prayerscapes - creative journeys in worship and prayer

creative prayer journeys

Monthly Archives: October 2019

How to Bless A House

beautiful home

How can I pray for my home? Perhaps you have just moved into a new property and want to give this new chapter of your life to God, or home life is currently very stressful and you would appreciate some ideas on how to pray into this.

Our homes are significant places of sanctuary and shelter, growth and provision! Praying for our homes is not just about the physical bricks, mortar, clay or wood, but about the relationships, peace, comfort, adventure and community that happen within them. I thought I would give you three creative ideas of ways in which I have prayed for the homes I have lived in. Hopefully these might inspire your own prayers:-

  1. Gathering together with friends, family or church community to pray around your new home is a great idea! This is the first and most obvious thing to do – try to do this soon after you have moved in. It might be it’s your first home adventure, a new home brought about by growth or change, or a new season that sparks a change of location or downsizing in later years. You can download a resource sheet on how to hold a house gathering blessing by clicking here. To begin with, ask those who are living in the new home to share their vision for this place. Ask them about their hopes and dreams for it and any concerns or anxieties they or their family may have about the move. The top priority is always to be real and vulnerable.  I suggest if there are number of you then lay a sheet of paper in each room, split into two or three groups and move around the house praying in God’s provision and presence into each room you encounter. The paper can be used to write specific blessings and to note scriptures or pictures that God gives you. It is always lovely to have prayers written down to look back on at later times. Then gather together at the end, share the prayer sheets with the group and pray into anything that has come out of this as you feel led.
  2. The second way of praying is by using oil or water to anoint various parts of the new home. This way of praying is often used when the homeowners are going through a hard situation or time. It could be a neighbourly dispute, trauma in the home, the homeowner experiencing fear or nightmares, or family conflict. A suggestion for this type of prayer is to take some oil and then move around the house praying and making the sign of the cross on the doorways and windows and the entrances and exits. As you enter each room ask the Holy Spirit how you should pray. You could place a visual blessing. For example, stand a picture in the room, or a vase of flowers or a blessing that is written up on the wall, or even written down and stored like a treasure in a secret place. A lovely idea if you are renovating a home is to tuck written blessings and messages of blessing into little places like under floorboards, or to write blessings on the walls beneath wallpaper. You are blessing the fabric of the building and leaving blessings for others to discover in future generations! The truth is that we stand on holy ground as children of the living God. Our homes will be blessed and our boundaries will be protected as we welcome the reign and love of God into these places.
  3. The third way of praying is helpful if your life is quite transient due to studies, jobs, family or finances. Sometimes “home” is in multiple places and we need to carry God’s blessing freely from place to place. I went through times like this as a student. Here it can help to have a “house blessing prayer” that is spoken out, and then placed within each residence, be it a hotel room, digs, lodgings, guest homes or in different countries or locations. Try to develop a routine of carrying this prayer with you and laying it faithfully out as a blessing every time you lay your head down.

So that’s it! There are three ways that you can bless the place that you live – invite others round to share and pray for your new home, take some oil and bless the room and have a prayer written out in a visible place.

It’s great to share these thoughts with you – maybe you have some creative ways of praying for your dwelling? If so, please do leave them in the comments below and share them with the world. If you haven’t already, do take a moment to subscribe to Prayerscapes, and until next time, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

How to pray at night – bedtime prayers

Woman peacefully asleep on bed

Today I’m going to be sharing with you three things that I find really helpful to remember when I pray at bedtime.

Personally, I always try and pray to my Abba Father at night. I guess it evokes that security and protection you can feel as a child drifting off to sleep. I’d like to say that there is routine and consistency in the prayers I pray before bed. However, I have many ways I use depending on how things are for me. So here I’m going to share three different ways that I pray before sleep and you can pick and choose the ones that work for you. Our Abba Father won’t mind!

  • I have found that writing a prayer journal at this time of day can be a great way of connecting with God. I don’t date it like a diary or keep to a page a day! I guess if you are the kind of organised person you might want to do this. I find that as I pray this way, God then leads my heart. Sometimes a scripture or word comes into my mind that releases me, other times I allow God to remind my heart of others who need my prayer. Prayer journals are a lovely way to see the many ways God answers as you look back on them. We have a blog and video that you can watch on how to keep a prayer journals – follow this link to find out more.
  • The second way that I pray at bedtime is by praying as I drift off to sleep. There is a risk here as once the light is off and you snuggle down sleep might overtake you! When I pray this way, I tend to find that my prayers reflect my needs. If I have lots of worries, I won’t get to sleep early anyway. To be honest I think I generally pray this way when I am tired, exhausted or feeling overwhelmed. Much of this time is just spent allowing feelings to surface, asking for God to help in these areas and sometimes a little tear or two falls as well. Remember that in these times releasing your emotions is not a negative thing. It’s healthy for you, and the Holy Spirit will minister to you. He is our comforter! Just remember to keep being completely open to God. Give him your concerns, your hopes, your fears, and your dreams. God hears you and will respond to your prayers.
  • Lastly, for some reason or other I sometimes find I can’t pray. If this is so, I imagine myself falling asleep in God’s hands, curled up safe and secure. He holds all of me, His love enfolds me. This is enough in very broken times. Sometimes when we are feeling down or shameful we feel we can’t possibly connect with God. But this is a lie. God always wants to take time to embrace and love us, regardless of what has happened or how we are feeling.
Parent cradling infant - original artwork in pastels by Julie Palmer
“Held” – download a higher resolution version by clicking here

