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Saturday, June 09, 2007
Praying in Color

The mention of Phyllis Tickle's new book made me think of one I'm reading by a friend of hers. Our next series at church, "Source", is all about prayer, and soon I'll be helping to create a Prayer Garden in the art gallery section of our sanctuary, and planning some other prayer practices as well, including a prayer wall in an upcoming gathering. Even though we've used prayer walls with markers for journaling, I never thought of drawing and doodling as a way to connect with God. Fortunately Sybil MacBeth did, and she wrote a book called "Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God". What I didn't expect when I got the book was just how much I would love practicing prayer this way.

So far I'm just writing names of places and people and praying for them, like in my first prayer drawing above. Like the author, I think that sometimes my whole body wants to engage in prayer, and by drawing as I pray, my body and mind both get to participate. I draw the outline of the space, add the person's name, and while I'm filling in the shape with color, I lift that person in prayer to God. Although MacBeth sometimes takes her prayer drawings with her so she can pull out her drawing during the day and pray for those on her list, I've been just taking people along mentally. What's interesting is that now I remember each person so much more easily. Maybe that's because I'm basically a visual learner kind of person, but I know it's also because I have sat and meditated with markers, and invited this person into my heart with each stroke of the pen.

MacBeth suggests using this practice in various ways, including Lectio Divina and scripture memorization. I've never been good at memorizing scripture, so that's on my list to try as well. Meanwhile, I'm having a joyful time praying with color and delight.
posted by Anne at 5:00 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 6/09/2007 05:27:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    That's really cool! I want to try it...

  • At 6/09/2007 05:50:00 PM, Anonymous sonja

    I have this book too ... and have tried it on occasion. I love working through this avenue of prayer. It really frees me to pray without ceasing throughout the day ... I'm not sure how, but it does.

  • At 6/09/2007 10:18:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    Very creative...I like it.

  • At 6/10/2007 06:21:00 AM, Blogger Anne

    Sonja, I know what you mean about how it frees you to pray without ceasing through the day. It seems to help my brain keep its focus on those I'm praying for. I leave it open on my kitchen table and every so often God just seems to beckon me to add someone new to color in and pray for.

  • At 6/10/2007 08:40:00 PM, Blogger Linda

    This makes me wish I could draw. I'm still working on squares, circles and stick figures. :-)

  • At 6/11/2007 04:31:00 AM, Blogger Kathryn

    I'm like Linda, and struggle with drawing - but the concept is really attractive, not least because one of the most profound prayer experiences I've had involved being invited to draw with the "wrong" hand (and so with no expectations of artistic success) something to reflect my response to a retreat day.
    I definitely need a touch of life and creativity in my prayers at the moment - do hope the book is available in the UK.

  • At 6/11/2007 09:43:00 AM, Blogger Janice

    Anne, I love your doodle/drawing/prayer work of art! I have never done this but can see how it could help engage one's 'entire self' more and I think I will try this! I used to know a girl who did this sort of thing, this was maybe 12 years ago or so....she would then hang her 'art' around her apartment,sometimes on the inside of cabinet doors - places where she would see them during her normal routine. I thought it was great and I borrowed the idea in a way myself, though not the coloring/prayer part...but I would put certain scriptures on paper inside my kitchen cupboards or inside my bathroom medicine cabinet. I think I will go back to that but add in prayer art. Thanks for sharing this!

  • At 6/11/2007 10:47:00 AM, Blogger Anne

    Oh, I meant to make the point that you don't have to be good at drawing! The author is a math teacher who loves color and doodling. So art skills required - just markers and prayers!


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