Pray and Color Coloring Page Examples and A Giveaway

For those new to my website, my original book Praying in Coloring: Drawing a New Path to God teaches readers to draw, doodle, and color their prayers. It IS NOT a coloring book. Praying in Color invites people to create their own coloring/prayer pages.

Pray and Color: A Coloring Book and Guide to Prayer is due at the warehouse in about three weeks. It IS a coloring book with instructions about how to use the the coloring pages and templates as a way to pray.

Here are some of the coloring pages in the new Pray and Color. They are a mixture of designs with large open spaces and others with small intricate spaces. All of the pages below could be used for intercessory or gratitude prayers.

Pray and Color Collage Resized

Paraclete Press, the publisher, is offering a drawing for a free copy of the book for the next few days. Here is the giveaway page. If you receive this blog post via email or RSS feed you can go to my blog site to Share this with your friends on Facebook or via other social media. Thanks.

 

 

A Gold Plastic Crucifix

I grew up in the 1950’s in an almost-middle-class neighborhood of two-story asphalt-shingled cottages and bungalows. Many families on the street had at least five kids. My strongly Protestant family only had two kids—just my older brother and me. My parents slept in twin beds; all of the Catholic parents slept in double beds.

No one on the street had money to spare, or if they did, they spent it on things not visible in the driveway or on the front porch. Many of the families, however, did fork out the $8 plus “carfare” for a once-a-week maid. Our maid was named Fanny. She came on the streetcar from downtown Baltimore to the suburbs every Friday. She always wore a waist-down apron, smelled like the cheesy chips she kept in her pockets, and hummed all day long while she worked.

When I was thirteen or fourteen, my birthday fell on Fanny’s workday. I don’t know how she knew it was my birthday, but I do remember I was standing next to the family-room credenza when she reached into her apron pocket and handed me her gold plastic crucifix. “Happy Birthday,” she said. I remember I was surprised–both by her kindness and by the gift itself. The crucifix seemed important to Fanny, but the only thing I knew about crucifixes was that they were something Catholics had and Protestants avoided. My Catholic best friend and next-door neighbor had them in her house. Her parents had a bloody one over their double bed and Marian had one hanging from the bottom of her glow-in-the-dark rosary.

My parents thought crucifixes were wrong, maybe even idols. But when Fanny gave me my first crucifix, it did not feel wrong. Later in the day I showed my mother Fanny’s birthday gift to me. She confiscated it, saying something like, “You don’t need this.” Her intent was not cruelty, but a fear of most things Catholic.

Gold Crucifix

My relationship today with crucifixes is different than it was decades ago. I used to think holy religious practice was all about the correct thoughts, words, and beliefs in my head. But when words and theology failed me in my own prayers over a dozen years ago, I’m pretty certain God sat me in a chair, gave me colored markers and paper, and said, “Pray with your hands, your eyes, your heart, and your little child self. Get out of your head.”

Crucifixes, rosaries, prayer beads, candles–all of those religious objects I labeled as superstitious and idolatrous as a child and young adult—are centuries old practices to engage our whole bodies, senses, and minds in prayer. They involve touch and sight. When rosaries first came on the scene about eight or nine hundred years ago most people were illiterate. The faith was shared through oral stories and visual images. As someone who spends 90% of her time tossing words and ideas around in her brain, crosses, crucifixes, prayer beads, and colored markers enhance my appreciation of God’s Word and Story by providing a visual and tactile focus. When I look at them, I do not worship them. Scattered around my house they are flashing beacons in the midst of my chaotic and fretful thoughts to refocus my attention on God.

Crucifix collage

In retrospect, I wish I had protested when my mother took the crucifix many years ago. Fanny had given me something dear to her and it was dismissed. When my mother died and my father moved away from the house, I remembered the crucifix and searched in every drawer and behind every door of the credenza. But I never found it.

