The Shape of Prayer

photo copyPart 3 in a blog series about Seasoned Threads.

The third painting is entitled, “The Shape of Prayer.”

I was brought face to face with the reality that I am not in control. I don’t know if that’s ever happened to any of you, but it can be terribly painful. I have found that I spend a tremendous amount of effort and energy working to construct and build and “control” my life. Sure, I understand with my intellect that control is an illusion, but deep down in my heart I still believe if I’m smart enough or strong enough or spiritual enough I can figure this out… UNTIL God brings me face to face with His reality. And that’s pretty devastating. I mean it is. It’s devastating in ways that it needs to be devastating. It was only that reality that finally helped me surrender, to let go, to loosen my grip on my pain and ideas and longings.

This painting is about the moment of surrender in relation to my prayers.

I love prayer. I love the fact that God sees me, that He knows me and hears me. That’s such a powerful reality and it’s one I deeply believe to be true. But I can’t necessarily say I understand prayer. Prayer is a place that raises a lot of tension and paradox for me.

This painting is part of how I began to visualize my prayers. I began to see the quantity of my prayers as substantial, even though unseen. It was as if my prayers were written on these little scraps of paper and the more I prayed them and the more I didn’t see them come to fruition the more bound up in my pain they became. My prayers became this very precious object: hidden, unseen, entangled in pain and paradox.

And then as God led/leads me to surrender and I opened up my hands, the pain began to unfurl and I began to see that God was taking what was unseen and He was creating something seen. In this painting you don’t yet see any manifestation of the prayers, just the letting go, just the faith that  God knows better than I.

Erin Shaw