So in summary, remember these three ideas before bedtime – try keeping a prayer journal, or try starting one, it’s a great way of connecting with our living God. Try just pouring out your heart to God as you drift off to sleep. And if life is especially hard, just remind yourself that you are always in God’s care, regardless of how you feel, or what you have done or not done. God loves you! We might not always be able to talk to God, but God is always there for us.

We also have a short creative prayer video meditation that you can use before going to bed – click here to watch this. Do you have any ways of praying at night that you’d like to share with us? Do write them down below. And until next time, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

How to Receive God’s Peace

Small Boat on a wild sea

This week I’m going to be looking at God’s peace. What is it and how do we receive it?

Peace is as a gift from God; we hear about peace in bible as the ‘Peace that surpasses all understanding’ and as a blessing exchanged by the early Christians as ‘peace be with you’. So, as humans we can rest assured that when our bodies, minds and spirits are feeling disturbed, anxious or fearful, that God can impart peace by his Holy Spirit into our very souls.

I am going to take you through a step by step visualisation process that can be done individually, in pastoral care or within a small group situation.  Peace comes through being real with ourselves. Only when we acknowledge the storm can the Holy Spirit move to calm it.

  • Firstly, find a quiet moment to focus, and imagine yourself in a small boat, quite alone. How do you feel? What is the sea of your life like around you? I find visual pictures helpful. For me at the moment I feel unsteady in my boat. I know I carry underlying tension that makes it hard to relax. Sometimes it only takes just one area of our lives to become rocky for us to feel this way. My boat feels unstable. For me difficulties with my family and relationships are rocking my boat. For you if you feel unsteady it could be health issues, financial worries, loss or grief. Or perhaps it is disappointment or regret?
Little Boat on the sea
“Little Boat” –download a higher resolution version here
  • Staying with this picture, in that still or turbulent sea, place Jesus into your boat. Jesus is by your side. Sitting beside you is the author of life, the creator of heaven and earth, the Holy One, the Redeemer. Journeying with you is the one who loved you so much that he faced a horrific death yet conquered over that darkness and rose to life.  Feel His presence, the love and light He carries and allow Him to lead your thoughts and heart. Where is the still water? This still water might be the care of friends and family, or it might be the blessing of a focus like hobbies, passions and interests. These are Gods’ good gifts! To find peace sometimes we need to allow Jesus to hoist up our sails and to gently lead us into the harbour. In the roughest times we all need help to engage with rest and sleep, a hot bath, a comforting drink, the beauty of flowers or a sunset! I believe that the Holy Spirit works with us in a holistic way. He helps us engage with the gift of peace.
  • Now look at the cargo in the boat. What are you carrying? It could be precious cargo, children perhaps? Or a charitable work? Or perhaps a role or responsibility? Look further, is there any cargo weighing your boat down? Is there anything you don’t need to carry? In my little boat I do see precious cargo – children, passions and callings, roles and responsibilities. However, if I am honest, I see a great big sack of guilt! I’m going to give Jesus this guilt. You see it keeps arriving back in my boat! And as I pass it into the hand of the Lord it becomes lightweight dust. It’s nothing to Jesus! Why? Because he has conquered my guilt! He has paid the price for my mistakes and failings. Is there anything that you need to give him? Fear of the future? Shame from the past? Hurt that feels as fresh as the day you bore the pain? Disappointment that suffocates your aspirations and dreams? Name it and give it to Him. See it turn to dust……
Sailing boat in stormy waters
“Voyage” – download a higher resolution version here
  • Next, what do you need from Jesus to hoist your sails and move into that more peaceful harbour? There is always a harbour, no matter how turbulent our sea, how damaged the boat is or how frightened we feel! Jesus promises us peace in all places and at all times. What is the sail that will carry you? What does the wind of God’s Spirit need to blow on to propel you into that haven of God’s peace? On my sail I see the words “keep trusting in God’s love”. I allow Jesus to lift this sail high and I breathe in those words. For you it might be words of comfort such as “I am with you”, “you are chosen”, or a request such as  “I need you healing touch, release me from this depression”. It could be so many things. Where will your small boat sail to? Where is your harbour? Breathe in the love of God, allow hope to fill your sails.
Boat in still waters
“Harbour” – download a higher resolution version here
  • Lastly, imagine the boat now in the harbour. Create a picture of this in your mind. I cannot promise that you won’t once again feel the storm, the unsteadiness and fear. However, I can testify that the harbour of God’s peace will always be there. If you pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you back into this haven he will. Because God’s love is deeper and wider and more powerful than we could ever fathom or understand no matter how wild the sea around us.    

