This week we enjoyed some time off with our daughter and son-in-law as they visited for a few days from Virginia. One afternoon we took them to one of the world's great museums, The Denver Museum of Nature and Science. This massive building encompasses three floors of truly amazing displays that feature taxidermies of hundreds of creatures from around the world, a massive display of dinosaurs, thousands of samples of incredible gems and minerals, and a fascinating array of insects and butterflies. Beyond this, the facility included a "space odyssey" section and a separate planetarium that blows one's mind with the realities of the universe. In addition, the museum houses an IMAX theater that regularly takes viewers on captivating visual explorations of the depths of the sea, the expanse of the earth, and the wonder of the skies.
Suppressing the Truth
All of this is touted without even a minute mention of a Creator. Rather, it is really a tribute to evolution and the ingenuity of man's powers of discovery. The truth of Romans concerning the resolve of mankind to "suppress the truth" about the Creator resounded in my mind as I took it all in:
"For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools." (Romans 1:19-22)
I left the museum wondering how anyone with a sense of moral conscience could deny the power of a divine cause in light of all we had seen. Yet, the Bible makes it very clear that a denial of the Creator leads to a lack of thanksgiving toward Him, which eventually culminates in futility of thought and utter foolishness.
The Basis of Creation and the Creator in our Praying
On the positive side, when we accept the account of Genesis 1 and thus honor our majestic Creator, and His immeasurable work, we are overwhelmed with earnest gratitude for His power, beauty, fathomless plan, and divine care. This is ultimate wisdom and sanity in a world gone mad.
Over the years, these foundational truths have shaped my praying and my leadership in prayer. I teach on this extensively in the book, PRAYzing! Creative Prayer Experiences from A to Z
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. We also have created a small group series to help believers apply these truths to ignite fresh creativity in prayer through our Wake Up and Pray small group resource
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. The opening verses of Genesis give us great insight:
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light." (Genesis 1:1-3)
Based on these foundational truths, here are the applications that have helped me so powerfully.
We Always Pray to a Creative God
A.W. Tozer famously noted that "the most important thing about a person is what comes to mind when they think about God." Genesis 1:1 should powerfully shape our understanding of Him and of prayer. God's first explanation of Himself and first act in the history of man point to Him as Creator. Every time I lead in prayer I am resting my confidence and anticipation in the truth that my God is absolutely creative - far beyond my limited ability to comprehend.
We Always Pray by His Creative Spirit
Genesis 1:2 speaks of the Spirit of God hovering over the dark and formless waters. By the power of the Spirit, the worlds were created. Now, as a redeemed Christ-follower, I can embrace the incredible truth that the Spirit of God in Genesis 1:2 is the very Spirit that lives in me, guides my thoughts, and enlivens my heart. Some prayer leaders might offer the excuse, "I don't have a creative bone in my body." Thankfully, praying and leading in prayer is not about "bones" but rather about the indwelling Spirit of the Creator who guides our minds and leads our prayers. (See 1 Corinthians 2:9-12, Romans 8:26-30.)
We Always Pray from His Creative Word
"And God said..." (Genesis 1:3). This was the spark of creation; His powerful word punctuating the entire creation story. Today, our creativity in prayer is fueled not simply by our meager thoughts but by the power and wonder of His word, found in the Scriptures. I always begin my prayer time, and every prayer time I lead, from the Bible. This allows the Creator to start and guide the prayer conversation, leading to true alignment with His will and a deep transformation of mind and heart.
We Were Made to Pray in a Creative Way
Later, in Genesis 2:19-20, we see that God tasks Adam with naming all the animals. Think about that. How many animals? How long did this take? How much creativity had God placed in Adam to allow the first man to accomplish this task? When we pray, we need to rest in God's design that we were made to be creative. This means that God is not the author of boredom, especially when we are conversing with Him.
One additional display at the Denver museum was a spellbinding special exhibit all about robots - hundreds of them. But even this was only a manifestation of the creativity of mankind that ultimately reflects the endowment given by the Creator.
Prayer Worthy of the Creator
Sleepy, dull, lifeless, and lackluster prayer is not worthy of the Creator or of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has redeemed us and through whom the worlds were made (John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:16-17). I think next time I tour this remarkable museum I will again be amazed in the presence of the all-powerful Creator. Hopefully, I will have new and compelling motivation to seek Him, because through the finished work of His son on the cross, I now access the Holy of Holies to enjoy transforming communion with Him. Yes, this motivates me to "wake up and pray."