From time to time I interview people with a special interest in creativity. Author Chris Tiegreen takes that interest one step further--into his prayers. Author of Creative Prayer (Multnomah 2007), Violent Prayer (Multnomah 2006), and several other books, Chris is an editor and writer for indeed magazine at Walk Thru the Bible. Chris has also been a missionary, pastor, and newspaper journalist. He and his family live in Atlanta.
LeAnne: In Creative Prayer, you write that many of us have an unbalanced relationship with God when it comes to how we communicate with Him. What do you mean by that?
Chris: If we think about all the ways God has communicated with us, and then compare that to the ways we communicate with Him, it looks pretty lopsided. Not that we can ever match His style, of course, but we can certainly do more than just talk to Him at a set time each day. I look at it like a couple in love, where the guy expresses himself every way he knows how — music, poetry, meals, flowers, dances, etc. -- and the girl just leaves a message on his voicemail every once in a while. That’s the kind of imbalance I see in our relationship with God, and I think we’re missing out on a lot.
LM: You mention that the purpose of your book is to discuss creative expression to God. What is creative prayer?
CT: Creative prayer is praying with our whole being — using all the gifts God has given us to express ourselves. We can draw or paint our prayers, act them out, dance them, sing them, dress to match the mood of our petitions, and much, much more. The possibilities are limitless. We see some very tangible communication with God in the Bible: sights, smells, sounds, movements, etc., through the sacrificial system, the psalms, the lives of the prophets, and in Jesus’ ministry. God’s language seems to be primarily visual, but it covers the whole range of our senses and beyond. That’s an invitation to speak back to Him in a variety of creative ways.
We come into the kingdom through a very narrow gate — Jesus alone — but once inside the gate, the pasture is enormous. God encourages us to get outside the box in our communication with him. We’re never to violate His character or His will, but the means of communication in Scripture is never formulized or even specified. There’s shouting, dancing, instruments, sackcloth, incense, blood, bread, weeping, rejoicing, and on and on. God made us individually for a reason: to express ourselves individually.
More from Chris on Thursday.