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How a Family Photo Inspires Prayer

Documenting a wonderfully vital, creative, happy family–and feeling gratitude to God.

Family photo as prayer

Ever think of a family photo as a prayer? Maybe this is an opportunity.

Our kids live far away, on the other side of the continent. We’ve got one son in San Francisco and one in Los Angeles. (How did that happen?)

Of course we call and text and email, but there’s nothing like seeing your grown kids face-to-face.

Just the other weekend we flew to San Francisco where Will and his fiancée, Karen, live. And our younger son Timothy flew up from L.A. with his girlfriend Henley. It was the perfect family reunion.

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We ate copiously, talked endlessly, walked tirelessly and rejoiced at being together. But the occasion had to be marked. We all knew we had to document the event with a family photo.

Saturday morning after a leisurely breakfast someone announced, “Everybody outside for a picture.” No time to style it, change clothes or fuss about hair and make up. This was the chance. Before we forgot.

We dashed outside to the front of the house where Will lives. Henley grabbed her cell phone. Our distinguished photographer.

We stood on the steps in front of the clapboard house and immediately my mind flashed back to other photo opportunities. Celebrations at graduations, weddings, after church services, school plays, auspicious occasions that marked milestones in our lives. Recorded for posterity.

I could only be grateful. Grateful to God for putting us together in this wonderfully vital, creative, happy nexus that is our family.

Click, snap, click, snap. The photo was done and soon it would be posted on Facebook and Instagram to be shared with friends who could rejoice with us and give their thumbs-up. (Sometimes I wish Facebook had an emoji of praying hands to say “Amen.”)

The writer Christine Valters Paintner makes the lovely point that instead of “taking” a picture we might think of “receiving” a picture. Each shot a treasured gift.

This one had our Maker’s hands all over it.  Amen I say. Gift received. 

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