What do you see in your mind’s eye when you pray or talk to yourself during difficult or good times in your life? I bet you see something, even if it’s total darkness—you still see something, but likely do it without thinking about what you see.
I know it’s a crazy question? In reality, it’s an appropriate question for everyone, regardless of their spiritual preferences or lack thereof. Whether you pray and believe in a power greater than yourself, don’t pray because you believe you possess superior intellect over all things, or fall somewhere between the two is a choice you have the right to make. Whatever your situation, you probably do talk to or pray to “something” when facing difficult situations in your life—it’s called thinking. I’m not trying to change or challenge your beliefs at all. I simply want you to consider all possibilities…
It’s probably a question you have never been asked or even considered before now. You’re not alone because most people haven’t. In fact, I may be one of few people on earth asking the question.
Okay, so exactly why am I asking such a question? Well, it’s simple—I enjoy thinking outside-the-box. Obviously, there is no right or wrong answer, so don’t be concerned. There will not be a pass-fail test given at the end of this post. I just want you to think about the question based on your personal situation, so please keep reading. It will only take a few minutes, and I promise it will not harm or judge you in any way.
“What do you see…,” is a question I ask when I speak to groups. I get some interesting facial expressions and responses cover a broad spectrum ranging from total darkness to detailed images. All answers are interesting, but one that does give me pause is, “I don’t waste time praying to a fictitious character.” I acknowledge the response, but I never push my personal beliefs on anyone. I simply inform, observe, and recognize that everyone has the right to choose how they cope with life. However, that particular response is a suitable topic for a whole different discussion.
Let’s get back to the point of this post. When the shock of my question wears off, the initial responses are typically, “I’ve never thought about it before,” or “I don’t see anything.” When folks think about it for a moment, the answers tend to become a bit more descriptive. To be fair, it is somewhat of an unusual question and not likely to come up in general conversations with friends. Therefore, I invite you to think about the question in private for a few moments. You may be surprised by what you actually do/don’t see or you may start visualizing something in the future. Either way, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
When I started thinking about the storyline for my first novel, I did a lot of soul searching. When I asked myself the question, I realized I was actually seeing the same thing each time I prayed. It was an image from long ago when I started attending church as a young boy. Although buried deep in my subconscious, the image of a stained-glass window formed a lasting impression on me. This image allows me to feel as though I’m having a private conversation with a friend—albeit a very special and most powerful friend.
So, what exactly do I see when I pray? Well, first I visualize the stained glass window from my youth—an image of Jesus. As I continue praying, I usually see the faces of those for whom I’m praying and revert back to the stained-glass image as I finish my prayer. The image itself is surreal for me and puts my mind at ease. It works very well for me.
Whether you see an image or total darkness as you pray or talk to “whomever,” the important thing is that you do it. You may not receive the things or results you ask for, or even understand the answers. You may even feel as though your prayers are going unanswered, but I believe God hears all our prayers. He will respond in His time, and in His way. He knows what is best for us, so we must be patient.
For those who do not believe in God, He still “hears” your thoughts. I wish you the best in whatever way you cope with life’s difficulties. As I said in the beginning, I will never brow-beat you to do as I do, but I will still pray that you come to know Him someday.
By the way, I see that same stained-glass image when I give thanks everyday for the many blessings I have received.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Tom Tatum – Author – 2017
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