On File

Psalms in Nature

Meeting the Creator in Creation

This is a great time of the year to go outside. It’s warming up. Things are growing. The sunlight is brighter. Your wardrobe might be lighter, both in weight and in color. Flowers are blooming and the breezes are refreshing. The spring rains bring scents that we’ve missed. Most of them are pleasant. There’s a lot to find outside. There are a lot of benefits to a good walk, a breath of fresh air, or the sound of a stream or a river flowing past.

Let’s focus our attention on finding moments of worship outside. We’ve included a sampling of Spiritual Life Development’s (SLD) prayer resources, Psalms in Nature.

Each experience can be as long or as short as you like. They can all be combined into one hour spent outside, or you can break it up into daily or even weekly experiences. Take the same “Prayer Walk” to another park and it can become a completely different experience. It’s our hope that these experiences would benefit your body and soul and lead you into meaningful encounters with God.

During a recent vacation to Niagara Falls, Colonel Janice Howard shares what began as a journal entry that ended as devotional thought in Chaos or Calm. (see below) Like Janice, you might be surprised at what inspires you during your time outdoors and where it leads you, and others.

So, take a hike or go for a walk. Even a five–minute stroll after lunch could be a game–changer on a frustrating day spent under fluorescent lights or in meetings. Or maybe you’ve hit a creative wall. Give yourself a few moments outside those walls and you might be amazed at the ideas or different perspectives that come to you.

This month, try to find some time and space outside to meet God. Breathe in air that hasn’t been filtered and recycled 17 times. Let your eyes get used to the light and look for colors and life around you. Even in the densest neighborhoods, you can find a flower pot, a budding tree, or if you’re fortunate, a park. While you’re out there or when you’re done, journal about your experience.

Psalms in Nature is available as a free download on www.saconnects.org/sld. Print it or open it on your e-reader app.


Chaos or Calm?

Simply amazing. I stood at the edge of Niagara Falls and stared. Without googling, I had no idea how much water was rushing past me — rushing at an immense speed. The force of the water was so intense that white caps formed before it began its descent down the cliffs and into the basin. Wow! Intense. Loud. Powerful. So much so, that the Falls are a popular sightseeing destination.

I am amazed that people have climbed into barrels and plunged down the waterfalls. Did some of those people really think they could survive such a feat with only a little protection? What were they thinking?

As I walked along the walkway near the edge, something else caught my attention—the power appeared to have ceased at the basin. As the water flowed just yards down the river, it was calm. So calm that I would not have feared swimming from one shore across to the other shore. Interesting, isn’t it? Such power. Taking a nose dive over the cliffs. Great speed. Then the calm. 

My thoughts went in two directions. One, I am reminded of a wise teacher warning me that after the highs of a spiritual experience, Satan will attempt to pull me into the valley, to remove that spiritual power from me. It is possible that the power of those high moments and commitments will be short lived. I have prayed against this in many situations.

Two, in the midst of chaos or crisis, I can remain calm and focused. The Holy Spirit provides a soothing internal balm when the situations around me are trying to beat me down. I focus on Him as I slow my breathing in prayer.

Lord Jesus, calm me.
Lord Jesus, calm me.
Lord Jesus, calm me. Amen.

—Colonel Janice Howard