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Creative prayer for creation care

Lynne Baab • Thursday March 7 2019

Creative prayer for creation care

What’s your favorite place in nature? A beach, the mountains, a lake, a meadow? What’s your favorite aspect of nature? Flowers, reflective water, a specific kind of animal, a tree?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how we can pray more deeply for God’s creation and how we can feel like we are walking with Jesus when we care for creation. I’ll give you some ideas here, and you can see more of them in the Lenten devotional I co-wrote for our church this year.

Gratitude and praise. Thankfulness prayers are deeply appropriate – and even foundational – when we pray about God’s creation. We don’t have to look very far to find things to praise and thank God for when we look at the beauty of flowers, trees, hills, mountains, lakes, oceans, clouds, and thousands of other manifestations of God’s creativity and beauty.

Lament. We also don’t have to look very far in God’s creation to feel upset about damage to the beauty of the world God created so intricately and carefully. Lament prayers express sadness, grief, anger and frustration. We tell God what we’re upset about. Lament prayers are appropriate in so many areas when we see or think about environmental degredation. 

Confession and assurance of pardon. If you’re like me, and you feel guilt about not engaging in creation care as much as you’d like to, or as much as you’ve felt led to, God invites you to bring those thoughts and feelings into a prayer of confession. God always forgives us and gives us a fresh start.

Intercession. Prayers of intercession for creation are appropriate in many areas. So many people are involved in aspects of caring for God’s creation. So many people create policy that impacts the earth. Where can we start in our prayers?

I’d suggest picking something you love in nature, and think about all the scientists who do research in that area, all the people who are involved in taking care of that part of God’s creation, all the policy makers who make decisions that have an impact on that part of nature, and all the ordinary people whose decisions have an effect on that part of nature you love. Pray for those people and for God’s continued sustenance and care of the beautiful earth.

To deepen prayers for creation care, I suggest reading Psalm 103 and 104, and then praying the words to both psalms. They can be read as a pair, each reflecting one of God’s major roles in human history.

Psalm 103 focuses on God the Redeemer, and if you confess your sins about anything, including not caring for creation as well as you should, you’ll find joy and assurance from God in the words of Psalm 103. If you read it, notice how many nature analogies are used to make the points in the psalm.

Psalm 104 focuses on the way that God sustains the plants and animals. And humans! I find it delightful.

At my church this year, we are focusing on creation care as a hopeful Lenten practice. A friend, Janette Plunkett, and I wrote a devotional for Lent that provides lots of suggestions for each week of Lent. Each week focuses on a different aspect of creation care, such as food, home energy, and transportation. Each week includes suggestions for experiencing God’s companionship with us in the area of creation care, as well as scriptures, ideas for prayer, poetry, songs, quotations, activities for families, and ways to learn more about the topic of the week. Each lesson is illustrated with my husband Dave’s beautiful paintings. It’s an online devotional, available here.

Whether or not you use the devotional, give some thought to how you might pray with joy and hope about the ways humans care for the beautiful earth God entrusted to our care.

(Next week: mnemonic devices in prayer. Illustration by Dave Baab. If you’d like to receive an email when I post on this blog, sign up under “subscribe” in the right hand column of the whole webpage.)

If you’d like a more traditional Lenten devotional, consider the one I wrote that has one psalm for each day of Lent, illustrated by Dave’s paintings. It’s available here.



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