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.