Wednesday, June 6, 2007

What if...we prayed in color?

Our next series at church 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 (spiritual reading), and scripture memorization. I've never been good at memorizing scripture, so that's on my list to try as well. Meanwhile, I'm delighting in praying in a new way that's full of joy and delight!


Lori Arriaga said...

I love this idea! I have been sort of stuck in my prayers lately feeling like I need to do something different and I think I will have to try this. I can see how it can add a new dimension to your prayers and help you remember the person more. When I began to pray the scriptures for people it also helped me to remember the person I was praying for more as well as helped me memorize scripture.

Randee said...


Oh my goodness! This is spectacular. Leave it to you to share something to valuable. Here's the interesting thing...I have been tinkering around with the idea of doing a coaching unit on prayer. I've been reading the "classics" and modern works, too.

I can't wait to add this book to my resource list. Will you keep us up to date on your prayer garden? And, on how "praying in color" is deepening your relationship with God?

Anne said...

Oh goodness, Lori and Randee, you have no idea how encouraging you both are when I really need it! (Just a very stressful day today.) Anyway, Lori, I'm so glad you had the same surge of joy that I did. Honestly, I didn't know if the book would be that substantial in content - but it is. The author writes beautifully. Not that you *have* to have the book to start praying like this, but it's well worth it. And I'm so glad you loved the idea too!

Randee, I'm so glad that you think this is valuable - I wasn't sure what others would think! How wonderful that you're thinking about doing a coaching unit on prayer. I've walked a labyrinth before and found it a very spiritual experience. I've been reading up on that because I wanted to print out some finger labyrinths for our prayer garden. Yes, I'll most certainly keep you up to date on the prayer garden...and that will remind me to take pictures...and also on how it goes with my "praying in color". Gosh, I love you women. :)

Randee said...

Oh, Anne! I have in my sketch book a design for my backyard that includes a prayer garden with a labyrinth. Of course, it's all on paper but I'm feeling a nudge to try out my green thumb and make it a reality.

I had almost forgotten about it. Your post has reminded me.

I love you, too!

Anonymous said...


This is an amazing idea and truly inspiring. God is a creative designer - look at the world around us. This is just a great way to get in touch with HIS divine creativity.

Anne said...

Randee, wow....a sketch book with a prayer garden and labyrinth waiting to be born. How beautiful is that?! I was just reading again about the labyrinth inside the Chartres cathedral in France. It was built in the late 1100s -early 1200s. Those who couldn't make the pilgrimage would walk a symbolic journey to Jerusalem using the labyrinth.

Norka, I love your words about God being the "creative designer". Indeed. It's his world around me that often inspires and connects me so closely to him. I'm so grateful I ran across this little book; I never would have thought of this, and how joyful it is.

Anne said...

Here's a link to the article I first read that led me to the Praying in Color book:

Randee said...

Here's a thought:

We are the creation of the Creator to be co-creators.

What do you think?

Anne said...

Randee, I read once that women's hearts seem to find it easier to grow close to God because as mothers they are co-creators and their spirits respond to the Creator more easily. I don't know if that's true, but I can certainly understand the immense love that grows when you carry and bear a child being the tiniest bit similar to the love God has for us.

Randee said...

Yes, Anne. I liken this to be created in the image of God. God implicitly states (lest there be any controversy) that both men and women are created in His image.

Perhaps, if we took all of the wonderful characteristics of man and all of the wonderful characteristics of woman, we see but a glimpse of our we are made in His image.

Behold, the Creator!

Shalene said...

My goodness Ladies! I don't know how I missed this post, but had to go back and read it after reading your comments on today's posts. This post gave me chills! I'm going to have to find this book for myself. I don't draw well, but love to doodle, and I'm always trying to get an idea down on paper in illustration form. I'm going to start trying to do it while I'm praying too. So much better than placing post-it's on numerous walls and picture frames as reminders to pray for people or situations (an idea I read about that I was seriously considering- I think I'm embarassed to admit that.) I think it may be better even than my bathroom mirror and a dry erase marker. (That's what I use now- since it's the only room I can be alone in.) :) Love you ladies! You really lift me up! In Him---