I remember it like it was yesterday. I was talking to a loved one about preaching and saying that I would really love to get off my notes and just preach. Her reply was telling. She said “…and be more Spirit led?” That wasn’t at all what I meant. Her feeling was that if I prepared in advance, I wasn’t being Spirit led. Nothing could be further from the truth. My messages come as a result of prayer and there is prayer throughout the entire process. As such the Spirit of God is involved in the entire process (at least when I am at my best and most locked in on God.). I was simply saying I wanted to present the messages in a stronger and better way. I wanted to be more prepared.
The same thing could apply to art. Over the years, people have asked me if I am a prophetic artist and I’m never quite sure how to answer that. Maybe that’s for the best. Whether or not something I do is prophetic is God’s call, not mine. There have been times, quite a few in fact, where I have stepped to the easel on a prayer, asking God to give me an image and starting to paint. There have been times where the piece has been spot on and it was very effective. To be honest, it’s very fun and exciting and freeing. I feel a real connection with the Father when I am doing it. In my opinion though, it would not be wise to say that is the only way to be prophetic.
For example, I never go to the easel on a prayer with no preparation for a six minute speed painting. I only do that type of work when I have much more time to paint. The reason is simple, even with the Lord’s guidance and “bolt from the blue” inspiration, it would take too long to figure out how to make the piece come together. You may see this as a lack of faith, but it feels very practical to me and it takes me back to the first paragraph, coming to the easel unprepared is not necessarily more Spiritual and preparation is not unspiritual.
When live painting there are two things that are extremely important to me. The first is that God is glorified and for me to glorify God is to do the best I can with what I have (time, resources, etc.). The second most important thing is that the work connects with the hearts and minds of the people. I want my ministry time to bear fruit for the Kingdom, whether that be in someone coming to know Jesus or that someone who already knows Him be inspired to use their gifts to serve Him. Because of this, I prepare. It starts with prayer for the idea, then it goes to practice wrapped in prayer, and finally painting the final piece while bathed in prayer. This process is every bit as Spiritual as if I simply prayed and painted. I have presentations that I have done fifty or more times that still connect with people, touch hearts and minds and bring people closer to God. That, like everything else, has very little to do with my abilities and very much to do with God at work in me.
At the end of the day, I believe if a piece of work is used to bring a message from God, connect a person to God, cause someone to reexamine their priorities or repent, or inspire someone to follow or draw closer to God, it is in a sense prophetic. Whether carefully planned or spontaneous is less important than what is the of the utmost importance.
Is the artist connecting with and following God through the process of creation?