A picture may say a thousand words; a picture may also prompt a thousand words. This morning I’m looking through a series of photos of my father who died 18 months ago. We were on a fishing trip in Canada with my boys and some friends. It was an amazingly rich time, and these pictures bring it all back. Looking them over makes me reflective, pensive, and dredges up emotions I hope never fully diminish. I’m looking through these alone, but then again, I’m strangely aware that I’m not alone. These photos probe something deep in me, and remind me that while I don’t have my father with me now, God is with me and I can speak with him.
We keep photos of family and friends to prompt our memories and to etch particular moments deeply in our minds. In our family we’ve not taken a lot of time to organize our photos. Maybe that will come one day soon when we’re no hectically longer running our children to dance and ball games, events we probably should document in photos with more consistently than we do!
Sitting and looking through photos from our past can be a rich, emotional, painful, refreshing time, particularly this holiday time of the year. This is a season for making memories and for reliving them. Photos can help that, and surprisingly, they can help us pray. God alone can fill our deepest longings, heal our loneliness, disappointments and answer our hopes. Seeing important images brings our heart up to the surface. They can be a good platform for prayer.
Today try something new: Pray through a family photo album a file of images on your computer. Use these pictures as an opportunity to thank God for the precious people in your life. Ask for God’s blessing on them to fulfill their destinies. Ask God to heal relationship rifts, and to help you heal from the grief of loved ones lost. The people in your life are created in God’s image. Images of them help us see and remember this, and can, if we choose prompt us to lift them to God.
Check out the other “21 Ways to Pray” in a special Beliefnet devotional I’ve written. And as always, feel free to add in your own perspectives.