Chris Tiegreen, a former pastor and missionary, invites you to deepen your prayer life in CREATIVE PRAYER: Speaking the Language of God’s Heart. The author of violent prayer and THE ONE YEAR AT HIS FEET DEVOTIONAL, he provides a fresh take on prayer that invites readers to experience the fullness of God in communication with Him.
Tiegreen begins by comparing our conversations with God to a young couple. The man communicated his love in countless ways. He gave her gifts, sang songs, painted pictures and displayed his love in the most beautiful words. He could not hold back. The young woman was in love, too, but she only expressed herself verbally. Though she received all of the young man’s acts and gifts of love, she wasn’t quite sure what to do, so she just kept on talking.
The author writes, “That’s an unbalanced relationship, but it’s an accurate picture of the way many of us communicate with God. He speaks to us from the love of his heart with pictures, symbols, music, scenery, tastes, sounds of nature, smells of plants and incense of rain, and the soft gentle caresses of the wind, of the waves and of other human beings. And how do we express ourselves to him? For most of us, during a disciplined time each morning or evening. And it’s usually nothing more than words.”
While words can be heartfelt, Tiegreen asks us to consider a multi-dimensional God and step outside of our one-dimensional approach to Him. He points to examples throughout the Bible of dreams, visions and experiential lessons, and reminds us of Jacob and a ladder, Moses and a burning bush, David and a physical giant, Ezekiel and dry bones, and Jeremiah and figs. He challenges us to recognize a God who expresses himself in terms of “fragrance, sound, touch, taste, and anything else our senses can take in.”
A two-way conversation with God takes place in countless ways, and most of them fit under the umbrella of the word “prayer.” The term “creative prayer” just expresses this truth that we are designed to respond to God with the fullness of who we are and how we’re created to be.
Along the way, Tiegreen shares stories from his own life and spiritual journey --- expressing some of the strengths and struggles of learning to commune with God. He believes that until you feel free to be yourself in your relationship with God, you don’t have a real relationship. He argues that that’s true in any relationship --- but particularly so with the One who created us.
Creative prayer invites us to be wise with words and recognize that prayer is holistic. We’re invited to give God not just our words but the picture on our hearts. And we’re invited to express our emotions, like the Psalms, as part of our prayers.
The book ends with a wonderful section called “Practically Creative,” which suggests how to make your relationship with God a richer, fuller experience. Ideas include praying as you read the newspaper, prayer walking and using your artistic gifts to express what’s on your heart to God.
Overall, creative prayer is a great book for jumpstarting your prayer life and adding dimension and depth to your relationship with God.
Reviewed by Margaret Oines on June 19, 2007