Is anyone else ADD when it comes to praying? Maybe it's just me, but every time I go to say prayers it starts off great, but very quickly I get derailed. Dramatization of me praying: Thanks God for all the many blessings in my life...Thank you for John, thank you for my family and friends, thank you for the dogs,...oh man, Daisy really needs a bath, I think I'll take her to the groomer,...maybe I'll swing by the grocery store afterwards since it's right next door...I could get ingredients to make guacamole....mmmm, guacamole....oh, wait, I was supposed to be praying...where was I?? Sorry God, my bad!
That is pretty much how it goes every night. I've tried saying them out loud, which helps, but it is awkward for me and makes me feel uncomfortable. I've tried praying at different times of the day to see if that helps, but alas, my poor little brain is just not wired to stay focused for very long. I saw this on Facebook the other night and it reminded me of myself:
Yep, that pretty much sums it up.
A few months after Callie passed away, I was trying to talk to God and found my mind wandering. I apologized to him for not being able to focus and asked him to forgive me and help me. I actually got an answer. I mean, he didn't literally speak to me, but an idea popped in my harried little brain and I think it was inspired by him and my sweet angel. I woke up in the middle of the night with a burning thought: What if I pray in pictures? Being a teacher, I use picture cues all the time to help my students focus on the tasks at hand. Why not use the same strategy on myself? I wrote it down and there the idea stayed....for a year. I think about my idea all the time. It's been on my "to write about" list forever. Let's just say, it's been marinating.
I woke up today and felt like this was the day I was meant to take this idea out of the marinade and put it onto the grill. Maybe you will feel like it's your day to grill it too!
So here we go, here are a few ways I've come up with to do Praying in Pictures:
First, give yourself a 'prayer outline'. there is no right or wrong way to pray, right? But for me, I like to have a structure for myself:
1) Gratitude- think of all the things you are grateful for, some ideas...your spouse, your family, friends, dogs, home, health, job, answered prayers, sunshine, things that are yellow, Diet Dr. Pepper... there is always something to be thankful for.
2) Forgiveness- 'fess up that you are not perfect and feel the peace wash over you that it's ok, God's cool with that... stay humble.
3) Lay down your troubles- take whatever is bothering you and tell God about it... I'm scared. I'm stressed. I'm tired. Imagine yourself dragging a heavy load of bricks in a backpack. Each brick=a trouble. Every time you list a trouble, take it out of your backpack and give it over to God. Feel lighter.
4) Ask for help- ask God to help you with all the things that are troubling you. Ask for strength, for courage, for laughter, for healing, for world peace... Just ask. You may or may not have your prayer answered, but I think God's there to help and to listen. When I was little, I used to ask to win the lottery...that hasn't worked out....YET! ;-) Be patient!
After making an outline, it's time to add the pictures:
-For #1) gratitude, gather images of all the people or things that you are grateful for.
-For for #2-4) find images that will help remind you of what you want to say... picture cues! For example, take a picture of a heavy backpack to remind you to lay down your troubles. Find a Google image of the cross for forgiveness. Save an image or quote from Pinterest that touches on a theme you want to ask for help with. Write down a Bible verse or inspirational quote on an index card. It's up to you!
Put it all together! Here are some ways you can compile your pictures:
1) Make a Shutterfly book.
I love Shutterfly! Make a small book out of your images to keep by your bedside and take it out when you want to pray. Shutterfly allows you to add text if there are special prayers or thoughts that you would like to include alongside your images. You could also make one for your kids and include it into their nightly reading routine. (You are reading to your kids every night, right??? Teacher Kristin says get on it!)
If you are a scrapbooker, you may wish to use your creative juices to put together a scrapbook full of the things you want to pray about. Make it as fancy or as simple as you would like. Or, glue your images into the first few pages of a journal. Use the back of your journal to write about your feelings, document your day, keep track of answered prayers, doodle, whatever! It's yours!
3) Create a photo album
Use one of these cheapy albums to put your images in. Same idea as the Shutterfly book, but less expensive. And maybe more baby-friendly because the pages won't get ruined if it winds up with a little drool on it. Bonus- you can take out the pictures and exchange them for new ones as time goes on!
4) Use your iPhone
So, this is the one I do...because I am simply too lazy to do the other versions. Create an album in your phone for pictures and then-voila!- swipe through the album as you pray. This is the easiest way for me and you can easily delete pictures and add new ones as needed to keep it fresh and current.
Here is a small sample of the images in my Praying for Pictures album....I get a lot of the quotes from Pinterest:
It takes just a few minutes to swipe through my pictures and pray without getting sidetracked by my ping-pong mind!
So there you have it...Praying in Pictures!
I've created a few images for you to download and save so that you can get started making your own Praying in Pictures project too! The only thing I ask in return is that if you like this idea, that you share it with a friend. Pin it. Facebook it. It is my Kindness for Callie today and I would love to be able to help others who have the same trouble as me. Maybe you don't share the same faith or beliefs, but I know that spending a little quiet time each day in reflection of what we are grateful for, what we can do better with, what we need help with, etc. is good for the soul. I hope it helps you like I know it will help me :-)
*To download, click on the picture to open it in a separate page. Next, right-click on the image and click save. If you're going to make a book, print them at your local printing place or upload them to Shutterfly. I put a link at the end to a pdf of an 8x8 and 12x12 version of the Praying in Pictures cover if you want to upload it to Shutterfly or print at Costco for your scrapbooks...you may have to reconvert to .jpg.
Cover pages in different sizes: