So as you might recall, I made myself a prayer tree several years ago. You’ll find more info about that in my original post on it, but the basic concept is to draw or paint (or tape, a la Alma style) a tree on your wall and then add paper leaves or fruit for your prayers, either leaving them up to see your prayers over time or taking them down when they’re answered. For mine, I labeled my branches with general categories (Family, different friend circles, causes, gifts, etc.), then drew leaves for the specifics within that (specific family members or friends, etc.), using the fruit to represent my prayers for them. I labeled the fruit with the date I put it up and the request (color-coded by type), and then would add the date I took it down later. My goal was to be able to hold in my hands the tangible results of my prayers and see over time different areas in which God had moved.
Now, several years down the line, I think it’s time for a redesign.
Part of this is because I’d stopped really using it. I cleaned it off the other day and realized I hadn’t put up any new fruit for over a year. I was able to pull down a lot of fruit for various reasons, and many of them had really miraculous resolutions, so as a way to remember and be thankful for God’s faithfulness, power, and provision the tree definitely works, but there are some problems with its current design that I’d like to tweak.
One, making it smaller and less specific. It’s overwhelming to have something with so many leaves, some of which might have several prayers layered one on top of the other. It’s also hard to figure out what I’m supposed to be praying for if there are a lot of prayers stacked on each other, some of which might be the same color, long-standing, or obscured by other prayers. Making the tree smaller and putting up fewer, more refined pieces of fruit should help. Putting more time into considering what I want to use my tree for (personal meditation and prayer, a prayer “tracker,” something else), should help with that as well.
Two, changing the leaves. Like on most trees, some of mine need to change. I originally did my tree in pencil on my wall, which as some of you might know, is not the easiest thing to clean or change. Many of the branches on my tree have leaves for people I don’t see as often anymore or activities in which I’m no longer involved, and while I might still pray for those people/things, there are other leaves I might want to add instead that I don’t necessarily have as much room for now either.
To that end, I’m planning on removing the specific labels on the leaves. Rather than being so specific, I want to have something that is more stylistically appealing and then put the fruit up in general areas for each category. This should help with the overcrowding and let me see what kind of prayers are where and read them more easily.
For the artistic style itself, I haven’t quite decided what it will look like. I’m intrigued by the idea of using something removable so I could change it up every once in a while (maybe different kinds of trees?), but with my life pretty constantly on the lip of transitions, it’s hard to say with any certainty where I’ll land. I like the idea of doing something along the lines of a tree of Gondor, but when the major features of my room are a 1940s style pair of paintings, a TARDIS bookshelf, and a Lichtenstein-style painting, I’m not sure adding another visual style would work. It’s also hard to determine what the size would be, or if it should be 2D at all. Maybe just doing a bonsai tree with some ribbons would be a helpful reminder. Talking to God is the end goal after all, so if I hang up handfuls of leaves or a photo or anything else, as long as it reminds me to talk to Jesus, I guess it’s doing it’s job.
Anywhere, that’s where I am in the redesign process. If any of you have had success in creating/using a prayer tree or have any other helpful design tips or inspiration, please let me know below (pictures welcome)!
Thanks for reading!