The Artist

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Troubled, the artist stepped back from the canvas and critically scanned his masterpiece. From the look on his face, something was not quite right and I craned my neck to see what it might be.


Catching my first glimpse of the landscape, I stared wide-eyed as the vibrant colors pulsed with an inner glow. This was truly a pièce de résistance. Created from the light of a million hues, this masterstroke exhibited pure genius. Captivated by the realistic beauty, I held my breath as if expecting the mountainside to come to life at any moment.


For several moments I stood spell-bound, frozen with the splendor of the excellence. Gradually, from the corner of my eye, I noticed the artist had turned from his work and was now intent upon me. Taken aback, I shifted away to give him creative space. He smiled and moved toward me, pointing to my right hand.


Knowing my hand empty, I raised it toward him, proving it held nothing he needed.


As our eyes met, his gaze shifted again to my outstretched palm, causing me to re-examine it more carefully. There, in the crevice of my lifeline, was a speck of something, no larger than the head of a needle. “It’s the pixel I need for completion,” he said. “May I use it?”


I stood baffled as his hand moved gently toward mine. Taking both my hands in his, we reached together for a wet paintbrush, still ladened with shiny, scarlet oil. Dreamlike, the minute flake transferred from my palm to his brush and onto the canvas in a movement I have yet to comprehend.


In the blink of an eye, the masterpiece surged to life. The brook splashed my face and a distant eagle squawked to her young. Sunlight caused the glistening snow to sparkle as I deeply inhaled crisp, mountain air.


Then I awoke.


Questioning the dream, I moved toward God’s Word. As my eyes fell on a familiar passage, a particular word pricked my interest. Searching the Greek lexicon through, I found the translation for synantilambanomai buried within Romans 8:26. “In the same way, the Spirit helps our weakness when we don’t know how to pray as we ought.”


“Helps” — synantilambanomai. A compound word formed from at least three root words, this “help” was no half-hearted, disinterested assistance. When all meanings merged, this aid meant “to take hold of opposite together” — a true hands-on type of help. The Spirit standing directly above of the intercessor, enveloping to take hold of and lift up every burden.


I stopped to reflect excitedly upon my dream. Could it be? That the Spirit’s purpose in joining us in prayer is to actively reach forth His powerful, skilled Hands to direct our weak and inadequate ones? That with all the heavenlies at His fingertips, He limits the release of His resources through our tiny pixel of prayer? That our concern should be less with our particular words and more with the fact that we utter them?


Astounding. He awaits us to invite His will to be done into our situations before His Kingdom can truly come upon earth as it is in heaven. With His mighty arms enveloping ours on behalf of our world, the kingdom of this world can truly become the Kingdom of our Lord and Christ (Revelation 11:15)! Our duty is simply to enforce through prayer all that He has already aligned into action.


“May the Lord give you increase, you and your children. May you be blessed of he Lord, Maker of heaven and earth. The heavens are the heavens of the Lord; but the earth He has given to the sons of men” (Psalm 115:14-16).


“Come take hold of us as we pray, O Lord. Stand opposite us, gathering us into Your purposes and teaching us to intercede for our world.”