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Why You Should Use Your Imagination When You Pray | Guideposts
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Why You Should Use Your Imagination When You Pray

To envision the healing and positive outcomes in the lives of family and friends, as well as yourself, offers a powerful prayer tool.

Pray with imagination
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

I prayed for you today. 

I probably don’t know you, but as I started writing this blog post I imagined you clicking on the link. In my mind’s eye I saw the light from your device’s screen illuminate your face as you began to read these lines. The muscles in your face relaxed, little by little, as you scanned the text. You closed your eyes on finishing and began using your imagination to pray for someone or something in your own life. 

The imagination is a powerful prayer tool, one that we too often neglect. Eugene Peterson, in his book Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination, refers to “the workings of the imagination as a means of grace,” and says that “an exercised imagination is essential to a full-bodied and full-souled life in Christ.” I agree wholeheartedly and am learning to incorporate imagination more and more into my prayers. 

I pray for my two young grandchildren who cope daily with cystic fibrosis. I picture them as teenagers, playing baseball or dancing in a meadow. I see them breathing deeply, their lungs filling with the afternoon air. Their bodies are strong, their every function unimpaired. It’s my prayer for them, as my praying imagination envisions for them a long, vibrant future filled with health and vitality. 

I pray for a friend who has endured more than a year of rehabilitation from an operation, gathering strength, yes, but so very slowly. I picture Jesus coming to her in her home, reaching out and touching her. I visualize warmth, light and strength coursing through her body. 

Another friend’s life has been shattered by suspicion, accusation and betrayal. I close my eyes and imagine Jesus washing his feet, while so many layers of hurt flake off from his heart and mind, float into the air and disappear.

I hold in my mind the lovely face of my wife, who recently lost her father and was unable to attend his funeral. I sketch a mental picture of Jesus enfolding her in His arms while she weeps. I see her shoulders relax and her burden lift. Eventually, her back straightens, she exhales. She smiles. Nods. He smiles back. 

These sorts of prayers heighten and deepen my prayer life. They are truly a means of grace. They make me eager to pray and excite me with the promise of God’s willing answers. I pray, even now as I write this, for you to enjoy a similar experience as the workings of your imagination shape and energize your own prayers.

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