They say a picture is worth a thousand words. And it’s true, especially when it comes to loved ones. Our homes are full of family photos—hanging on a wall, sitting on a shelf or night table. Plus there are the hundreds we store on our smart phones.
When we’re not taking pictures of family and friends, we’re showing them to someone else. Young parents can’t wait to take out their phones and show photos of their children. Grandparents do the same with grandbabies. Pictures of significant people in our lives remind us of our connection and love.
My mom and dad have family photos in the living room. There is the one of the entire family taken a few years ago during Christmas. Every evening before going to sleep, my father takes time to pray in the living room. He looks at that family portrait and prays for each of us.
Since I moved away to Florida, this has become more significant for him. My dad misses my wife and me a lot. But looking at our faces in the picture and praying, he feels deeply connected even from a distance. It brings him comfort and peace.
Often when I call him, he reminds me of this prayer practice. Some people journal their prayers. Others pray through their request list. But my dad uses the family picture to pray for everyone dear to him.
He has made me think differently about the use of photos and prayer. Now when I look at a photo of him or others, I find myself saying a prayer of thanksgiving, a prayer for protection and healing, a prayer for God’s favor upon those I love.