By Justin Rossow, with art by Valerie Matyas
If you look closely at the images of recent protests, you may well see signs that quote Micah 6:8–“Do justice. Love mercy. Walk Humbly.” They seem to describe a need for something we are missing in our current culture.
I’ve seen Christians use some variation of those same words online as a way to express solidarity (and still stay Biblical). Because Micah is a Hebrew prophet, I’ve also seen some Jewish protesters use that verse for solidarity on different social or political issues.
I really like Micah 6:8. And I would like to move beyond Micah 6:8 as a slogan. So I worked with my friend (and the Educational Development Consultant for Visual Faith™ Ministry) Valerie Matyas to create a prayer resource based on Micah 6:8.
The idea is simple: if we sit with this verse in prayer, then God will be up to something in our hearts and lives. And seeing this verse out there in the world (or online) will continue to reinforce what the Spirit of Jesus is shaping in us.
You can download this Visual Prayer Experiment below and print it for your own use, for your family, or for your small group. But first let me give you an idea of how it’s supposed to work.
Print out the PDF below or draw your own triangle on a half sheet of paper. Label the sides of the triangle “Act Justly,” “Love Mercy,” and “Walk Humbly With Your God.” Then draw lines to create a stained glass effect inside and around the triangle, kind of like this:
Set aside some time for reflection and prayer. Begin by reading the “For Further Reflection” section, below. Then invite the Holy Spirit to work through God’s Word according to God’s promise. Begin your prayer acknowledging your dependence on the God who does justice and loves mercy and walks with you on this journey of faith.
As you meditate on the words of Micah 6:8, some prayer requests will begin to come to mind. Jot down single words that captures a prayer thought as it comes to you in one of the “panes” of the stained glass. You can start in any of the three sections, and you don’t have to put a word in every pane.
You might write down the name of a person you know who needs prayer. You might add a one-word reminder of a burden you carry. You could confess a personal sin, pray for your community, or lay current events before your Heavenly Father, trusting that Jesus is always interceding for you. The Spirit helps you in your weakness and adds prayers beyond words when you don’t know what to say.
After you have several prayer requests written down, go back and use a colored pen, marker, crayon, or pencil to add color or a repeating design to the panes with words in them. As you work, meditate on the Word and pray. Often, praying will lead to other, connected prayer requests. You can jot those down in an adjacent pane and keep praying.
You probably won’t get to all of your prayer requests in one sitting, and that’s a good thing. You can add to your stained glass triangle over the course of a week or so and keep adding colors and prayers. If you want to spend more time on a specific prayer topic, you can add more color shading to your original pane or repeat some facet of that prayer in another pane. There are no rules; just an invitation to pray.
You will likely find yourself thinking about that triangle during the course of your busy day; you don’t have to have it in front of you to keep the prayers going. And if you think of a prayer request when you are away from your sheet, any sticky note or phone app can remind you to add a word or phrase when you get back to it.
In this way, the words of Micah 6:8 will become a part of your prayer life, and the prayers that are shaped by that verse will take root in your thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. God’s Word will accomplish what God intends. And maybe the next time you see the slogan, “Do Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.” you will be reminded of your prayer, and take that invitation to pray some more.
For Further Reflection
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 (NIV)
“Act justly“ or “do justice.” The Hebrew word used here (mishpat) can mean judgment, or verdict, or ordinance, or justice. God’s commands and ordinances include not merely a list of do’s and don’t’s, but a relationship grounded in God’s gracious verdict. God does mishpat, and therefore the people of God are to do mishpat as well. To “do justice” is to do what is right; but it is also to have mercy.
“Love mercy.” This Hebrew word for mercy (chesed) is a theologically loaded term. It could be translated mercy, or loving-kindness, or even covenant faithfulness. Chesed is one of God’s defining actions: covenant faithfulness is what God is all about. To love “chesed” is to love and trust a God of forgiveness and mercy, and to live with other people accordingly.
“Walk humbly with your God.” Used only here and in Proverbs 11:2, this Hebrew word means lowly or humble. Jesus talks about the poor in spirit receiving the Kingdom (Matthew 5:3), and says only people who turn and become like a little child–that is, lowly and dependent–can enter into the Kingdom (Matthew 18:3). Walking this journey of faith with your God, you are dependent on God’s justice, mercy, and covenant faithfulness.
Walking humbly with your God also means standing ready and prepared to do the justice, mercy, and loving-kindness you receive from God (the Greek version of Micah 6:8 uses “ready, prepared” instead of “humbly” to describe your walk with God).
All three together. You are to do justice--but that justice is flavored with mercy. You are to love mercy–and that mercy is first and foremost dependent on God’s covenant faithfulness. You are to walk in lowly dependence on God–the same God who is known for doing justice and loving mercy.
Start anywhere on the triangle, and justice, mercy, and walking humbly all lead to each other. And they all describe the God we know as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–the God who does justice, loves mercy, and in Jesus, becomes lowly enough to walk with you on your journey of faith.
Download and print whichever is most useful for you or for your group:
- Micah 6:8 Prayer Experiment with directions
- Micah 6:8 Prayer Experiment
- Micah 6:8 two Prayer Experiments on one page
If you would like more instruction on this kind of Stained Glass Prayer, you can view Valerie’s video tutorial.
Artwork © 2020 Valerie Matyas and Next Step Press. Used by permission.