4 Tips on How to Start a Prayer Journal

journal with ink pen

Today I’m going to be looking at prayer journals. I’ve found them to be an amazing gift in my journey with God, and I wanted to share with you four ideas for them that I have found useful.

I have always prayed in this way, so my home is filled with a variety of journals. I have kept them all as they are quite precious to me. There really is no right or wrong way to begin a prayer journal. How each of us do this will reflect our character, our Christian heritage and the season we are in. If I flick through the journals I kept before having a family they are much more ordered, well set out and creative than say one I kept when my children were young! But whichever is your way, neat and structured or spontaneous and creative, keeping a prayer journal can enrich and change your life on so many levels, so I really encourage you to start one if you haven’t yet.

I have found that writing brings out two differing facets of my soul when I focus on prayer in this way. Firstly, there is room to be very real and vunerable because it’s a private a place. It’s the sacred space between myself and God. It’s also a place where I find wisdom and insight as the Holy Spirit leads me, or as I meditate on scripture or hear Gods voice or vision for a given situation. I’ve found that writing my prayers down can help me to process experiences and sometimes unpack feelings. It can correct a wrong thinking pattern in me or reveal a new way to pray for a given situation.

So today I want to give you four ideas to help you keep your prayer journal with God.

  • The simplest way to begin is to search for a notebook that is personal to you. It may connect with your life circumstances, remind you of your hopes and dreams or have a colour or image that simply draws your attention. Place your journal somewhere where it will remind you to pray. Perhaps by your bedside or favourite chair? That’s really important as it needs to be somewhere you can see it, so you don’t forget to use it!

Just simply open and write the words “Dear God”……then see what pours out….if you are in a good place it might be thanks, or in a worried place an outpouring of thoughts. If you’re in a busy place a petition for help and peace and if a burdened place a prayer for a loved one. Don’t worry, it’s personal, so relax! Then read it back over in your mind or out loud, then simply end with love from ………. I have often signed mine ‘Grace’, it’s not my name but a pet name just between Abba Father and myself!

  • The second suggestion I have is similar but a more varied form of this, for those of us that either like structure or freedom! In your chosen journal you may choose to develop a structure for yourself. A good way to do this is to begin by a meditation on scripture, then thanksgiving and lastly petition. (Petition is a bit of a religious word which simply means something that you are asking God for). Meditating on scripture gives space for God to speak to us. Here’s a great one:-

“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

That’s a simple verse but also very profound. It really helps me to connect with God.  Then, let your heart move to gratitude. Become aware of the good things that are in your life and write some of those down. These could be answers to prayer, or God’s provision in your life, or the love of friends or family. When you are in this place, then this is a good time to pray for needs and things that you are worried about. Remember to write those down as well. If you are the organised type, you could write them in point form. I tend to just keep writing!

  • If you are more of a creative free spirit, try creating a doodle. E.g a mix of drawings, colours, words and scripture which weave together to become your prayer to God in your own unique way.
  • Lastly, I keep a “Dream Book”. This is an idea that came out of a prophetic word given to me many years ago that I would be a dream machine! This is all about my big dreams for other people, they are often BIG prayers, for friends, family, neighbours etc…. these big dreams have often been things like finding love, conceiving a baby, healing from illness, release from debt. I just write these prayers once. I often read back through the prayers. Many have come true and some I still wait in prayer for!

So, those are four prayer journal ideas which you can try out now. Remember to keep your book visible. Try starting “Dear God” and see what pours out. Or perhaps you are a more organised type of person. Then start with scripture meditation, then thanksgiving, and then pray what is on your heart. Or make your prayers into doodles and colours. And lastly, don’t forget to try the “dream machine”. Dream big for those you love and treasure. Do you have some other ways of keeping journals? Do comment below and let us know your ideas.

I trust that wherever you find yourself in life that you will find ways in which to draw close to your Heavenly Father in prayer. Please do try these ways, give yourself grace in it all. At times I have used prayer journals regularly and wholeheartedly but there have been other seasons in my life where entries have been very intermittent and fragile. If you are in a desperate place, always speak out your feelings not only in prayer but to other brothers and sisters who can pray with you.  If that is hard maybe share your prayer journal with someone you feel safe with. May God richly bless you as you come to him. Don’t forget to let us know your comments and thoughts below, and until next time, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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