The classical evangelical discipline of the ‘quiet time’ of Bible reading, study and prayer has sustained many generations of Christians, and continues to do so. For many reasons, not all to do with spiritual laziness, there are some who find this pattern and discipline difficult or unhelpful. One of the aims of the Simeon Centre for Prayer and the Spiritual Life is to encourage exploration of new patterns and ways of prayer, both because guilt does not help our Christian discipleship, but also because God is not interested in style. What matters to God is relationship.
Two years ago, the Simeon Centre held a day on Spirituality and Creativity, using a number of art forms as the stuff of prayer. On June 9, another such day will be held on ‘spirituality and photography: praying through the lens.’ The purpose of it is threefold: to help participants to engage with a theology of beauty; to find ways of new or ‘deep’ seeing that might be revelatory; and to learn a little about the playfulness that ought to be inherent in our relationship with our heavenly Father.
We are familiar now with the idea that God, who is the goodness underlying all that is good, and the truth of all truth, is glimpsed through things of beauty. That’s why Paul enjoins us in Philippians 4 to ‘think on these things’. Play, too, is much more a part of Christian spirituality today. Perhaps the hardest thing for us to learn is the central theme of the day, that when we allow the Holy Spirit to give us ‘eyes to see’, we may once again glimpse heaven, and worship. To that end, the use of a camera may well become the ‘eyes of prayer.’