Prayer article for S.S. – Reflection: Painted Prayers of the Season – No. 24
Fall colors arrest us in their dazzling beauty. The trees force us to stop; they grab our attention long enough to take our breath away. During the year, when the trees are all the same color, we may take them for granted and they go unnoticed. But chlorophyll (the green pigment in leaves) quietly manufactures food with the assistance of sunlight (photosynthesis) and it is in the fall season that we finally applaud the magnificent efforts of the trees as they bow in brightly colored crafted robes of red, yellow and orange.
Do you think that God is sending a reminder to us through His artistic quilts? Does He waste the painting of nature for no purpose? God could have taken the option to keep the trees in monochromatic unity – a one color backdrop in stark contrast to our bustling. Do you think He caused the display of this splendor to force our eyes to look up, to stop our exhausting hurriedness and to reflect on His intended glory of creation?
The restorative portion of our prayer life is in these moments. Through the splashes of color, God has called us to relax in Him, to be overwhelmed by His extravagant autumnal palette. It is as if God has assembled a massive stained glass window in the cathedral of trees to draw attention to His presence. It calls us to prayerfully adore Him. It stills us long enough to reflect on His character and His blessings to us.
Watchman Nee states, “How we need the Lord to enlighten our eyes that we may comprehend afresh the importance of prayer and know anew its value. Furthermore, we must recognize that had Satan not deceived us we would not be neglecting prayer so much. We should therefore watch and discover therein all the various wiles of Satan. We will not allow him to delude us any more in relaxing in prayer.”
During this time of year there are opportunities to reflect, taking time around the table of a Thanksgiving meal, inviting family and friends to be a part of our corporate prayers of thankfulness. We are not relaxing, or neglectful, in our expressions of prayer but actively reflecting on His bounty, beauty and extravagant provision in good times and bad.
But do we need a holiday to experience the wholeness we receive in thankful reflection? Does it take a day off from work to force us to relax in His presence?
Remember the trees and their message to us. Without fanfare, they toil in the absorption of light, feeding the earth with oxygen and then they turn their colors to remind us once again of God’s provision of life – a billboard advertising the variety of His care. It is God’s visual aid in teaching us the necessity of reflection and acknowledging who He is. He wants us to simply be ourselves in His presence – not pretending to be someone we are not, babbling on trying to impress God but to come honestly before Him, having a genuine response to His goodness, His awesome wonder. It could be that we are left dumbstruck – without words – but there is power in our stillness before Him. This time is invaluable and you will soon absorb His light and then reflect His beauty. God beckons us with the splendor of His Holiness.