Visual Prayer

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The piercing photograph, only ordinary in size, stares down upon me as I write. A casual observer mistakes the tabby coat pattern for that of a common, house cat. But if you stare into the penetrating eyes, they lock with your own. You startle to realize someone has photographed a young bobcat

That someone, my friend Traci, lived to tell of her experience. 

To Traci, photography and prayer are harmonious partners. While the canyon wind whips past her lens, she casually asks God, “Would you show me something today that surprises and excites me?” 

Just moments before her bobcat shot, for instance, she made just such a request. Instantly, a butterfly fluttered before her, but in the periphery she caught another movement: a wildcat settling into his domain. Isn’t it just like God to move out of the corner of our eye?

As I walk through this life of prayer, I sense Him urging me to broaden my perspective of His ways. Brian Simmons, lead translator for The Passion Translation, explains,  “God often speaks in pictures, not just words.” I know Traci would wholeheartedly agree.

Our Heavenly Father not only desires to awaken our ears to listen (Isaiah 50:4), He also loves to open our eyes to see His wonders (Psalm 119:18). Think of the numerous instances of both seeing and hearing God in His Word. The patriarch Jacob saw a ladder set on earth with its top reaching to heaven (Genesis 28:12). The prophet Ezekiel envisioned a valley of dry bones coming to life (Ezekiel 37). In Stephen’s last moments on earth, this simple church volunteer saw Jesus stand up from His heavenly seat to welcome this martyr into His glorious kingdom (Acts 7:55-56). 

If you have not yet began to recognize God visually, don’t give up on yourself. I believe He gives us great encouragement with the birth of a newborn. Just as an infant’s hearing develops more quickly than his eyesight, hearing God often comes earlier to His children than seeing Him. Yet, we can and should grow past this spiritual infancy. 

Like Traci, we should be asking Him not only to speak to us in language we can understand, but also reveal Himself in a way we can envision. Nineteenth century author Andrew Murray summarizes this well. “I must hear the person who gives me the promise: the very tone of his voice gives me courage to believe. I must see him: in the light of his eye and countenance all fear…passes away.” May we continue to look in His direction. 

“Father, I truly desire to experience You. I confess that although I say I want to hear Your Voice, I don’t often look Your way. I want to hear the tone of Your Voice, as well as see the Light of Your Eye. Show me where to look so I don’t miss Your God-pictures. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

I want to see God, not just hear Him Click To Tweet