By now, it’s pretty apparent that images show up in my life with God quite a lot. And even though that’s been a reality of my prayer life for, oh, about 12 years now, I never cease to be amazed by it or surprised by the images that come.
I’ve learned that these images are pure gift.
They are given, not constructed by me. Suddenly, they’re just there.
And I’ve found them to be a real help because they illuminate truths about myself and my life with God that I would not otherwise have known.
For instance, gazing at an image can be such a layered experience.
You can look at it from one angle, and then you can turn it around or walk to a different side of it and look at it again. You see new things from the different angles. Or you can pull back and look at the image or scene as a whole. What surrounds it? What else is happening, beyond the focal point? What sense or impulse do you have while gazing at the image?
The Eastern Orthodox Church is familiar with this practice of holding images in their lives of prayer. They regularly utilize icons to help them “see deeper” into their lives with God. The icons become a window of sorts — a window into the reality of their souls, a window into the reality of God.
Images can be a help in our prayer lives — whether given to us directly by God or utilized externally for contemplative gazing, as with an icon. I am so thankful for these images. They speak truth to me, teaching me, rather than requiring me to speak or teach myself.
Do images play a part in your life with God at all?