Prayer Zone Journal: Center Fields–my garden of Eden
My Eden is the track located at the center of our town. It’s not as magnificent as the first Eden described in Genesis, but I can glimpse the beauty of God’s creation. I hear the birds singing, even though there may be traffic in the background. I see the splendor of the trees as they change color with the onset of fall. It’s as if God has poured paint pots of orange and red over the trees from his art studio in the heavens. And I imagine his enjoyment as he sees not only the beauty of his creation, but me coming to spend time with him.
This morning, the world around me looks particularly beautiful. The sky is deep blue; not a cloud in sight. Everything is bathed in sunlight. The morning is cool without the mid-day heat that can make exercise so unbearable. A light breeze brushes my skin, and it stirs the leaves on the trees. I soak up my surroundings–my Eden. I sense that God is with me. I’m reminded that scripture says that if I come near to God, he will come near to me (James 4:8). This is my time to walk with him, and talk and listen intimately.
I silently express my concerns to my heavenly Father–things I’ve tossed and turned about during the night. This morning, the minutes spent with my heavenly Father are short and precious because my daughter is with me. She has joined me at the track to improve her fitness for the soccer season ahead as the school year begins. As she jogs ahead of me, I walk and catch one-on-one time with my heavenly Father. It seems furtive, but I want to spend time both with my daughter and with God.
I have a lot to talk about, but I want to hear from my heavenly Father, too. I ask him to show me how I look in his presence–not my physical appearance–I know I don’t look my best; I’ve only thrown on my exercise gear and barely brushed my hair this morning! But I want him to reveal what he sees on the inside–my spiritual heart and my outward demeanor. I want them to be pleasing to him, and so I want to improve on these areas. Should I be more selfless, remorseful, trusting? I listen and wait for my heart and mind to be nudged as I spend time in my Eden.
Suddenly, my daughter is by my side again. We go back to discussing the training she will begin this week at school, and whether jogging one lap of the track is the equivalent of jogging one or more laps of a soccer field, as she will have to do. My practice has been disturbed, but I know there is always tomorrow morning: another opportunity to walk and talk with my heavenly Father in my Eden.
Use the prayer exercise below to be in your own Eden.
Five minutes of exercise:
The garden of Eden was a place where Adam and Eve communed with God. Come to your own Eden. Find a place and time that you can call Eden, where you can be in the presence of God and talk with him.
A word from scripture:
They heard the Lord God walking in the garden. Genesis 3:8 (GNT)
1. Use your spiritual imagination to picture the place where you come to talk with God as your garden of Eden. Take time to focus on this place. Look and listen for signs of God’s creation. Use the scriptures below to help you make this place a garden of Eden.
Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the East, and there he put the man
he had formed.He made all kinds of beautiful trees grow there and produce good fruit. Genesis 2:8-9 (GNT)
You provide streams of water in the hills and valleys, so that the donkeys and other wild animals can satisfy their thirst. Birds build their nests nearby and sing in the trees. From your home above you send rain on the hills and water the earth. You let the earth produce grass for cattle, plants for our food, wine to cheer us up, olive oil for our skin, and grain for our health. Psalm 104:10-15 (CEV)
2. Join your heavenly Father in your garden of Eden. Spend the next few minutes talking and listening to him in intimate conversation. Consider these words as you begin:
I’ll transform [Zion’s] dead ground into Eden, her moonscape into the garden of God, a place filled with exuberance and laughter, thankful voices and melodic songs. Isaiah 51:3 (MSG)
3. Do not hide from your heavenly Father. Instead, talk openly about the temptations that you face, and the mistakes you have made. Consider these words:
And don’t let us yield to temptation,but rescue us from the evil one.
Matthew 6:13 (NLT)
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16 (NIV)
Then I confessed my sins to you; I did not conceal my wrongdoings. I decided to confess them to you, and you forgave all my sins. Psalm 32:5 (GNT)
Here is the exercise in a handy, condensed format to print out and use when you pray.