As a reflection of my changing theology and practice and maybe a little bit in honor of Fanny, I have several crucifixes in my house. One of them is at the end of a glow-in-the-dark rosary hanging on the lampshade next to my bed. It is the last thing I see before I go to bed. The glowing crucifix and Psalm 139:12 remind me that both the night and the day belong to God: “even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (NRSV)

And I am still keeping an eye out for a gold plastic crucifix to keep in my pocket.

Pray and Color: A Coloring Book and Guide to Prayer

“I am not an artist.” This has been my mantra for decades. But I do love to doodle and to add color to my doodles. A dozen years ago I combined my doodling with a desperate need to pray for my friends and started to “pray in color” by accident. My accidental way to pray became my regular, intentional way to pray and I wrote the book Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God (2007).

I figured if even I could doodle, anyone could. After leading more than 150 workshops and retreats, I have met people who are uncomfortable even doodling. But many of them like to color. So I drew some coloring pages with ideas about how to pray using the pages and posted them on this blog. They are in the Handouts section. In the past six months I drew 32 coloring pages/templates with about 30 pages of prayer instructions and the result is a “praying in color” coloring book called Pray and Color: A Coloring Book and Guide to Prayer. It will be available mid-May for purchase but can be pre-ordered on the amazon or Paraclete Press websites.

Here is the cover. I’ll post some examples of the templates in the next few weeks. Please Share this post with others. Thanks.

Note: I noticed there is another coloring book also called Pray and Color, so check the author before ordering. :)

Pray and Color Front Cover

 

Heart and Stripes Coloring Page

Below is a blank coloring page to use as a template for prayer and an example of a colored, finished version. I used the page for a birthday prayer for a friend. I wrote the words of a prayer from the Compline Service in the Book of Common Prayer on page 134.  Although intended as a nighttime prayer, it is one I say off and on all day long. I thought it was a good blessing for a birthday. “Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.”

To use this page as a template for prayer you can choose to pray for other people, pray your gratitude list, list your character defects, write words of adoration for God, make a forgiveness list, pray your own set of petitions…. Fill the spaces with color or write words or names in them. Let every stroke of color be an intentional stroke of nonverbal prayer. As a chronic doodler, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to add more lines, dots, and marks.

Click on the .jpg or .pdf version of the prayer to download the page. Make sure to download it first with the downward facing arrow and then print it. Feel free to make copies and share it.

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Hearts and Stripes Collage (1)

 

Back to the Basics of Praying in Color

Praying in Color started for me as a way to pray for others. Then it morphed into a way to give thanks, confess, complain, be with scripture, spend time with God…. These variations have all been helpful to me. But the most instinctual reason I pray is a gut cry for help with my own life and the lives of others. “Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee.”–Psalm 102:1 KJV

So here is one of those gut prayers to God for help, when my “cry” cannot even find the right words to say. First I drew a northwest to southeast curvy line and added two doodles with the name of God in them. Starting with God reminds me where to put my focus. Then I drew a doodle for each person. This is not intended as an art project. It is a collection of shapes, lines, dots, marks, and color to give my hand and eye something to do while I spend time with a person and offer them into God’s care. If words come to me, I pray them. In this prayer, I wrote them on the curvy line.

The visual prayer stays with me. Every time I look at the finished result, it reminds me to pray again.

Basic Prayer

 

Lenten Calendars 2016

Several people sent me their finished calendars for this past Lent. Pat Maier designed a template by drawing a cross, chopping it up, and using the pieces to create a pathway to Easter and resurrection. Here is Pat’s finished calendar; Connie Denninger (Vintage Grace) used the same template. Both chose a word each day to pray and mediate on.

Lent Calendars Connie and Pat 2016--1000

LInda S. and her adult daughter J each used a separate stained glass template and then also shared one alternating who drew each day. They used sharpie pens and colored pencils.

