Praying Youth Sculpture

Praying Youth Sculpture

Alone with God

By Schmitz 2021

When I can’t find God,

I look inside.

That’s where God lives

not up in the sky.

He’s waiting to talk.

He calls it a prayer,

but it’s up to you.

He won’t give up

Nor should you

You can’t get away.

because he’s made of you!

You are never alone!

The Author’s Thoughts – Jim Schmitz

Most artwork has a story to tell. Sometimes it is hard to tell what it is or what the artist intended to say, so I wrote a poem to help tell what I had in mind.

First, I see this sculpture and poem as a prayer. They are meant to be open-ended, what you get from them should be your own. Everyone may take away something different and that is OK. We are all different and come to this time and place from different backgrounds and experiences so why shouldn’t we see things in different ways. My thoughts are just mine and yours are yours. Artwork is like that you know.

Some of my art is religious in nature, kind of like a gift to God. Think of it like this, if you could take your prayer to God in a basket and you leave action out of the basket then I would consider it an empty prayer. Prayer is like the basket. If it holds only words, I think God sees it as empty too. If I pray for help for my neighbor and don’t do anything myself to help then that is an empty prayer. If I pray for myself and do nothing to help myself then that is an empty prayer. Now I am a kind of private person and am not fond of public prayers that seem to me to be empty and self-serving. I hear LOOK AT ME.

Now there are different kinds of prayer. Worship and Praise. This prayer acknowledges God for what He is, prayers of thanksgiving and prayers of supplication. This prayer should be prayed with humility and is asking for something. Some theologians list 5 types of prayers. They are trying to help people make sense of things. Worship, Praise, Thanksgiving and Supplication are the ones I think are used the most. I think of my art as all three plus inspirational. I guess you could think of it as supplication and asking that the work be inspirational.

One part of the poem stands out to me. To paraphrase it is “God is made of you”. I am sure that part will be seen in many different ways. I look at it like this, if we are sons and daughters of God made in his likeness, then we are a part of him and he is a part of us. “Our father who is in heaven” and “We are the hands of God” are just two that come to mind.

We ALL have a special skill. It’s a gift God gave us. For some it is music, compassion and understanding, a skill to build, art, teaching, and many many more. Find God, he is in you right now. Find yourself. Find your gift then use it. Put it in your prayer basket and give it to God. To me that is real prayer.



Back in 20?? Paster Paul Wolf came to me and asked if I would Make a carving for Camp Chippewa like I have done for the Boy Scout ranch. I would let campers come in and help carve. So, this statue started out as an idea. When I carve large public carvings, I like to allow people to help carve. The wood I used was oak. I don’t usually care for oak for carvings that will be left outside. I

prefer catalpa wood as it is resistant to rotting but could not find a piece large enough for this sculpture. James Rickner the camp director at Camp Chippewa contacted me asking for advice on how to restore or preserve the carving which started the second phase of this statue’s life. I too wanted to save it and two options came to mind. One was to carve a new one but I knew it would eventually decay too. A more permeate way would be to make a latex mold and cast it in concrete. This is what I sat out to do. I had never made latex molds before and I like trying something new. I discovered this was a lengthy process. It required patching up the carving with pieces of wood, plaster, and sheetrock putty. Then I made a latex mold. Over this I had to layer a fiberglass shell mold. Over this I constructed a wood frame to stabilize the shell mold while casting. Unforeseen problems kept coming up and I had to start this process over 3 times. Each time I had a setback it was tempting to quit and just carve a new one or just forget it and move on. But, maybe God, kept me going. Several times I was about to give up but something kept telling me that was not an option. The third time worked. After the second failure, Our Mission Team at Wesley United Methodist Church in Parsons Kansas had decided to fund the project with $500,00. If they thought that much of my work and trusted me then I just had to try again and the third time worked. I had a few personal problems including frustration and depression along with a few medical problems that slowed me down All this took me a couple of years. It was finally time to cast the statue but I was still not done. I had to make a rebar armature to reinforce the concrete. Still, something was missing. I wanted this statue to be a prayer so I wrote a short prayer on a piece of slate and threw it in the concrete while casting. It said, “Pease let this statue mean something to at least one person”. I first thought to keep this to myself. Four people helped me cast the concrete, Doug and Jacob McReynolds Chriss Bussan, and the driver of the concrete truck. They didn’t know about the slate. Paster Paul Wolf who has been a part of this from the very beginning encouraged me to tell this story. So I did. Then cast it with ready mix. It all worked. The statue is done, now its work begins.

This journey was not about a piece of wood or me, it is about all the people.

You and I , we make a difference. Don’t give up on we.

Camp Chippewa Office

2577 Idaho Road
Ottawa, KS 66067-9007
Phone: 785-242-6797
Fax: 785-242-8525