Monday, July 22, 2013

Praying with a cartoon map

Matthew 18:2-3
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.  And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
So the Lord wants us to become "like little children."  In my Christian life I have heard several sermons on this passage, as you probably have, and they most often distinguish between being "childish" and immature, and "childlike" which is trusting and expectant with faith, which certainly is the point Jesus was making.
In the last few years I have been drawing "prayer cartoon maps" (CPMs) which is a great way to exercise prayer and faith, and have fun doing it.  I imagine myself seated on "Abba" Father's lap, with a drawing pad, paper and crayons, and going at it, just like a "little child." 

I have found my CPMs of great benefit in my walk with the Lord. They are certainly not for everybody, but may be a real aid in prayer for those who  like to paint, draw or cartoon, as I do. As I began doing my weekly cartoon prayer maps I felt a special joy and love from God. When the Bible describes God as Father, it is not a nebulous image, but a real description. I felt that Abba God was looking over me as a parent sees a child drawing with crayons, and thinking, “Oh, that's nice, and it keeps him out of trouble too!"

Many people use a simple prayer list to aid and organize their prayers, such as the following:

Uncle Bob (cancer)
Help in forsaking sweets
Egyptian Christians - protected
New car
My boss (bless him somewhere else)
Find good contractor for roof problem
Our Church missionary in Ethiopia

My wife uses such a prayer list. She is a novelist and writer, so the normal “prayer list” is better for her.  You note that my CPM  incorporates lists also. As in the first panel (above) where I begin my prayers, I start with time for Thanksgiving, Praise and Worship, in that order. And I then proceed to the left side box where I pray for members of my family.

Let me make something clear. I am not claiming that CPMs are “especially powerful” and the “key to success in your life,” etc. They are merely a form of prayer that I find delightful (and I think God does too). Like all authentic Christian prayer it is offered in faith, but with the understanding the God often says “No,” or “Not Yet.”  For instance, last year there was a chance that I would be offered a position at a new Christian seminary. I drew a cartoon of the seminary for several months, reminding me to pray for that position every day. But the answer was "no." 

These CPMs include some really big, "Texas size" prayer requests. In my life as a Christian I have prayed many BIG prayers and a few were answered with "yes." For instance, back in 1985 while I was working on a book on Agnes Sanford (yet to be published) Dave Hunt came out with his infamous book, A Seduction of Christianity.  This work shocked and practically stopped the Charismatic Renewal. I shifted gears and quickly wrote a book to counter his, and prayed that it would answer his accusations and allow the Renewal to go forward. Quenching the Spirit was a success, and although it did not sell nearly as many books as The Seduction of Christianity, it was popular where it mattered most, among pastors and in Bible colleges and seminaries. It is still in print and you can purchase it HERE. Even today I have pastors come up to me and thank me about the book, and tell me how it allowed them to go forward with their Spirit-filled ministries.

I now do a prayer map when I start my work week.  Now that I am semi-retired, and  have the luxury of spending a lot of time on these prayer maps, but they can be done quickly. I have done a weekly prayer map in less than ten minuets. When I began doing the prayer maps I simply folded over a standard sheet of paper to get a four panels. I now do two sheets which gives me eight panels, and I save the last one as a "to do" list for the week, e.g., another blog, book review, chapter of a book, or new psalm, etc.

Now let me explain more fully my own prayer map as an encouragement for you to do your own. On the first panel above, sandwiched between the two lists, is the cartoon of me reaching out to God's hand. As I finish drawing this I often pray the "prayer of Jabez." (1 Chrn. 4:10) On one side is a circle of churches. This represents my request that I be given a teaching/preaching circuit of churches that call on me for workshops on healing, preaching engagements, etc. I have several engagement on my calendar now, but I am asking the Lord for a FULL schedule of invitations, i.e., at least two per month. On the other side is a drawing of my pastor at the Pentecostal church I now attend. I ask blessings and increase on it, and on its pastor.

Below that is a line which I use to divide a completely different category of prayer: intercessions for the conversion of the peoples of Islam. The figure on the left with the black hat is a cartoon of Fr. Zakaria Botors, the amazing Apostle to the Muslims whose satellite broadcasts have already converted millions (see my blog on him HERE) Next to him is a satellite beaming down his programs. The figure 120,000,000 represents the number of weekly listeners I am praying fornhim to have. He had a weekly audience of 60,000,000, an astounding figure, before he was temporarily shut down. The figure I am praying for is merely double - an easy thing for God. Pray with me for Texas size intention.

Under the cartoon of Fr. Botros is a list of the Muslim countries or peoples I will be praying for that week. I have a special heart for the people of Kurdistan and the Berbers. I am believing that the Kurds will be the first people group that will transit from majority Muslim to majority Christian. Right now conversions in Kurdistan are proceeding very rapidly.  Next to the list are drawings of the "instruments" that God is using in propagating the Gospel among the Islamic peoples: smart phones and computers (Internet). These can easily download the "Jesus Film" or the whole Bible - as well as many other Christian sources, such as the free pamphlets and books by Fr. Botros. 

