Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Gift of Imagination

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 

Have you ever been at a loss for what to pray? I have. 

Several years ago, as a mother of teen boys, I found myself desperate for guidance on how to pray for these wild guys in my life. My boys did crazy things like longboard down steep hills,  throw firecrackers in the toilet to see what would happen, throw snowballs at passing cars, and other stuff I won't share. Stuff that makes a mom worry, lose sleep and knock her to her knees in prayer. I felt pretty helpless. My husband tried to explain, a thrill seeker himself, but I couldn't relate to their reckless spirits and had no clue what to do or how to pray for them (and for my peace of mind.) 

One morning as I sat down to pray, I couldn’t find any words. I searched the Psalms in hopes of finding something inspirational because I LOVE the Psalms. But this particular morning, praying the Psalms felt like I was praying for me. I know God is my refuge. He holds my right hand and shelters me under his wings. This is comforting, but I cried out, “I don’t care about me right now. I care about my kids. Show me how to pray for them.”

Next, a thought entered my mind, 

If I believe Jesus is who He says He is, then can’t He do for me what He did for others when He walked on earth? 

I decided to search for encounters in the Bible for stories of parents who approached Jesus for help with their children. I found several including a ruler, two mothers, and a father. As I read these I was inspired because their prayers expressed my own thoughts and feelings. They begged Jesus for help. He was truly their only hope. 

Using my imagination, I immersed myself in those stories. For example, I read the story of the father whose son kept throwing himself into the fire. (Matthew 17:15) I imagined the father desperately begging Jesus to heal his son. Holding his breath as he waited for Jesus to respond. Hearing the rustle of the palm leaves gently blowing overhead. Then the relief and gratitude he experienced as Jesus intervened.

I could imagine. I could relate. 

I turned the father's prayer into my own. “Jesus, my son keeps making scary choices like doing flips off an incredibly high ski jump and breaking his collarbone and leg..." Then, as Jesus said to the father, he said to me, "Bring him here to me." So, I began to continually bring my boys to Jesus in prayer. I imagined handing them over to Him, His care, His touch, His compassion, over and over again. 

Author of My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers, wrote, "Imagination is the greatest gift God has given us and it ought to be devoted entirely to Him." 

As I began this practice of imaginative prayer, my prayer life gained new life and I experienced a newfound sense of peace. 

Oswald Chambers also wrote, "Your faith and the spirit of God will work together." It's a profound mystery that I've found to be true. 

I'm still praying for my adventurous young men who like to do things like sunrise hike mountain peaks and encounter mountain lions, and who are making significant life choices about careers, lifestyle, relationships and so much more. I still imagine myself face to face with Jesus bringing them to Him and I intimately experience His healing words and comfort in fresh new ways.

So, let's keep talking to Jesus anytime, anywhere about anything and know that He hears us.

Jeannie Blackmer is excited about her newest book, Talking to Jesus: A Fresh Perspective on Prayer, and hopes this book will ignite a desire for a deeper, more intimate prayer life for readers and help others see how relevant the Bible is today. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband, Zane, and their three sons. For more information visit

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