This summer, take advantage of the longs days and warm temperatures to refresh both your body and spirit with the practice of active prayer. Step away from your desk, escape into nature, and go on a spiritual adventure to reconnect with your Creator. Even if you can’t leave the city, you can still find pockets of natural beauty where you can get outside, get active, and get praying.
- Rejoice: Sunrise, Sunset
“But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing in praise of his name…” — Psalm 68:3-4
Few things are more glorious than a sunrise or sunset at the top of a mountain after a breath-catching hike to chase the pink and orange rays of light. Sing, laugh, do a handstand; celebrate the beauty of life and the wonder of creation!
Urban Alternative: The rooftop of a tall building or the shoreline of a local river are great places to catch a sunrise or sunset in the city.
- Intercede: Out on the Water
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” — 1 Timothy 2:1-2
The problem of pain can be difficult to grapple with in prayer as the world suffers greatly. ISIS, the earthquakes in Nepal, the death of a friend, the heartache of divorce are profound and heavy. Grab a paddle, hit the water, and put some physical muscle behind your prayers. Speak out (don’t worry, paddler-bys will think you use Bluetooth) and wrestle with God in prayer on behalf of the suffering and oppressed — be they loved ones nearby or strangers in faraway lands.
Urban Alternative: Most cities have either natural or manmade bodies of water, which offer paddle sport activities and rentals — canoeing, kayaking, paddle boating, stand up paddle boarding, sculling, and more.
- Meditate: Star Gaze
“My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.” — Psalm 119:148
Something about counting the stars in the night sky gave Abraham the faith to believe he would father the nations of the world. That something, ineffable though it may be, still inspires wonder in the modern stargazer. Find an open space far from the city lights (by foot or car) and meditate on some characteristic of God as you watch for falling stars – God’s transcendence, goodness, power, or love.
Urban Alternative: Visit your city’s planetarium. It might not be the real thing, but it can still inspire the imagination.
- Believe: Play Like a Kid
And [Jesus] said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” — Matthew 18:3
Every school kid loves summer break, when the learning pauses for three months of uninterrupted playtime and discovery. Purpose to interrupt your serious grownup life and do something childish: climb a tree, swing in the park, splash in a puddle. Believe again in magical, supernatural, anything-is-possible ideas.
- Worship: Waterfall Hike
“Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.” — Psalm 42:7
In the midst of many a forest, tucked back in the woods down a dirt or rocky path, is the sound of thundering showers of water — nature’s applause for a great and powerful God. Step into the water, let the mist of the roar wrap you in its dampness, and join in the applause and adulation by lifting up your voice and hands in worship.
Urban Alternative: Beautiful fountains can be found in many city parks and circles for your enjoyment and inspiration.
- Give Thanks: Wooded Wanderings
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” — Colossians 2:6-7
A heart rooted and built up in thankfulness is a peaceful heart. Even in the midst of hardship, there is much to be thankful for. Take a stroll through the woods or your local park and purposefully root yourself in thankfulness as you wander amongst the trees.
- Rest: Wildflower Picnic
“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” — Luke 12:27
Beautiful is the meadow carpeted with summer wildflowers, flowers you won’t find in a grocery or gift shop. Pack a picnic basket filled with tasty treats, grab a blanket and some bug spray, and rest in the color and beauty of resurrected life after a long and cold winter. Make a couple bouquets to take back home with you or gift to others.
Urban Alternative: Picnic in a local garden. Though not wild, the flowers are non-the-less beautiful and fragrant.
This summer, reconnect with the Source of life through active prayer to refresh both body and spirit. God is looking for someone to share in an adventure.