• Claudia Alexander

The Convergence of Art and Prayer


The experiences of an artist converge over time with their talent to shape and inform their creative voice—as seen throughout the work of renowned artist and painter, Frida Kahlo, whose series of self-portraits reflect a distinctive identity steeped in self-awareness, female power, the beauty of Mexican culture—and a life narrative underscored by trauma and pain. At the age of eighteen, Kahlo was gravely injured, when an electric tram rammed into the bus that she was traveling on, resulting in a broken collarbone and ribs, a multi-fractured leg, a crushed foot and broken pelvis—and per medical records, a horrific injury via an iron handrail that punctured her abdomen. The pain of that experience, along with the future trauma of miscarriage and leg amputation from early on-set polio, lived with her for her entire life—however, over time the convergence of her experiences and talent resulted in a self-actualization and aspirational power that continues to minister to admirers of her work. When an artist is able to achieve this level of impactful convergence, it moves beyond catharsis, invoking the meditation of ideas and philosophies towards the illumination, beautification and edification of the culture-at-large. This level of convergence can be enhanced through prayerful composition and the individual practice of prayer.

Prayer or prayerful composition involves a higher level of communication—a convergence of heaven and earth— between the Creator and humanity, as illustrated in a quote by John Coltrane: “I start in the middle of a sentence and move in both directions at once.” The act of creation at its core naturally involves a convergence between heaven and earth, as it is emulative and endowed by the artistic intelligence of the Creator. Coltrane’s signature work, “A Love Supreme” was a product of prayerful composition—His wife, Alice Coltrane provided an inside view into its creation, during an interview with Jazz Times:

“... I felt a sincerity in everything he did, I felt he was using the instrument God gave him. He had played man-made instruments all those years of his life, but this was almost like saying, ‘Lord, you also gave us a voice that man could never make, and at least in this context, at least today, let me offer back to you this rendering of A Love Supreme.’… it is an absolute acknowledgement of precisely where his mind, heart and spirit are—they’re really not so much of the material world and universe, and none of us are. If we could ever see a ray, a glimpse of the truth, we would know that we’re coming from God, and [the album] made no mistake about it.”

Within scripture, the power of prayer through the convergence of heaven and earth is demonstrated by Christ at the moment he brings Lazarus, the brother of his followers Mary and Martha, back to life, three days after Lazarus died. Christ prayed a simple prayer, acknowledging the Creator, to provide a window into the relationship that fueled the power that would raise Lazarus from the dead: “I thank you Father that you listen to me. I know that you always listen to me, but I say this for the sake of the people here so that they will believe that you sent me.”

The practice of prayer and prayerful composition has the power to elevate the capacity and impact of your talent and craft—sharpening your focus and providing insight to the best convergence of your gifts and experience. Prayer doesn’t require complicated words or lengthy dialogue. It can consist of simple conversation and a request for guidance: Where is my gift needed the most? Which of my projects should be deployed next? What artists should I be collaborating with? Where can my creative voice or gift be the most impactful? Or it can consist of a simple acknowledgement…

Thank you for my gift. I know that You see me. How can I help?

#JohnColtrane #creativity #selfawareness #prayer #trauma #spirituality #culturetherapy

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