Here are their three calendars: Linda’s, J’s., and their cooperative effort. I love the idea that they sometimes started with words but the calendars are mostly wordless.
1) Linda choose five designs and repeated them. “Three of them represent the refreshing “water” of the spirit, the “cross” roads of decisions we encounter daily, and opportunities for growth. (Though I have no idea exactly what the other two represented).”
2) In J’s template she ” focused on the quotation from Michael K. Marsh’s Lenten 01/28/16 blog I Don’t Want To Do Lent This Year https://interruptingthesilence.com/2016/01/28/i-dont-want-to-do-lent-this-year/.
3) In the shared template they alternated days and drew what “spoke” to them that day color and design-wise.

Linda S and J Collage

Bev W also used the stained glass template.She read several devotions each day and then came up with a word for daily mediation.

Bev Wicher Calendar (1)

This is another pair of calendars from Linda S and J using the spiral template. Inside each circle J wrote a short prayer–the words spilling on top of each other–from many sources including prayer books, songs, and websites. The margins in between also have prayers written. See if you can figure out what’s on the second calendar.

Piral Lent 2016 Linda and J

Thanks to Pat, Connie, Linda, J, and Bev for letting me share these wonderful calendars and the Lenten discipline they represent.

 

Lenten Calendar Templates 2016

Using a calendar template is one of my favorite ways to keep a daily discipline during Lent. It doesn’t involve making false promises to myself about sitting down for thirty minutes a day and praying/studying/meditating and then feeling guilty when I fail. On the calendar template I choose a word or name for each day, write the word in a space, and draw or doodle around it. As I draw I let the name or word fill my heart and mind. If words come to me I pray them. If not, I am quiet. I think of each mark or stroke of color as a wordless prayer. This process can take three minutes or thirty. Each day is different. I love the accumulation of words or peoples’ names in a visual tapestry.

Below are four templates to choose from in jpg or pdf form. There are 46 spaces which include the weekends. Some calendars are dated; others allow you to choose your own placement. Since the spaces are small I take the template to a copier and enlarge it (129%-132%) to an 11″x17″ piece of card stock.

Here are some ways to use the calendar:
1) Use a daily book of Lenten meditations. Read the mediation for the day and select a word that jumps out at you.
2) Follow a daily lectionary and choose a word from one of the Scripture readings.
3) Pray for a person each day.
4) Use nouns or adjectives that describe the nature and character of Jesus: savior, redeemer, healer, radical, obedient, forgiving,….
5) Read the same Psalm each day and choose a daily word. Psalm 51 is a penitential Psalm with lots of juicy (sometimes depressing) words in it.
6) Use the Confession from the liturgy and choose a word from it. Here is the Confession from The Book of Common Prayer:
Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.
7) Just draw. If words come to you in your silence, write them in the space.

Click on .jpg or.pdf below the template you want.* Download the template first, then print. (If you print without downloading, you will get a version with the website info written on the top and bottom of the page.)

Lenten Templates Collage 1 Resized

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Lenten Calendar Templates2 Resized

.jpg     or      .pdf                                                                          .jpg    or     .pdf

*Thanks to Cindy O. (Mostly Markers) for her box calendar template and to Hilary Ann Golden for the spiral template.

Here are some examples of last year’s completed templates:

Lent 2015 Collage Resized

Thanks to Gwyn Varozza, Linda S. and J., Martin Boardman, and Linda S. and J. for sharing their 2015 calendars.

First-Week-of-Advent Calendars

As a strong P (Perceiver) on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator I have trouble making decisions, especially when there are so many options to choose from. Perceivers never have enough data. Some new piece of information confuses them and keeps them from making decisions. Someone once told me it was a good thing I said a young, impulsive “Yes” to marriage; if I had waited I never would have been able to make a decision.

When it comes to Advent, there are so many ways to practice or celebrate it. “Which Advent calendar to use?” “Which book of meditations to read?” “Purple or blue candles?” “Which books of Scripture to read?” “Which organizations, charities, and causes to send our annual gifts to?” All these questions and choices befuddle me. I realize these are First World privileges and not of major importance in the scheme of things. But these practices do provide a framework for my prayer/spiritual life. Much to my delight, I made a few choices before the third week of Advent. I chose purple candles, two Advent calendars, and one book of meditations.