To the right is the cartoon "result" of all of this: A mosque (Islam) is being undermined, it collapses into a heap of ruins, but resurrects as a church - which is not like any Western Church, but authentically Arab and  Muslim in culture, architecture,and liturgy. Glorious, glorious! Christianity Today had a cover story and articles on this very thing in its January/February 2013 issue HERE.

Hey, join me in this Texas size whopper! Pick an Islamic country and pray for it for a week or more.

The demon in a "no" circle is my way of remembering to always pray against demonic influences and distortions in revivals, personal goals, etc. I place these several places in my prayer maps.

The next panel (above) represents my prayers for revival in America, plus a few "toys" I am asking of Abba God.  (We are supposed to be like little children, right. I am almost 72, but still God's little kid. I can have toys!) In the center of the map of North America is a circle of churches on fire with the Holy Spirit. I am asking God to let me be part of that circle of revival. Also, that the Lord raise up many more revivalist, and the whole nation, plus Canada, and Mexico and everything represented in my prayer map go up in Holy Ghost fire.

There are two ladies to the right of the map doing a 'sword dance.' (One is drawn rather poorly) No, this is not a cult thing, as in drinking poison  Kool-Aid, or sticking it to the my enemies. At my ordination two woman who were in the dance ministry felt a call to do a dance with swords as a prayer - that my ministry and writings would help destroy the "principalities and powers" that hold down revival in America. I had already published Quenching the Spirit, and one of the bishops had prophesied that I would continue as revivals apologist and preacher. I continue to have faith that their prayer dance and his prophecy will bear fruit at its proper time, especially in my next book. (Hey Lord, remember I am no spring chicken, so when is this great revival coming?)

Underneath all of this are my "toy" requests of the LORD. The first is an electric car. I like saving gas and not paying a Saudi prince for crude oil. The second is an "OSLmobile." That is, a small RV that my wife and I will use to travel in comfort to the speaking/teaching invitations we get, especially to OSL missions and CFO summer camp retreats. We are at an age that when we drive long distances we need to stop and nap. Just pull off the road...zzzzzzz.

The last is a drawing of a Terrafugia, the new flying car that will go into production in 2015. It is expensive, but I won't need it until I get a LOT of speaking invitations. So the Lord won't have to sell the cattle He has on the hills for me for a while yet. Also, I have to convince my wife about this. She thinks I am a distracted driver (I do sing as I drive sometimes, and mysteriously, many drivers honk their horns at me). She thinks I may absent mindedly run into a 747.  You know how wives are.

The next panel pictures the five Christian plays I have written in the last years. Yes, in faith, they will all be on Broadway -  as well as local theaters and churches.  (You get the idea of Texas size prayers?) The cool looking dude with the beret and scarf is my agent/producer. I have not met him yet, and he may eventually be a "she." Anyway, he/she will come up with the brilliant marketing idea that Broadway needs a full-time Christian playhouse. At this  "Festival of Faith" different Christian plays can be rotated in, like a bevy of Shakespeare's plays. What a terrific idea!  Join me in praying for that one. Hey, if many of you join me for this one, the faith needed in only "Rode Island" size per person, right?

The flat panel TV shows that one of my plays "One Day at St. John's" will become a 7 part mini-series on TV. You can read the original play (and "pilot") as one of my blog postings. HERE 

This next panel depicts the new theology building at Emory' Candler Seminary. I did course work towards a degree at Candler back in the 1980s. It was dreadful, and I left in disgust over its liberal staff and atmosphere of unbelief. Among the courses I took was one on foreign missions, actually a good course. As part of the course requirements we had to present our research paper to the class. I did it on the rediscovery (for Protestants) of the ministry of exorcism by missionaries in China and India.  I focused  on the work of the Rev. John Nevius who produced a classic work on the topic, Demon Possession and Allied Themes (Chicago: Revell, 1896).

I presented my findings to the class and gave the students a brief bibliography on the best works on exorcism.  After my presentation, the students came up to me individually and thanked me for giving the paper, and adding, that this was the only instruction they have ever had on the exorcism ministry. Awful. That was one of the reasons I left Candler before I finished a degree. But I prayed as I left, "Lord, let me be come back some day to teach a course on the healing and deliverance  ministry." I have prayed that many times.  

On the top of the panel is a cartoon of me doing a weekly healing Holy Communion at the Emory chapel, with patients from Emory hospital coming in and getting healed. That will be an education to the Candler students and faculty! At the entrance to the new theology building you see pictured a "prayer station" in full bloom. Someone has been healed and dropped his crutch, and another person is kneeling and receiving Christ for the first time - a theology professor perhaps. For information on how to do a "prayer station" click HERE.

