Word Pictures


Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Word Pictures

Have you ever used “word pictures”?

Word Pictures are entirely written or spoken but vivid enough not to need an actual illustration. I think they are particularly powerful when they are written to communicate a complex idea but tailored into the “language” of the audience. Jesus used parables frequently in Scripture and I think those are pretty comparable to word pictures. Jesus told important Truths using a setting familiar to the those who were listening. Often He was talking to fishermen so he used fishing references when He talked about sharing the Gospel. When you speak to someone in their language and use scenarios from experiences they can understand they can grasp your intent more easily.

A well-crafted word picture can communicate positive or negative ideas and can speak volumes even if it doesn’t use many words.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, you might want to practice crafting some sweet word pictures for the precious people in your life. Consider their special interests and craft a positive message for them based on that. If you are a natural wordsmith, this shouldn’t be too hard.  For example, if you are talking to an astronomer and you want to express feelings of deep affection you can tell them “I love you to the moon and back” and they will probably get a sense of how much you care.

On a more serious note, when I have an important point to get across to another person sometimes I will craft a word picture to communicate my thoughts. This action serves several purposes:

  • I slow down and think about the best way to approach the situation before I say the first thing that comes to my head.
  • I put myself in the other person’s shoes as I think about what they might relate best to.
  • I consider my words carefully for the best impact.

Practice makes perfect! Well, maybe not perfect, but it does help you get more familiar with using this technique for communicating.

This may sound like a paradox but I think it can be hard for a person who is always thinking to choose very carefully what they will say.  I am a verbal processor and it tends to get me into trouble because I often think out loud. Many times I start speaking in an effort to sort out my thoughts and there have been times as I have talked through things I have completely changed my mind by the end of my words. Let me tell you, this has caused problems in our house through the years. I am married to a great guy who means what he says and doesn’t say it unless it is true. Don is very precise with his words and I am often very general so taking the time to create a word pictures for him has been helpful for me.

Word Pictures create powerful imagery when crafted properly. I love the challenge of using an every day item to illustrate an important truth that I want to share. If you are having a challenge communicating an important idea to someone else maybe a word picture will help.

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