All friendships are enriched by good conversation, and it's no different when it comes to prayer. In fact, one of the best relationships you'll ever have is with the Heavenly Father, and relationships take work! However, as with all relationships, life gets hard and we tend to fall away from our best intentions.
If you find your prayer life is going downhill, you're not alone. "I'm too busy" is a popular excuse, and sometimes it can be mind-numbing to pray the same prayers over and over. Maybe you're frustrated with God because he hasn't answered one of your most earnest prayers. You ask: "Is He really listening?"
Since you're probably tired of hearing about how it will happen "in God's time," here's something else to keep in mind: Don't give up. God tends to hear the prayers of those who approach him simply and draws you closer to him by not giving you what you want on demand. He is impressed by faith and persistence.
I know what you're thinking. It's pretty hard to be persistent when it's the same prayer routine every day. It's so easy to get distracted!
Now's the time to try something new. Having a visual guide to help you focus on the meaning of the words you're saying can bring fresh meaning to your prayer life. Visio Divina, or divine seeing, is a method of prayer that incorporates religious or spiritual art. Although this practice is more common in Catholic prayer, it can be used by any Christian denomination.
Check out these 10 paintings and incorporate them into your prayer or meditation routine:
1. Holy Trinity by Andrei Rublev
You'll see a lot of hidden symbolism if you look at this long enough.
2. Sacred Moment in Time by Mary Southard
3. The Prodigal Son by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
4. God's Promise by Joseph Anton Koch
5. The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner
Go to the next page for more Visio Divina artwork!
Do you want to try praying with the help of one of these beautiful paintings? Here's how: Begin by picking one of these images or another inspirational painting. Take at least 60 seconds to gaze at the image in silence. Pay attention to what draws your eye first and what the artist might have meant by it.
Take deep breaths and think about the emotions you feel. Write them down and talk to God about them, as you would a friend.