Monday, January 24, 2011

Art And Prophecy

Today I have another delightful post brought to you by my dear blogging friend, Barbie, a new monthly contributor here at Dance And Be Glad!  If you'd like to read the story behind her original art work pictured above, read this!  A long overdue post by yours truly is in the works..

Post by Barbie Swihart

I was so honored when Leah at Dance And Be Glad asked me to guest write on her site again.  I hope to encourage you as you grow in the creativity that the Lord has given to you.

I have been asked several times about my prophetic art.  You can find it here.  I have never had any training in drawing or painting.  But as a person who often sees pictures, given to me by God during times of worship and prayer,  I began to wonder if maybe God would give me the ability to paint what I saw.  Over the last few years,  the Holy Spirit has been doing a work in my heart and has given me so much freedom as I embrace my creative side.  Many have been encouraged through my art.  It's all for His glory!

The church that I attend has an ongoing Prophetic Arts ministry.  Do not let the word "prophetic" scare you.  Although I do not feel qualified to teach about the prophetic, I love to share my experience with what God reveals to me and how it transfers to art.   

Prophesy.  In simple terms, prophecy is a message from God meant to strengthen, encourage, and comfort others.  Most often, prophesy comes through divinely inspired words, spoken to breathe life and hope into another individual, though it can also be expressed in various other artistic forms as well. 

But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them.  1 Cor. 14: 3

I have been privileged to serve on the prophetic team at my church, and it always amazes me how God will meet me when I am obedient to step out in faith with what He gives to me.  I remember one time the Lord showed me a picture of a flower.  I was ministering to a young girl and I asked her what her favorite flower was.  It was the exact flower that the Lord had shown to me!  From there, I was able to share with her God's heart towards her; how He saw her.  It was very touching.  

It was a simple picture, given to me by God, yet combined with my act of obedience, it was used to bring hope and healing. 

Art.  Art is a universal language.  I love that art can convey different meanings to each person who sees it.  I have had the experience of walking by a painting and bursting into tears as God brought healing to me through it.  I believe that God desires to use art in the Church to bring hope, healing, and encouragement to His children.  

So how to prophecy and art work together?  Simply, the Father desires to express His heart to His children.  We serve a creative God who is always speaking.  God desires to (and does) speak through art.  As an artist, he desires to open our eyes and ears to see and hear what He is saying, and then transfer that onto canvass.   We do this for the Glory of God first and foremost.  If no one said anything about any of my paintings, it wouldn't matter.  I do it for God.  Do I want others to be blessed by it?  Absolutely.  But I do it out of obedience to what God has put on my heart, and leave the rest up to Him. 

Before I paint, I spend time in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit what He desires to show me.  God will often give me a picture.  I then ask for the Holy Spirit to help me to transfer the picture onto canvass.  Since I am not as skilled as some artists, I must surrender and rely 100% on the Hoy Spirit to move through me.  And there are times when God doesn't show me anything beforehand.  Imagine walking up to a blank canvass during a Sunday morning worship service and being completely oblivious as to what direction to go.  It's a humbling experience as I take God's hand and say, "Okay Lord, You've got this one."  I love to feel His presence moving through me as I paint.  

My desire is that God would use my art for His glory!

I would encourage you to begin developing your gift at home during your private worship times.  Or quietly in your seat during a worship service.  Maybe the church you attend is not yet at a place where they can be free to express themselves through art.  It is very important that you come under spiritual covering and leadership before attempting to develop an arts ministry in your church, or any ministry for that matter.  But what is stopping you from bringing a sketchpad and colored pencils with you to church?  Developing your gifting as an artist takes time, commitment, patience, and practice.  

God created us to partner with Him in releasing His glory on the earth!  He has given each of us a measure of creativity.  If you have a desire in your heart to begin drawing or painting, invest in some simple, basic tools and go for it.  And do not become frustrated if you do not see doors opening for you right away corporately.  Be faithful first in your own private life.  Cultivate your gift when no one else is watching.  God will be faithful to bring it into the light at the right time.

Below are some great resources if you would like to find out more about art in the church:

Theresa is a very gifted artist.  She has visited our church with her team on several occasions.  Take a moment to view her gallery, and read the testimonies of hope and healing that have been released around the world through there art listed there.

A very reasonably priced mp3 download of teaching and encouragement about prophetic art by Theresa Dedmon. 

A great book about using your artistic talent for the glory of God.  Written by Philip Graham Ryken.

Leah here:  Would you like the chance to win your own copy of the last two resources?  (Of course you would!)  Simply visit Barbie's worship arts site, Expressions Of His Beauty, and subscribe by email to receive updates of new posts (or let me know if you already do.)  Though infrequent, they are beautiful encouragements for the body and spirit.  You may receive additional entries by tweeting, posting on FB, following her (or me) via GFC or on facebook, or by following Barbie's main site, My Freshly Brewed Life.  Please leave a separate comment for each thing you do.  Giveaway ends this Friday at midnight (est).  Best wishes!


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