Trust is not a head thing. It’s a heart thing.
So how can prayer help us to move from our head and into our heart where we can let go of our need to control and begin to surrender to the love and wisdom of the Creator?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
don’t rely on your own intelligence.
Know him in all your paths,
and he will keep your ways straight. - Proverbs 3:5-6
For many of us art, music, poetry awaken the stirrings of our heart. Lectio Divina or “Sacred Reading” is a form of prayer that utilizes the imagination along with scripture. As St. Benedict said, “to pray the Lectio is to listen with the ear of the heart.” But there are other ways to engage “divina.” Praying with music or visual art can stir the heart and awaken us to the love and magnificence of God. How can we not be moved and trust the God who created Puccinni or Rembrandt? Oftentimes poets are able to make visible the hidden mystery of God’s love through the perfect economy of image and language. Is God not there in a line of Maya Angelou’s poetry?
Lastly, remember that all Truth is God’s truth and all Beauty comes from God and so whether something is “religious” art has little to do with the professed faith of the artist and perhaps not even the subject matter.
If you need a little help finding pieces to use:
“Leonard Bernstein A Simple Song Nicholas Phan” (song)
“The Highwomen Crowded Table” (song)
“Snoop Dogg Love for God” (listen to the whole Bible of Love album!)
“Giacomo Puccini Coro a bocca chiusa from Madame Butterfly” (instrumental music)
“Anne Sexton Small Wire” (poem)
“Nikki Giovanni Mothers” (poem)
“Marie Howe The Star Market” (poem)
“Rita Dove Heart to Heart” (poem)
“Mary Oliver Starlings in Winter” (poem)
“Caravaggio The Incredulity of St. Thomas” (painting)
“Scott Erickson Teach Us to Pray” (iconography and lessons on VisioDivina)
“Rothko Chapel” (architecture and painting)