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Praying With Nature

 


Spring is upon us, and praying through a piece of nature helps us actively see how God’s hands are at work and how new life is coming out of winter’s hibernation. This devotion is from the Jesuit Spirituality Center.

Praying with a ‘Piece of Nature’

Introduction

A ‘piece of nature’ might be a pot plant, a bunch of flowers, something in your garden (if you have one), the contents of a window box or plant hanger, a bird feeder, something you see on your walk (such as a dandelion growing in a crack in the pavement), a shell, pinecone, or any other natural thing.

Or, I might see something outside on a walk (a flower, leaf, or stone) and take it home or take a photo.

Alternatively, I might choose to pray with something I see online, e.g. on social media, such as a photo or video of wildlife.

In this reflection, I use what is helpful and leave the rest. If my attention strays, I quietly return to my piece of nature. I take my time.

Prayer

I take the piece of nature I have selected to pray with and find a space where I can be alone and get comfortable. I do whatever helps me to become still.

I ask God to draw me into this experience with an open heart and guide me.

I gaze on my piece of nature and let go of other things around it. I take time over this. I sense how God is gazing on me as I gaze on God’s piece of nature; God’s creation.

Where does my eye first focus when I look at it?

Then where does my eye travel to?

I take in the whole of the piece of nature.

I notice colors, forms, textures, patterns, light, shade, contrasts, movement …

What words or phrases would I use to describe what I see?

What does my piece of nature smell of? Or, if I’m sitting with a photo, can I imagine a scent?

Does my piece of nature have a sound? Can I imagine a sound?

If possible, I touch it. If I can’t, a memory might come to mind of touching, or being touched by, nature? I notice this memory.

I use my imagination to place myself in my piece of nature, as it were. I become different forms or parts of it, and I sense where I am most comfortable.

Where do I find rest?

What is it like to ‘journey’ in my piece of nature?

I imagine this piece of nature can speak. I listen to it. What does it say to me?

I stay with what most ‘affects’ me; what most invites me.

I speak to God present in me. I try to name what is emerging. I listen to God. I rest in God’s loving presence.

I gently withdraw from this prayer.

Review

After my time of prayer, I reflect on my prayer, maybe over a cup of tea, using the questions below if they are helpful:

What is staying with me as I reflect on my prayer?

What do I want to give thanks for?

How am I drawn to respond to God?

Might I write, draw, or make something?

https://www.pathwaystogod.org/resources/praying-nature

Chad Rademacher

Pastor, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

 

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