Pray with me that Emory University, and Candler Seminary at Emory, will have a full blown, "shouting Methodist" revival and become places where the Holy Spirit is welcome, and the gifts of the Spirit flow unimpeded. Wouldn't it be nice for Emory University  become what its original founders indented, a true Christian institution?

I spent seven years as pastor to two Hispanic congregations, and loved it.  But my major ministry has always been as Christian historian/theologian. I have published three books now, but the cartoon panel represents books "in the oven." The first two are complete and in the process of being edited and prepared for publication. "Hebraic" is short for the "Rebirth of Hebraic Christianity" (tentative title). It should be out this year some time by Word and Spirit Press, a small but quality Christian press. Its editor has a full time "day job" at Oral Roberts University and is pressed for time. My cartoon of him is at the bottom of the page.  He is getting a fresh dose of the Holy Ghost for energy to finish the editing job.

The next book cartooned is actually my wife's book. It is her third book, and her first non-fiction (You can order her very fine Christian women's suspense novels (HERE). The non-fiction work is called "Watching God Work: The Stuff of Miracles" and will be out by Bridge-Logos soon. It is about many of the miracles and providential things that have happened in our life together. It is really a wonderful, faith-filled, funny, and inspiriting book. I am looking forward to sharing its success, and income. Maybe that is the way the Lord will provide for our OSLmobile. I tell her I will be best know as the husband of the author who wrote "Watching God Work."

Note that these two books have an arrow going to a cartoon of one of those book displays you see at book stores holding copies of  the New York Times Beat Seller List.  I TOLD you I pray big prayers! 

Three of the next books are mostly complete, and need only months to update and polish, "Pentecostal Plays," "Agnes Sanford and Her Times," and "The Anglican Healing Ministry." The others are in outline form only. The most difficult, and perhaps most original, would be the two books on the "Wisdom of God."  One on the wisdom of God as history, and the other on the wisdom of God as science. I need your prayers that the Lord grant me the energy, time and, yes, wisdom, to complete them.

"Varieties" refers to a book on the varieties of spiritualism, from Mayan priest spiritualism which brought a reign of terror and destruction to its people, to the "gentle" spiritualism of the New Age movement - they all bring spiritual destruction. The drawing of the book cover with the tank refers to a planned book on how the 20th Century reaped in genocide and war the faithlessness of the atheists philosophers and ideologies of the 19th Century. The book "1 Cor. 14" would be an expansion of what I have written in one of my blog posting, on how to "do church" as Paul originally intended. HERE

In all of this I am encouraging all of you who enjoy, or did enjoy, drawing to take it up again, but now as CPM. It is having fun and praying at the same time, how can you beat that! I bet there are many of you out there who wanted to be cartoonists when you were young, as I did. In fact, Jack Davis, one of the lead illustrators of MAD comics as well as TV Guide, was my model. Here is a great blog on him with many of his cartoons HERE. As a teen I actually got pretty good in imitating his style of cartooning. That faded by neglect as I grew older, to be taken up again only in the last few years. I am asking the Lord to restore my skill level to the one that I had as a young man - yet another Texas prayer.

Here is another suggestion for those who might want to take up CPMs. The political cartoons in the Christian Science Monitor are posted every day on the newspaper's webpage are a wonderful models for any Christian would be cartoonist. They are caricatures, as all cartoons, but not nasty or bitter. Check them out.

I also hope this encourages you to Pray Big for the Kingdom of God. Maybe even bigger than Texas prayers - maybe an "Alaska" size prayers.

Addendum  (March 17, 2016):

Now that the fashion of adult coloring books is in full swing, we are finally getting Christian coloring books as the example below:. It is about time. The link for this is HERE


An article from Christianity Today, "Bible Study Meets Crafting" HERE

Here is a link to the work of a professional Christian illustrator and cartoonist that demonstrates his cartoon sermons. Check it out HERE

Watch this amazing Youtube video on a group praying with drawings. HERE

There is also a wonderful book by Sybil Macbeth Praying in Color which can be gotten at HERE

An serious of adult coloring books (as in grownup, not pornographic) has become widely popular 
best sellers. A link to an article describing them is found HERE  and HERE

Recently (2016) there are available a whole string of Christian adult coloring books. These are from the catalog of LifeWay; HERE

Here is a link to a cartoonist drawing part of CS Lewis' "Mere Christianity." Very nice: HERE 

The noted Pentecostal scholar Dr. Jon Ruthven wrote a very positive review of my latest book, Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal. You can access it HERE.

The book may be purchased on Amazon, either print or inexpensive Kindle HERE You can purchase the print version at a discount from the publisher HERE

My wife has written a funny and inspiring story of how she transited from a cessionist and Baptist to a Spirit-filled Believer. The book has many stories of our three decades of ministry together.  It may be purchased HERE.

Watching God Work: The Stuff of Miracles by [DeArteaga, Carolyn Koontz]