This Lent, Kimberly Novak asks us to consider what it might be like when we allow God to guide our hands through creative prayer.
A few weeks ago, I started thinking about Lent and ramping up my prayer life a bit. Since I enjoy creative prayer, I thought about the different types of worship I had not experienced in a while. I even reflected on things I enjoyed as a child, and soon it came to me. I wanted to pray using a connect-the-dots activity.
In most books, this particular activity usually gives a good indication of the image. I have memories of paging through as a child until I found the picture I wanted to complete. As an adult, I have prayed with similar books where a mandala is colored, and these experiences have been very fruitful. Seeking a new challenge this Lent, I considered what it might be like to connect the numbered dots, not knowing the drawing in advance. Then, a bigger question surfaced: What might it be like praying and allowing God to guide my hand?
Digging through my desk, I managed to unearth a prayer journal used explicitly for art and prayer. I started with a blank page and placed myself in God’s presence. Slowly and prayerfully, I put numbers randomly on the page. I drew a circle around the numbers only because I like how the circular motion brings peace and calmness to my mind. Feeling good about what would soon develop, I allowed the Lord to lead.
Once I felt like God was through numbering, I went back over them with a pen. I snickered at the thought this was insurance—that as I began connecting the dots, I could not make any alterations. At that moment, I sat back and pondered the page. The excitement started to bubble up as I wondered what type of image God was going to gift me.
Bliss was short-lived, however, as I let the pen rest on the circle numbered one. There I sat, struck with fear to move the pen forward. Which way should I go? Do I start at the right or left? Is it best to move from top to bottom? These questions quickly overwhelmed me, and that is when I realized this exercise was for my ability to surrender to God’s will. Finally, letting go of fear, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I began to connect the dots.
Wanting this to remain a prayerful experience, I paused briefly on each number and offered my love, gratitude, or surrender to God. On some of the numbers, I reflected on what my Lenten observance might be, and on others, I embraced my relationship with Jesus. Each mindful pause of the pen was a prayer in itself, and before long, the dots were all connected.
I sat back and stared dumbfounded at the page. All I saw were my numbered circles now connected to a random line. I turned the page one way and then the next. Still, I could not see an image. Remaining in prayer, I told God I would not give up, as I knew there was an image there somewhere He wanted me to see.
Just then, a memory popped up of a painting class where everyone paints the same picture, and the teacher is there for assistance. In those classes, it is my experience that the finished project looks much better when you admire it from a distance. So, I outstretched my arms, and wouldn’t you know it … two angels, holding onto a flower, were looking back at me! In one swift movement, out came the crayons, and I began coloring the areas surrounding the connected dots.
As I prayerfully colored in the image God gave me, I focused on the “whys” of it all. Why might God want me to see angels? I prayed with that question, and I thanked God for all the angels he has sent into my life and for the angels yet to come. In the spirit of reconciliation, I reflected on the times when I might not have acted in an angelic fashion and offered a prayerful penance.
I have to say, this was indeed a fun and meaningful experience. My faith and trust in God tell me that God wanted me to see angels at that moment. There were times during this prayerful exercise that brought frustration and peace. In surrendering both of those emotions, God was able to move not only my hand but also my heart. All serve as a reminder of how God is truly in every part of our lives, even prayerful dots.
Are you feeling up to a fun activity this Lent? Surrender your expectations, and give this a whirl. You never know what hidden blessings God will show you within the dots and lines. I think this would be an excellent experience for our little ones and perhaps lead to some magnificent artwork!
Copyright 2022 Kimberly Novak
Images: (top) Canva Pro; connect-the-dots drawing copyright 2022 Kimberly Novak, all rights reserved.
About the Author
Kimberly Novak is a wife, mother, author, retreat facilitator, and Spiritual Director. Her passion to inspire, and motivate those on a spiritual journey has bloomed into various ministries. Kimberly’s mission is to enhance each journey by guiding others where the light of strength is…God’s love. Her debut children’s book will be released in the spring/summer of 2022. Her writings and blog are at KimberlyNovak.com.