Sitting with Jesus

Sitting still is difficult for me. Sitting still in prayer is a real challenge. So when I just want to sit with God and listen, I get out my paper, pen, and markers and start to draw. Here’s what often happens for me.

1. write God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Redeemer….whatever name for God seems right at the time.
2. move outward in a circular pattern with my pen around the name. The strokes might be arcs, circles, dots, zigzags, curlicues, loopy lines,….
3. add color.
4.  ask for peace, direction, hope.
5.  draw and get quiet.
6. daydream.
7. catch myself daydreaming.
8. look at and say the name in the middle of the drawing to refocus my prayer.
9. say “Thanks” for things in my life.
10. continue to draw and listen.
11. obsess about  something over which I have no control.
12. say the Serenity Prayer
13. mumble pathetic little prayers like “Help,” “Please,” and “When?”
14. get still again.
15. feel God’s peace.
16. daydream…..

For me prayer is a continuous ebb and flow between peace and chaos, calm and noisy thoughts, focus and monkey mind. In the midst of my struggle, I’m pretty sure that God is there cheering me on.

Circular Prayer

Here is a prayer I drew starting with the name “Healing God.” I drew tiny lines, dots, and shapes in a circular pattern so I could keep my focus on the name. I added peoples names and prayed for them. Sometimes my prayers had words. Sometimes I just continued to draw and imagined the people in the care of our Healing God. With the circular drawing and a large piece of paper, I can expand the drawing over more than one prayer time.

This kind of  circular drawing is often called a mandala. The 14th century Tibetan monk Longchenpa described a mandala as a “an integrated structure organized around a unifying center.” In the prayer doodles I draw, the unifying center is God.