Prayer advice: digging in the dirt
Genesis 1:27-28, 31a (NRSV)
So God created man in his image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” … God saw all that he had done, and indeed it was very good.
by Jennifer Creagar, Director of Community Aid Coordination
This week, spring finally seems to be here, and creation is full of new things: budding trees and flowers, birdsong and weather that encourages us to go outside. I invite you to try a prayer practice that I like to call Take a Walk Like a Preschooler. I learned this practice of appreciation for God’s beautiful creation from my granddaughter Anna, and received additional instruction from the rest of my grandchildren and other preschoolers I have. had the chance to know. When Anna was about 3 or 4 years old, we went for a walk, and even before we left the sidewalk in front of the house, Anna was making discoveries. About every five steps or so, she would say, “Look! as she pointed in the grass, or a tree, or a cloud in the sky. Then she ran to a place that looked exactly like all the other grass places, or a tree that looked like all the other trees, and found a treasure. Once she ran to a grassy spot, crouched down in that amazing way only preschoolers can do, put her hand down, and found a bug. I don’t know what kind of bug it was and honestly this bug phobic grandma was using all the calm she could muster not to run and hide. But Anna was calmly fascinated as the little creature ran around the palm of her hand, and pointed out that she had movable legs, and which end was her head and which was her tail. When she finished checking, she said, “OK, nice bug. Thank you”, and gently put it back in the grass. It was only the beginning. During a very short walk around our yard and the adjoining yard she found some treasures which included a number of small rocks, leaves, seed pods and a few items that I could not identify. She said they were all beautiful and worth bringing inside to share with the rest of the family.
The thing we can learn about Creation from preschoolers is, first, to really look and, second, to approach our time with God in nature with high expectations. Anna was (and still is) looking for something special. She kept her eyes open and she always found him. She saw the grass move and found an insect. She watched the wind blow over a pod and followed it until she could examine its size and shape and noticed that it was actually three-colored and very bumpy. She had no preconceived idea of what she would find, and she found something new every time.
So take a prayer walk with no plan but really to see the amazing creation that surrounds you. Thank God for the beauty you see. Ask God to show you something new. Find something you truly love and treasure, and talk to God about how you can help care for that and the other treasures of air, light, water, and living things. (If you need help and guidance in this practice, find a preschooler to pray with you!)
Lord God, who created the earth and all in it, help us to truly see the natural things around us and show us how to care for them like the gifts you have so generously created for our blessing.