Friday, December 24, 2010

A Prophetic Art Journey

Today's post is compliments of my sweet and talented blogging friend Barbie, who I would highly recommend you get to know!  The painting featured here is one of her own, and you can read more about the story behind it here.  

Post by Barbie Swihart

I was so honored when Leah asked if I would share my journey of prophetic art.  I pray that you will be blessed by what you read and understand that you are beautiful, artistic, and creative. 

My journey in art began several years ago. I am privileged to belong to a church community that embraces the freedom of expression in various art forms such as worship, media, dance, drama, painting, or sketching.  Although I have been involved on worship teams and led a worship dance team, I never really considered myself an “artist”.  I did not have an understanding as to what true creativity was, but desired to be creative.  I began to pray and ask the Lord to release His creativity through me.

A few years ago, I traveled with the leadership of my church to the Kansas City International House of Prayer.  I remember as I sat in the room, overwhelmed by the worship, that God began to give me some amazing pictures of what was on His heart.  My prophetic gifting is as a “seer”, which means that God often shows me pictures during worship, or during my prayer times, both for me personally and for my local corporate body.  

While I was in Kansas City, I had an opportunity for the first time to sketch some of what the Lord showed me, and although it wasn’t perfect, it was very freeing. I desired more.

In my local church, there are artists of all different abilities- from beginners, to those who have been formally taught, to those like me, who have no formal training but have a burning desire to express God’s heart through the arts.  Because I never considered myself an artist, by the world’s standards, I had to overcome some obstacles.  The fear of man and the need to compare my art to others were two of my biggest challenges.  Also, I had to learn to accept and cultivate my unique bent as an artist.  I don’t use brushes.  I use my fingers, and for a while, I thought that was weird.  But one day God said, “use your hands and do not pick up a brush”.  So to this day, with the exception of texture or background color, the majority of my artwork is painted with my fingers.  

It took me a while, but I am finally at a place of freedom in my creativity and it doesn’t matter what others may think or feel.  It only matters if I allowed God to move through me.  

The more I step out in obedience and allow God to cultivate my gifting, the more I am amazed at what I can do. 
The Holy Spirit has been the best teacher!

When I paint, I first pray and ask the Lord if there is a particular scripture, word or picture He would like to show me.  I then ask Him about color – what colors should I use and how many?  I seldom receive anything concrete from the Lord until just before I paint.  And it’s normally just a sense or a feeling. I then pray and ask the Lord to anoint my hands for worship as I begin to paint. As the Holy Spirit comes, I often feel as if I am in another time and place, like it’s just Him and me in the room.  When I paint, I feel in complete unity with the Lord and close to His heart. 

My desire is to be used as an instrument for His glory.  It is not about wowing the congregation, or having someone want to purchase my art.  It’s about being obedient to the Holy Spirit.  I believe we were all born to create.  We serve a very creative God.  

"In the beginning God created..." (Genesis 1:1)  

If you have never “created” in the presence of the Lord, give it a try!  Turn on some worship music, grab some colored pencils or watercolors and ask the Holy Spirit to move through you.  What are you seeing?  What are you feeling?  Let Him guide your hands and do not get caught up in technique. 

It’s not about perfection. It’s about your heart connecting with God’s heart.  And I guarantee you it will be beautiful because it was inspired by the Holy Spirit.  You cannot fail.  God gave you the desire.  He is waiting for you to create so that the entire world can see His beauty!

Barbie lives in Northern California with her husband and four children.  She works full-time as the Pastoral Administrator of her church, and desires to be used by the Lord to express his heart through the arts.  To see more of Barbie's art, visit her blog at

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