A little bit ago I wrote about my new prayer practice where I visualize being in a garden/forest area with Jesus and whomever I was praying with. You can read that post here and see how the practice significantly enhanced my prayer life.

In the past week I've found two other areas where applying this visualization exercise just brought me to my knees and I couldn't wait to share them with you.

We pray each night before bedtime with the kids. It has always been such a precious time and it's been a joy to listen as their prayers have progressed from the nonsensical – I want to pray about tomatoes, to the rather obvious – praying for whatever their eyes fell on in their room, to now – they pray for friends or any problems they are having, like the abiliy to write a lower case q, and they give thanks for their family and whomever they spent time with that day.

To hear your children reach out in trust and give thanks is a beautiful thing and it never needed enhancement or anything to help me connect. Never the less, my visualization process has become second nature so the other evening when we were praying I suddenly found us in the garden.

Grace began praying, I closed my eyes, and there crouched down before my children was gentle, smiling, joy-filled Jesus. And you know how you just love people who love your kids? How those people just become extra awesome as soon as you know that they treasure your kids? Well, for a moment I saw how much Jesus loves my kids and then we made eye contact and I felt in my soul, how happy he was that I was enjoying these gifts he had chosen for me. It made me do one of those sob/gasps because I was so taken by surprise. Knowing something and seeing something are two different things. I've always known that they were gifts and Jesus loves them, but seeing the giver watch me enjoying them, seeing the love in his eyes – it's a different level of knowing. There was a moment when Grace prayed about something especially sweet, I can't even recall the exact thing right now, but we made eye contact over her head and I was all, “Did you hear that? Isn't that so sweet?!?” And He was all, “I know! She is awesome!” And suddenly I understood more clearly and in a way I hadn't before – that they are gifts. I understood more clearly that, as I delight over them, my God delights over them. I understood that not only does he delight in my children, but he delights in me.

It was just the most beautiful thing. So beautiful, that it is almost hard to go there every night, because it is like looking at something that is just too beautiful to behold. I encourage you to try this – not only when your kids are praying, but as you pray for them as well.

The second moment came this morning at church. I have always done some visualization during worship – but it had been a rather stark visualization process. Instead of a garden it was me and God, but we were not really in a place, it's hard really to even describe. But, if the lights were dim enough I could totally envelop my mind in this one-on-one worship process and it made my worship experience much better. The problem was if I thought someone could really see me, it was hard to stay in the moment. Well, today, as you can guess, I ended up in the garden – and let me just say, it was all I could do not to get up out of my seat and dance. I also had the biggest smile on my face throughout, it was just an amazing morning. It helped me connect, once again, to a more tangible Jesus and see how he enjoys our worship. It was just joyful and exuberant, fun and holy. I'll never worship anywhere else. And I did not worry about what I looked like or whether anyone was looking – because the one person I knew was watching was thrilled.

This does come with a warning. If, as they say in Steel Magnolias, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion,” applies to you, you are going to be very happy, and need some tissues. It is a joyful and tear inducing practice. At least it is for me. On the other hand, this may sound totally hokey to some of you – and that's ok, we all connect in different ways. But if this sounds like something that might work for you then I highly encourage you to buy some little kleenex packets and give it a try.

If you need prayer – please send me a private message or reach out in any way. I'm happy to spend some time with you in the garden. And if you have asked for prayer (you know who you are) then know that we will be there often.

Have a fantastic week!



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