I've been walking with Jesus for a good part of my life, but it's only been within the last several years that my faith has grown roots and gone deeper. Something that has been amazing, for serving the Lord, for blessing others, and also gleaning some blessing myself, is prophetic prayer. This looks something like getting quiet, praising with music, and listening for the Holy Spirit to speak a word of encouragement, strength, or comfort (according to 1 Corinthians 14:3.)
Sometimes it's an image; sometimes a phrase or a word; sometimes a Bible verse. I'm currently in a season where I get to pray for other people, in a more structured way, through the prophetic ministry team at my church. But when I went to do some painting by myself, just for "fun," I realized that I could offer up my talents to the Lord, as I reflected back what he was saying to me.
The following paintings were borne from these solitary prayer times, just the Holy Spirit and me. Thank you Lord, for speaking to me, your daughter! You love me so much, and I am overwhelmed.
"Not Without Sacrifice." This phrase came into my head, along with the image of a gorgeous, shimmering crown; a ripe plum was spiked on top, and the juice, looking like blood, was running down. The crown reminded me of the reward believers receive for following Jesus, and the juice/blood was the sacrifice of our earthly lives. Taking up your cross comes at a cost here on earth. There is a reward though: eternal life and reining with God, as co-heirs with Christ.
One night recently I was feeling down after finding out that an acquaintance / friend from several years ago, had committed suicide. This was someone that I dated briefly and we fell out of touch. I was wrought with many emotions and one of them was guilt. Feeling downtrodden and condemned ("could I have done something to change this outcome?" "Why hadn't I done ___?") I prayed, and the Lord gave me this image. Freedom. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), and also: Who of you by worrying, can add a single hour to their lives? Look at the birds of the air and the flowers of the field - your heavenly Father cares for them. Are you not much for valuable than they? (Matthew 6:26-27)
I also posted this image to my Instagram page and the conversation that it sparked was such a blessing. I love hearing how other people interpret my art. Click here to see the amazing words of life and blessing that flowed from some of my followers!
In this season of divisiveness, I've become utterly sick of people (especially on social media) claiming to be Christmas and then hurling insults at each other, just for the way they vote / make decisions during this pandemic. What a tumultuous year this has been! People have made so many enemies! I felt like the Lord wanted to speak to those we consider "enemies" - perhaps they were friends, but suddenly from a heated conversation, we find ourselves raging, wishing ill for them. This is not the way! God told me: "If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you." Romans 12:20.
Below is the reference photo I used; it's me, a couple years ago at Christmastime, when my hair was short. Weird tidbit and totally off-topic - I love having short hair, but when I dream about myself, my hair is always long (as it is now, past my shoulders.)
"Widen your net to nourish your bones." This phrase + the image came to me, and it took a couple of tries to get it right on paper, as I was seeing it in my head. Bread is a beautiful symbol of the Lord's blessing and also represents Jesus, who is the bread of life. If we're constantly looking for blessing, but limiting how we receive it (putting parameters on how the Lord wants to give), how will be know the full and magnificent feast he would have for us? This skeleton could take a tip and use a wider bowl to catch all the delicious bread landing around them.