Nature gazing and praising is connecting with God through the spirituality of creation. It is experiencing the spiritual through the physical, the sacred through the ordinary capacities of our eyes, ears, noses, skins.
Sit for 5 minutes (or longer) each morning (or evening) and look at whatever you can see from the best window in your home. Use patio, deck, or sun porch in good weather. Be still. Notice what you might not have seen before. Be curious like a child. Be grateful. Take a deep breath and say thank you before continuing with your day. Add a reading from the book of Psalms on days when you have time.
Go on a short walk in your yard or neighborhood. Appreciate each sign of life and beauty. Stop and look closely at small things. Notice details of color and shape. Be amazed by God’s intricate web of life. Be aware of living within God’s care.
Drive to work or on an errand with the intention of noticing and being blessed by as many things in the natural world as you can (while still driving safely). Sky, wind, sun, water, grasses, trees, birds, wild flowers, beautiful lawns and gardens, crops, snow, rain, and animals can all be seen and appreciated through your car window.
Take mini-vacations during the work day. Stop and listen, look out a window for a few minutes. Break-through, creative thoughts sometimes come in such moments of reverie or relaxed reflection.
Take a walk during a break or lunch hour. Go outside if possible and let creation bless eyes, ears, body. Give up thinking and worrying for a moment. Sense God’s energy and presence in all that surrounds you. Fill your lungs with fresh air. Move. Be glad to be alive in God’s amazing world.
Create connections with nature in your work space. Keep plants, flowers, unique stones, fish, or a small fountain in your home or office. Play nature sound music while you work.
Use imagery to connect with nature. Take a mini-vacation in your mind by using the God-given gift of imagination. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and calmly. Imagine the most beautiful, peaceful, sacred place you have ever seen or visited. Be there! Have a virtual reality experience that allows you to see, feel, taste, smell, and hear this place as if you were actually there. Thank God for all such places that we carry within us because we have been gifted with such extravagant life and loveliness.
If you have a special place in nature that you can visit during the week, go there and do nothing but look, listen, and feel.
Let God be present to you in the details and realities of this place. Offer a prayer of thanksgiving as you prepare to leave.
Sing! When we take time to notice the glory of the created world we are often moved to joy. Express your praise by singing a favorite hymn or chorus. Sing along with music while driving.
Speak your thoughts throughout the day with mental or verbal words/phrases. A simple “Wow!” as you see a gorgeous sunset or “God, you do nice work,” as you spy an incredibly colorful tree can serve to remind us of the Source of all that we enjoy and connect us with God as giver of all life.
Scriptures for Reflection
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? —Micah 6:8 NRSV
Thus says the Lord: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. —Jeremiah 6:16 NRSV
You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.— Acts 2:28 NIV
Befriending the Earth by Thomas Berry
Original Blessing by Matthew Fox
Earth Prayers by Elizabeth and Amidon Roberts
Old Turtle by Douglas Wood
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
The Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson