In the early 50’s I was still at an age when I liked to stand at my mother’s elbow listening to adult conversations. One Sunday after church I overheard her tell a friend about an answer to prayer she’d just received. Anxious about whether to let my junior high older brother go on his first ever out-of-town field trip, she’d prayed about it during worship. When she looked up at the prominent stained glass window of Jesus and the little children above the choir loft, she said Jesus smiled at her. Because of that she said she felt it was OK for my brother to go.

Without fully understanding why, her statement had made an impression on me. It was at least my first conscious awareness of prayer – of being able to talk to God, and that He talked back – answered prayer. It also planted the seed that God could talk to me through images, metaphors and impressions as well as words; I could hear Him through looking as well as listening. This epipahny hugely expanded my understanding of prayer and opened the possibility that art-making could be a form of prayer.

Prayer collage details – the windows used in this collage are located in the First Methodist Church, Ventura, CA. The church has been remodeled since I attended there as a child but the windows remain. The large window of Jesus and the little children is based on the Mark 10:14 text “Let the children come unto Me.” The two long windows, along with others, are located along the sides of the sanctuary.  The two dark round collage elements are black and white images of the rose or Marian window above the balcony at the rear of the sanctuary.  The collage piece on the right edge of the composition is a color detail of the same window.

 End Notes – The collage papers are scanned photos of stained glass windows at First United Methodist Church, 1338 E Santa Clara, Ventura.