Making Art Your Prayer

by Erik Peterson

Creativity in the Cosmos

Before the Divine Artist created the heavens and earth, I imagine The Father, Son and Spirit in glorious creative communion, dreaming up what they would like to make together. Perhaps they huddled up excitedly like brilliant design thinkers ideating their plans on the cosmic whiteboard. Or maybe, with hearts tuned in prayer, they sang the warm-up to the song that would eventually sing the world into existence. 

Whatever they were doing in that deep inhale before the universe was expressed, we will never know this side of eternity. 

But what we can know is that it was both the greatest act of creativity and love and also the most natural thing for God to do, as if breathing.

He breathed it all into being. 

And perhaps it was also a song or a perfectly designed plan between three great unified minds. Undoubtedly, it was also a prayer.

So we were made in the image of this magnificent creative God, bestowed with all the same powers of breath, artistry, and prayer to bless the small worlds we live in.

We know too how this story went astray rather quickly, but how much quicker God began to restore his divine plans, through the long march in the desert of history towards the promised redemption found in and through His Son. This too has been God’s song and prayer all along.


Cultivating Goodness

What we can imagine and glean from the creation story, and what we know of God’s heart, tells us a lot about our roles as creators. 

Foundationally, art can be and is a form of communion and prayer. Just as the Father, Son and Spirit created together in community, always collaboratively and harmoniously, so we too are invited to create with Him. Remember, He delighted to make us in His image! 

Art is also prayer in that it creatively blesses our souls. And this naturally expresses and overflows to bless those around us.  

When we create, we get in touch with something that is deeply meaningful and satisfying (and hopefully fun too.) After God finished his creation, he proudly took it all in, seeing that it was good! Art also carries the stories of brokenness we can’t carry on our own, just as Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Similarly, our art can mirror that prayer of God’s that whispers, “This is good for you.” 

When God’s goodness is planted deep within us, our art grows through patient tending and nurturing, and it naturally produces fruit that others can enjoy.


Seeing Art as Prayer

Many of us long to use our creative practice as prayer. If you’re wanting to experience more communion with God through your art, then here are a few simple ways you can do this:

  1. Before you create, set your timer and sit in stillness for 1 minute, letting your breath and body settle. You might thank God for some of the “raw material” that is inspiring your craft, whether it is a beautiful experience in nature, your feelings about a particular relationship, or a subject you are passionate about. See that all of this is a gift from Him.
  2. Ask God directly, “What do you want to show me?” Or pose another question to Him that feels relevant in the moment. Let your question linger, and patiently listen for what He reveals, whether in Scripture verses, words, images, sounds or colors. 
  3. As you shift into the process of creating, enjoy God’s presence and communion with you while you create. Stay open and listening. 
  4. When you are done with your practice, end in a prayer of enjoyment and gratitude.
  5. When sharing your work (such as posting online or doing a show in-person) pray a blessing over your art and who it will reach. It may be helpful to release it and say something along the lines of, “God I release this to you. I pray this work would bless people.” This is a particularly helpful practice if you struggle with people-pleasing and the need for approval in your art.

May God bless you in and through your art as you make your art your prayer, and your life a prayer.

 - Erik


P.S. What are some ways you enjoy communing with God in your art?