Do you pray before you paint? What about before you set up the lighting for a photo shoot? For inspiration? Creative guidance? Artistic skill?
As a Christian who is also an artist, I am surprised at how long it took me to begin such practices. Praying for guidance and ability, say, before an exam, became part of my life during college. I remember distinctly one frustrated night walking to the library, having difficulty understanding a beginning physics class, when I first began to ask the Creator of all things to bless and make fruitful my study time. I thought, if God is the author of the physical laws that govern reality as well as morality, why not go to him in prayer for assistance with understanding both. It worked. That was the beginning of my understanding of physics and of prayer for divine aid with regard to academics.
Why not ask the same thing of the first Artist? “Create” is the fifth word of the Bible and God’s first recorded action in Genesis 1:1. Surely, creating art is near and dear to the heart of the Creator. When we create art, we imitate Christ: “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3). But it was about six years before I applied this realization to my art making process.
Now, I pray for guidance, that the final piece would accomplish His will. Pray for inspiration, that He would be the ultimate Muse and fount behind my work. I meditate upon the work piece in the same fashion as “…when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” Deuteronomy 6:7b, that through the process of creating the work, God would minister to me. (This suggestion may not make sense for other types of work, but I usually create art based on Scripture.) Then, when I am done, I pray a prayer of thanksgiving, for the gift of art, for the gift of time to work on it, for the inspiration, the skill, and the final product, asking again that it would accomplish his will.
I don’t know if this would apply to all art circumstances. But if it applies to Physics, why not Art?
“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9