I have often marveled at what a small group of dedicated, prayerful people can do for the life of a faith community. The congregation where I grew up had a prayer chain, of how many people I don’t know, but the people I knew that dedicated time each day to pray for the concerns of our church and people were all people that I have sought to emulate as I walk the path of a follower of Jesus. I consider Jane, who was nearly 100 years old when she died. Jane was one of the first people I knew to be on Facebook and Twitter, which she used to keep up with all the people she prayed for. She continually inquired about my life as I made my way through college and seminary and then first call, and I KNEW that everything I told her about would be lifted in prayer daily. She was the first prayer warrior I knew, and I always have her in mind when I talk about prayer.
Here’s the best thing I learned from Jane: prayer isn’t about saying or doing the right thing, it isn’t hard and you don’t have to have a degree to do it, prayer is talking with God and one of the incredible ways we can love our neighbor. Prayer has the added benefits of deepening our faith and having positive health benefits!
As we begin to build our prayer ministry here at First, I couldn’t help but think of Paul Klee’s Dancing Girl. There is something utterly charming about this tiny stick figure dancing that reminds me of the innocence of children, of the joyfulness found in a relationship with God and the freedom that we have received through the death and resurrection of Christ.
Paul Klee was born in Switzerland and eventually moved to Germany, where he studied and taught art. He was a teacher at the famous Bauhaus for 10 years and during that time, became a co-creator of the Blue Four. He was named one of the most promising young German artists of his time, but in 1933, after teaching for two years at the Dusseldorf Academy, was fired under Nazi rule. His family moved to Switzerland, where he continued to create beautiful art, always experimenting with technique and mediums.
Dancing Girl was created in 1940 and is created with oil paint on cloth—his handkerchief to be exact. His signature on the piece was created using the monogram on the cloth.
This tiny painting, so cleverly created, reminds me of how we all see beauty in different ways, how our creative minds can make incredible things with such ordinary objects, how the Spirit danced before God at creation and continues that dance as she prays and intercedes for us when we have no words.
This tiny painting reminds me a lot of Jane and her seemingly unending well of peace and joy—fruits of her incredible prayer life, I am sure. It is what I seek as I continue to grow in my faith.
Starting in the fall, we will begin an intentional prayer ministry here at First. There are several ways that you can be involved in this ministry. First, you can be a part of our prayer team, people dedicated to daily prayer for the needs of our church and people. Second, you can let us know when you need prayer. Third, you can join our Prayer Shawl team—they will teach you what you need to know! And fourth, you can help by writing prayers for our worship service. This is just the beginning! As we continue to build and God continues to grow our ministry there will be more opportunities for you to be involved. If you are interested in being a part of anything listed above, email Pastor Karyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.