Go outside and pray

The temperatures are warming up, and summer is here. Whether you have a vacation planned or not, I hope you'll give yourself some time to be outside. Spending time outdoors isn’t just a nice break from routine, it can be a beautiful part of your spiritual growth journey.

If you find yourself struggling to feel connected to God and your prayer life feels stale, for a new prayer practice… step outside. Nature nourishes our soul and is a constant reminder of God’s power and beauty. It’s one of the most beautiful ways to make your prayer life come to life, and it’s a beautiful way to hear the quiet, still voice of God.

Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. Romans 1:20

Nature and Imperfection

If you find yourself obsessing over a relationship that is always frustrating and your mind is stuck in a non-stop “if only he….” or “she just needs to…”, time outside can help you pause and surrender to the imperfection of life. Find a flower and observe how the petals are not aligned perfectly. Reflect on how that flower is still serving its purpose, giving food to bees and a joyful moment to those who walk by and notice. Step outside and find something imperfect and marvel at its beauty. And allow that to be an invitation to see the beauty of the imperfection in yourself and your loved ones.

Nature and Trust

If you find yourself overwhelmed with a busy schedule or overwhelmed with a situation you want to hand over to God, pause and find a tall, towering tree to sit under or find a trail that has a lot of trees. As you observe the strength and size of the trees, pause for a sense of humble understanding of the big picture of God’s plan and your small part in it. Reflect on the roots beneath the tree and ask yourself what are your roots grounded in? What’s grounding you as you deal with this one situation?

Nature and God’s Voice

If you find yourself struggling to hear what God wants you to do in a situation or where God is calling you, turn to the outdoors. God speaks to us through creation.  Step outside and prayerfully consider how a particular rock, twig, or bird in all its beauty, imperfection, and mystery may be telling you something about patience, endurance, and love. Notice the change of seasons and maybe you’ll hear God speaking to you in all the signs of new life.

But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being. Job 12:7-10

Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather in to barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?... Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith? Matthew 6:26, 28-30

Spend time outdoors this summer and appreciate the beauty of God and embrace it as pure and beautiful prayer.

The Beauty of God by David Adam

If we walk through the world

And do not see its beauty

If we cannot stop for a flower

How can we know you, Lord?

You speak to us through beauty

Let us reverence the spotted burnet

And look in awe upon the bugloss

Bowing before you in wonder

Lord, speak to us through light

Let us glimpse your splendour

May we thrill at your brightness

And be aware of your glory

Let all of your creation speak

And tell us of your power

Let us walk in gentleness

Among the mysteries you have made

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I’d love to hear if you find the outdoors a comforting or inspiring place to pray. Do you have any outdoor prayer practices? Share a moment when you’ve seen something Divinely inspiring outside.

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