At the conclusion of a day-long design session at a church near Augusta, Georgia, the pastor surprised us by asking participants to gather around us – the design team – and pray. They formed a cluster around the four of us and placed their hands on our arms and shoulders. Then they prayed for our well-being and the future of their ministry. We sang part of an old hymn, and the day was finished. After that we said our good-byes, gathered our belongings, and headed to the rental car.
For the next fifteen miles, all we could talk about was what our client had just done. One of the more experienced among us said he couldn’t remember ever having been prayed over like that. I could count on one hand the clients I knew had prayed for us. I don’t know why it doesn’t occur to more people to pray for their architects and other creative consultants. Probably for the same reasons that designers too rarely lift up their clients.
No one has a special claim on prayer. But here’s a list, gathered with the help of other design professionals, of things you might pray for the architects, engineers and other designers that cross your path, if you’re so inclined.
- Focus: Design involves discovering meaningful patterns and direction amid great mounds of information and opportunity. It’s easy to be distracted by small things. Pray that we’ll hear where the Holy Spirit is leading.
- Humility: Design professions demand self-confidence and reward self-reliance. Pray that we will understand our role as midwives to ministry and that neither pride or precedent will make us unreceptive to the wisdom of others.
- Relationships: Every human relationship – between design team and owner, among the owner’s representatives and constituencies, and even within the design team – offers opportunities for growth and encouragement and for disagreement and conflict. Pray that each of our working relationships will glorify God.
- Creativity: Good designers like to find cool answers to tough problems. Pray that we’ll find solutions that advance God’s work, anticipate His future, and hint at His brilliance.
- Stewardship: We understand that the resources we use aren’t ours. (They’re not yours either.) Pray that we will be good stewards of whatever is placed in our care – time, money and trust.
- Wisdom: Most of the time, the work we do has significant financial and organizational consequences. It can be overwhelming. Pray that we’ll find wisdom as we guide others to make good decisions.
- Communication: Most of us realize that how we share is as important as what we share. Pray that we’ll communicate complex ideas clearly and choose words that protect the Church’s unity.
- Courage: Sometimes the right answer is hard to hear. Pray that we’ll have the grace to hear the truth, speak the truth, and have the courage to do both in love.
- Collaboration: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Pray that the team will be drawn together in a spirit of collaboration.
- Priorities: I’ve met very few designers who don’t love what they do. Very few weeks go by that someone doesn’t tell us that they wish they could do what we do. Pray that we’ll never be tempted to allow our work to overshadow our passion for stuff that really matters.