The calendars below show the first eight days of Advent. On the calendar with the round stickers I wrote a line from God is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The book has reflections by Bonhoeffer on Advent, a “bonus” piece of writing by him or another theologian, and a relevant Scripture passage. It is short and manageable. Much of the writing is from Bonhoeffer’s time in prison before his execution. Bonhoeffer wrote to a friend, “Life in a prison cell may well be compared to Advent. One waits, hopes, does this or that, or the other—things that are of really no consequence—the door is shut, and can only be opened from the outside.” (p.X, Editor’s Preface) I like to look back at the thoughts accumulating each day. It feels like a spiritual This is the House That Jack Built—the Mother Goose rhyme where something new is added with each repetition of the rhyme.

Advent 1 2015 Circles

The second calendar is for intercessions—prayers of concern and gratitude for people in my life. This visual prayer list keeps the names within eyeshot of me and reminds me to pray for them–with or without words.

Advent 1 2015 Trees

Using Advent Calendars–Insights and Learnings

It’s not too late to count up to Christmas with an Advent calendar. Templates are available here

My friend Cindy O gave me permission to doodle about 30 years ago. She encouraged me to enjoy the process of moving pen and colored markers on paper and to forget about the end result. I have been a doodler ever since. Cindy has joined me in praying Advent calendars since 2008. Here is her 2008 calendar followed by a list of things she learned about the process. Do not be intimidated by her drawing ability! My calendars never look this good.

Cindy Advent 2008 export 800 max

At first I was apprehensive with all those little boxes on the blank calendar. How would I fill them all up? Would I run out of things to draw? Would I ruin it halfway through week 3? But something emerged every day. And I didn’t ruin it.
• The boxes seemed very small (1 3/8 x 1 5/8 inches), but they were very spacious. My note cards (4 x 6-ish) now seem enormous.
• The words and the drawings illuminated each other – Not “illustrating a word” or “labeling a picture,” as I would have predicted. The spaces have become icon-like for me, windows into someplace else. “We are leaving ordinary time” became true of the calendar.
• I loved seeing the themes and color patterns emerge. Candles for Sundays, blue and beige/yellow for Saturdays, large words to decorate, purple/red/pink, purple and blue, red and green, and brown making a comeback in week 3. The pictures are all very different from each other, but they go together somehow.
• Some days the words came first, and other days the drawing came first. Either way, choosing the words took me deeper into the Advent messages. I spent as much time there as on the drawings, reflecting on the words and the hymns, prayers, or scriptures they came from. Music is embedded too, because of the words.
• The drawing was right-brain, and the word choices were left-brain. Now they are fused together.
• I tried a lot of different techniques, some of them new, like the lace for the 3rd Sunday. The small size encouraged me to try it in a finished picture, even if I might not want it for a larger scale.
• They are all my favorites, and there’s not a single one that I want to do over. This probably ties back to the icon aspect of it. I didn’t expect that. I assumed some would turn out ugly. At the very least, I expected some would be nicer than others.
• I drew things I never thought I could draw – the pressed glass candlestick for the 2nd Sunday, the Nativity scene. And other things I never would have consciously decided to draw – “the Lord is near” with neon glow in week 4, the landscape in week 2, the “way” in week 1.
• Without the Copic markers, I wouldn’t have kept it going. I needed the reinforcement of how beautiful it looked. In the same way, I seem to need the beauty of words, music, liturgy, and space in worship. From my upbringing, I feel I shouldn’t need that so much, but I do.
• I did a lot of pencil layouts and sketching. But the drawings still look free. That makes me happy.
• I loved being able to scan & share with Sybil weekly as I went along. Never thought the scanner on the printer would get so much use.
• It was very soul-satisfying. Just the right pace. I am so glad I tried it.
• When I finished the Nativity drawing, I could feel the weight of 25 days of advent hopes and longings, all resting in that one scene. “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”
Thanks to Cindy for her insights about the calendars. Her website is Mostly Markers. You can follow her growing Advent calendar for this year on the site.