Unexpected Gatekeeper: A Visual Prayer

Do you remember the story, The Three Billy Goats Gruff? As a child, it was one of my all time favorites. Three brother goats are hungry and desire the luscious, green grass that covers a field beyond the local bridge. The only thing is, there’s a scary troll who controls access to the bridge that leads to the glorious field of greens. One by one, the brothers make their way to encounter the troll and use their clever skills to navigate their way around him.

This month for 52 Weeks of Prayer Squares, the theme is Encounters Along the Path. The week’s prayerful prompt is: Gnomes, Trolls and Bigfoot. This prompt invites us to pray for the intimidating encounters of our lives. As I visually prayed this morning, the word “gatekeep” came to me. Cambridge Dictionary defines gatekeep as: “the activity of trying to control who gets particular resources, power or opportunities and who does not.”

Within our everyday culture, there’s gatekeeping all over the place. Power is regularly misused to keep some people “in” and others “out.” Gatekeeping exists at large globally, nationally and locally. It works it’s way through companies, organizations and family. Gatekeeping controls information shared and may leave out important details. While the positive aspect of gatekeeping can narrow focus, the dark side is fear and scarcity – there seems to be a lurking shadow that says, “If this person or group has access to xyz, then I/we won’t have enough.” I’ve experienced being the gatekeeper as well as the one who has been “kept out.”

The flip side of gatekeeping is ACCESS. This made me think of a powerful dream I had a few years ago when I was struggling to pass “the gate” of traditional Christian teachings. I had a dream that two women who ran the church office gave me a passport to travel into different lands. Rather than controlling the gate, they gave me FREEDOM to explore. When I awoke, it was as if my soul gave me permission to fly via the simple action of two phenomenal women. I’ve thought of this dream often and been amazed how for so long, I awaited for others to tell me it’s okay to follow my intuition. I was continuously surprised that I kept bumping into resistance from outside sources. The dream was my soul’s way of sending me a message. It reverberated with such resonance, I couldn’t deny the call: I had to courageously open the gate myself and walk through.

As my visual prayer emerged this morning, what I became curious about is: How have I been the gatekeeper of myself? How have I tried to control soulful information arising to the point of confinement? How have my thoughts and beliefs limited what is possible? And, how can I open the gate to the tiger within and let her smell the purple flowers that are at her feet calling her to sniff and taste!

May gates fly open this morning to yourself and others. May you allow others to be where they are and allow yourself to follow the Spirit within. May you open the gate and walk through with confidence. XO Ally

This visual Prayer was created with Prayer Squares: Spark Your Visual Prayer. Prayer Squares is a bite-sized creative practice to lead you to surprise and delight in your prayer life. Moving through four simple steps, you’ll experience how prayer comes to life in a fresh way in fifteen minutes per square. I’ve recently updated both the Participant’s and Leader’s Guides to enhance your prayer adventure! Read more and purchase Here.