treacle? Sometimes it is the well trodden paths of history which pull heavily on our decisions. At times it is the internal doubts and insecurities that confine us. At other times it is the ties in life, the responsibilities we carry, that hold us back. Or perhaps it is the way we look at these things? Could they be transformed into possibilities, joys and adventures? So let us stand, hand in hand with each other, and explore without fear! Share and laugh together. Take mini steps, moment by moment, day by day. Here we can hold steady to a loving God, and stand on the bed of grace given to us by Jesus. He is alive! And we can be alive too. So hope and breathe anew!

Reframing

an empty frame

I like to reframe things. As an artist I have always been fascinated at looking at things from a different angle, daring to change something in a picture. Equally in real life it fascinates me how  retakes can transform our thinking, unlock our heart or heal our experiences. As followers of Christ we are urged to have open eyes, to be guided by love and acceptance and to be willing to forgive. And it truly works! I have had a tendency in the past to look down upon myself, to reject who I am. These days I take each thought captive! What if my shyness was reframed as gentleness, my self-doubt recognised as humility? Gradually I am released to be all that I can be! And at times in my blindness I have needed others to reframe my circumstances for me. Like how I see my children. A friend helpfully reframing  my very intense son as a gifted perfectionist, or my emotional son reframed as empathetic.

As Christians we are given the tools for harmony. We reframe with love, we reframe with acceptance, we reframe with hope, we reframe with forgiveness. Not only does this transform our lives, it sends shoots of renewal into our families as we fan into flame the Godly qualities in our characters and allow the negative ones to slowly fall away.

Love Came at Christmas

The shepherds, wise men and angel gather around the new born Christ.

I wrote the following poem that you can see in the video below for a church nativity service. I love these moments in our lives, the ones that distill everything that we hold dear! Lights shining in the darkness, heaven filled with music, cherished moments watching our little ones and the feeling of unity and love. Somehow I wanted to speak something of clarity, something that caught the story of the birth of Jesus and made it more than a story, more than history! The transformational event we remember at Christmas time is alive with promise, pulsating with dramatic intention and overflowing with gentleness, grace and truth. Every aspect connects with the true nature of our Creator, the elements weaving and combining together with the unspoken yearnings that run deep within us, the fears and hopes we all hold and the counter-culture nature of Christ and His Kingdom. Here is Jesus, a King, born into the world as a poor and threatened refugee. Here is the author of time and space vulnerable, dependent and fragile.

And what of the ones who came to see this precious newborn? A doorkeeper with a soft heart, those that pastor and faithfully watch over their sheep, the wise-ones  who dwell upon scripture, await the call of God and follow the signs. Like Mary, some who come will carry the gift of God deep within them. Like Joseph, others will faithfully obey the calling of God for their lives. And the miracle of Christmas is that love came! The true nature of love has been revealed, and we live in this amazing revelation:-

It’s possible to download and keep this film for $2.00 by clicking on the Paypal button here:-

Buy Now Button

Finding Faith in Prayer

Pile of Mustard Seeds

Sometimes I feel it is pointless praying. At times, when faced with the terrible suffering of others or in desperate circumstances I struggle to string any words together to God. Yet it is in these times that prayer is the only place we can go, it is often all that we have. “All” – thank goodness we are told that we only need a mustard seed sized faith. Because often this is the size of my faith in these situations. Yet the Holy Spirit can be, and can do far more than we could imagine! The truth is that God really does “step it up” when his beloved children need him the most. I have seen it, felt it and in my heart I truly do know it. We are told “do not worry about tomorrow“, that God’s grace is sufficient for each moment. So – although I can not conceive of how God can meet the heartache of a grieving widow, strengthen the mind of a mother caring for a seriously sick child, or reach into someone who has suffered traumatic rejection, I know he can! And he does, and he will. If we pray – the mustard seed  – can become a tree!

This I Know

A butterfly hovering over cupped hands.

“This I Know” is a song that came to me in a moment of confusion. I had made mistakes that had badly hurt others, and I felt very shaken. The song takes the form of a gentle lullaby, reminding us that whatever befalls us, we have a refuge, a safe place, a sanctuary we can abide in.

What I most love about the Gospel is that it is a simple “come to me” message, that we don’t need to learn, earn or win our inheritance, we simply need to receive it! For many years I have had the privilege of working closely with adults who have learning disabilities. I have received so much in this time. I have found joy and freedom in their friendship and enlightenment as I have felt Christ at work in their lives. The transformational birth, death and resurrection of Jesus doesn’t need to be studied like a scholar or dissected like a surgeon.  It is like a beautiful pattern, like a glorious jigsaw puzzle. It fits all hearts, all peoples and surpasses all things generational, physical or mental. Wow!! How remarkable is the power of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit? The three-in-one is like a  dance we are caught up in, receiving the love and forgiveness of the Father, following the call and example of Jesus, and then allowing the Spirit of God to transform us and live deeply within us. It is my prayer that “This I Know” will lead you into that place of deep security and transformation:-

“Even when the earth is breaking, You abide.

Even if I fail, I’m shaken, there is life, life in You, hope in You”.

It’s possible to download and keep this film in HD for $2.50 by clicking on this link.




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prayerscapes


films

films

Discover an extensive collection of short films to inspire prayer. The films feature popular prayers (such as the Lord's Prayer and the Serenity Prayer) and films for specific times and events such as Christmas and Easter.


music

music

Prayerscapes produce music for personal and corporate times of prayer, ministry and worship. The soundtracks interweave dramatic readings of scripture and poetry with filmatic musical underscore and song.


prayers

prayers

A growing collection of over a 100 contemporary prayers covering topics such as healing, comfort in grief and strength. Also with prayers for use with children in school, and opening and closing prayers for services and events such as bible studies.