Nature and Prayer Revisited

CRG-fallsI have noted several times in the past that nature can serve as an aid for prayer.   I have even offered a number of biblical examples as well as some more modern ones.   Recently I came across a prayer in verse that I submit as yet one more example.   The following poem was penned by Mary S. Edgar:

WY-Grand-Teton-NP-Oxbow-Bend“God, who touches earth with beauty, make my heart anew; with Thy Spirit recreate me, pure and strong and true.  Like Thy springs and running waters make me crystal pure; like Thy rocks of towering grandeur, make me strong and sure.  Like the dancing waves in sunlight, make me glad and free; like the straightness of the pine trees, let me upright be.”

AZ-Canyon-de-Chelly-Spider-Rock-(v)I will admit that I’m not crazy about the poetic form of this prayer but there are a couple of things I do admire here.  First, I like the way Edgar begins her prayer.  So many of our prayers begin with a reference to heaven.  My own prayers typically begin with the words, “Heavenly Father.”  Since Jesus taught us to pray “Our Father who art in heaven” in the Lord’s Prayer there is obviously nothing wrong with this.  It is both important and appropriate to remember God’s transcedence when we pray.  Still, as Christians we affirm God’s immanence, His closeness to us, at the same time.  God is not a distant God; He is near to us.  This immanence is conveyed is Edgar’s words “who touches earth with beauty.”  In God’s Creation we see and experience His handiwork; we see and experience His presence.

Another thing I like about Edgar’s prayer is how she uses natural features to illuminate her petitions.  The springs and running waters she sees move her to pray for purity.  The rocks or mountains beckon her to ask for God’s strength.    The waves upon the waters inspire her to seek God’s gladness and freedom.  The tall straight spires of the pine trees remind her of her own need for uprightness.   It is obvious that nature serves as an aid for Edgar’s prayer.  It can serve the same function for you and me.

BSF-Devil's-Jump-The reflections seen in a still lake or pond might cause a person to ask God to help her become a better reflection of Christ.  Observing the moon might move someone to pray that he will be able to let his light shine in a world filled with darkness.  The appearance of rain might cause one to thank God for the “showers of blessings” that are ours everyday.  The sight of leaves or flowers being blown by the wind could cause a person to pray that God’s Holy Spirit would move in the world at large.  The possibilities are endless.  In nature God has given us many aids for prayer.  These aids can help us as we seek to offer God our praise and thanksgiving.  They can help us make our confession of sins.  They can inspire our petitions.  If you’re looking for something to help your prayer life you may not need to look any further than the world around you.

–Chuck

(I took the first image at Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, the second at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, the third at Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Arizona, and the fourth at Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area in Kentucky.)