Prayer:

Made in God's Image

by Martha Nelson

Last month we studied how we human beings have been made in God's image. Although God also created many beautiful plants and animals, he made US in His own image.1 Why? Our conclusion was that He wanted to have beings capable of sharing their lives with Him. Because we have been made in God's image, we have the privilege of being His Friends. This is a choice that each person is able to make. We can pursue or reject God's friendship.

Let's look at another detail of how God made us like Himself. In Genesis 2:7 we read "the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the BREATH OF LIFE; and man became a living being." In the original Hebrew language which these words were written in, the word "breath" means spirit. So God gave each of us a spirit. But what exactly IS a spirit?

What is a Spirit?

Well, you couldn't draw a picture of it! Because our spirit is invisible. It is the deepest, most intimate part of us. It's the "real me" and the "real you." Our spirit is more than just our individual personality, however. And although we can't see our spirit, it can be touched.

Recall the last time you went to an art gallery and saw something very beautiful_or listened to an inspiring piece of music_or read something that lifted you to a higher plane. We often say after an experience like this, "That really lifted my spirits." We felt mysteriously encouraged, and filled with a hope that lasted long after the joy of the moment had ended. That's because the experience had touched something beyond our emotions and minds_it had touched our spirit.

But not all art or music lifts our spirits. Much modern art, such as that by Francis Bacon, expresses despair and chaos. We may go away from an encounter with these elements and feel depressed or anxious. It seems that inside each of us there is a despair that at times needs to be soothed.

The Longing Within

It seems that we have been created with a longing within_a longing for our spirits to be soothed in a deep and lasting way. This longing doesn't seem to be satisfied completely by the tastes we get from art or music. We long for something more.

Could this longing be a deep desire to know God the Creator? Because He Himself is a Spirit, and made US with spirits, He is able to touch us in a way that nothing else can. Real communication with God_real prayer_is a touching of our spirits by His. This touching "lifts our spirits" in an even deeper way than the most inspiring art. That's because we are reaching out for friendship with the One who knows us best.

If we want to know God the Creator more, how do we go about it? We'll talk more about that next month.

1. Genesis 1:27

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