Jigsaw Puzzles as a Prayer

Every year at Christmas our kids get my husband and I a jigsaw puzzle. This year Santa pitched in and we actually ended up with three puzzles–birds, the beach and kites–our three favorite things.

Actually, this is the beach AND kites

A great Friday night date for my husband and I is to build a fire, turn on the music and puzzle away….a simple, quiet joy for us. (You 30 somethings are wondering which planet we’re on, I’m sure…).

The joke around here is if the puzzle goes on the card table on the day after Christmas, we can usually finish it by the first or so of June, when the ‘kids’ show up again for Father’s Day. Alas, we got a late start–one week into this new year. But, praise be, it’s a 300-piece small one this time–easy peasy.

Working on jigsaw puzzles got me thinking about tying up the ‘loose ends’ of this year and looking at the new one ahead.  How can I focus on what God wants?–there are just TOO MANY PIECES–the shapes! the colors! They all look exactly alike–how will I tell which is which? And I’m not sure what the border even looks like. Where are my boundaries?

I began to think of you, dear friends, some of who’ve typed me personal notes, those I’ve exchanged emails with sharing prayer requests, joys and some not so joyful times. I thought of the challenges we face, the aspirations, the daily-ness of our walk with Jesus.

Hence, this prayer about puzzles, a metaphor for our lives:

“Father, we give you all the pieces of our lives, rounded, jagged, ill-fitting.
We place the ideas, dreams and desires,
the want-to’s and the need-to’s,
the prayers for family and friends,
the cries of our heart to follow you, into your hands.
Show us the puzzle frame, Father.  And remind us that YOU are the designer. 
Help us to pick up one piece at a time, one day at a time.
Show us how to consider each one well, notice the round edges,
observe the ways it could work–‘maybe over here?’ ‘maybe over there?’
Remind us that it takes time to make something beautiful, so that everything fits in place.
Whisper whenever we need it, the words telling us we will not be finished with x y z in a week, or a month. Maybe not even this year.
For we may need to ponder and puzzle over the fragments more than once,
laying them down and picking them up with a fresh look the next day.
Remind us Father, that when we surrender everything
lay it all out on the table
that YOU can take it and make it into
something beautiful in your time.
Philippians 3:13,14
“(this) one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,   
    I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

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7 thoughts on “Jigsaw Puzzles as a Prayer

  1. The Director of Christian Education and I plan our Annual Women’s Retreat. We were not feeling comfortable or excited about any directions we were going.
    And during the night, it came to me – Life is a Puzzle: Am I missing a piece? Or am I the missing piece? And Googling “Puzzle Prayers” I came to your beautiful writing. Thank you. It confirmed to me that we will put all of the pieces of the retreat puzzle together with His help and guidance.

    1. Patti how amazing of God and the work of the Holy Spirit to lead you to Google such a thing in the middle of the night and God bring you to this piece. I am blessed. May God bring much fruit from your retreat however it turns out.

  2. Our nearly five year-old granddaughter enjoys jigsaw puzzles, and this Nana is happy to offer assistance. I pray God brings to mind your rich analogy each time we puzzle together, especially, “Remind us Father, that when we surrender everything, lay it all out on the table, that YOU can take it and make it into something beautiful in your time.” AMEN and well done, Jody!

  3. Hey Jody, wow I was in tears with the prayer. I’m going to put those words somewhere, thank you. Gods word to me for this year is “impassioned purpose.” Deeper up an ascending staircase that is dark because no one has gone there before, dust covers every step and as I move He holds a lantern, He is moving up the stairs before me, but he is smiling and gesturing for me to follow Him. Like a husband with a smile who has a huge surprise behind some locked door and it will catch you unaware. This is what He keeps showing me, and I keep praying show me the frame, everything in its time, making things beautiful, here a piece, there a piece until all will be revealed. Thank you Jody and praise God, He is so good. May 2018 be an amazing year for you! Oh and my hubby and I are 30 somethings and our nights in look like green tea, cats on the couch and monopoly haha! aliyah

    1. Oh, Aliyah, this makes me so happy that this puzzle prayer spoke to you. I like your word picture of the way that God is leading you–you are an inspiration, friend. Thank you for your good wishes (and a peek in to your 30 somethings’ together time!)

  4. My kids get their dad a puzzle most years for Christmas, too. It’s a fun tradition. More importantly, I appreciate how your post speaks to the ways that a relaxed mind can wander into important truths. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Natalie, I think when our hands are busy our minds can process better, yes? (Let’s bring back quilting bees!) And all the talking that happens, too :-). Thanks for reading.

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