Confession: I don’t pray as often as I should. I get busy-distracted-tired and sometimes I just can’t see the point. Discouragement sets in and then complacency…
Piling on: Most days I can see the benefits to Facebook and other social media, but then sometimes I feel too connected to hearing about everyone’s pain. “How can I do any of this justice?” I think, “Shouldn’t God already know about the suffering of others? What difference will my prayers make to this situation?”
The Series: For this reason-and many more, I have decided to start a little series called “Why We Pray” and I hope you will join me and comment when the Spirit moves you about your own prayer practices. #whywepray
The Artist: As we journey together, I will be considering the art of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. He had a keen knowledge of human nature and his paintings are simply spilling over with wisdom. I hope you will enjoy getting to know him a little better:)
The Painting: This work is meant to portray the Flight and Fall of Icarus. Just to review, Icarus is the character fromOvid’s Metamorphoses who enjoys flying so much that rather than listening to his Father’s advice of staying closer to earth, he flies higher and higher until he is too close to the Sun and his wings, made of wax, well you can guess what happened. In this painting, you can see him in the lower left corner with his tiny legs sticking out of the water as he is kicking and struggling to keep from drowning.
But this painting is not about Icarus really, it is about the world’s indifference to suffering.
Notice all the details:
- The beautiful sun setting on the horizon.
- The wind blowing the sails of the ships pulling them out to sea.
- The size of each character and how they are perfectly placed to travel in their own plan.
- The deep shadows in the foreground to convey late afternoon.
- The exact placement of each foot of the man and horse ploughing.
- The shepherd leaning on his crook looking upward with his back to the tragedy.
- The fisherman as he leans into pull in his catch of fish and the entire crew of a ship and yet no one notices…
#1 Reason: We pray so that those who are suffering will feel that we care–that they are not alone–that as a group we are storming heaven on their behalf and that in their weakness we will bind together to lift them up to the Lord. Not because we fear the Lord will not notice otherwise, but so those who are hurting will feel cared for-lightened and able to suffer through a long night because they know they are not alone.
Call to Action: Let us all endeavor to pause from our work and look around this week so we might pray for someone who is struggling in some way. May we let people know that they matter and that we are awaiting their return to fullness.
I lift up my eyes to the hills–Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip– he who watches over you will not slumber... Psalm 121: 1-3
A Vision of Solace
Listen with me
This music urges us to slow down–to linger
A gentle tune — one that soothes and calms all fears.
A sweet melody that spreads its warmth around us;
lulling us into a lazy state of mind.
You hold my hand and we walk side by side;
together, we arrive at an old old oak tree;
and share this moment under a canopy of peace.
I close my eyes and rest my head on your shoulder.