In a sort of New Year’s prayer inventory, I decided to reevaluate why I continue to pray in color. When I started praying in color it was unconscious. In the middle of a doodling session I just realized I was at prayer. The reasons I continue to do something are often different than why I started doing them in the first place. After several decades my husband and I are still married. But the reasons we are still together are probably quite different than the reasons we originally got married.
So here is why after almost nine years I still pray in color today:
- Using a pen, markers, and paper invites my whole body into the prayer. I don’t have to close my eyes, fold my hands and force my body to be still. The movement of pen on paper helps me to get still on the inside without necessarily being still on the outside.
- I don’t need words to pray. If words come while I doodle I don’t chase them away. Sometimes praying in color buys me time until words come. Sometimes it buys me time until inner silence and real listening to God come.
- When I started praying this way, I was praying for other people. Now I also use praying in color as a way to just be with God with no agenda. I draw as a way to focus and spend time with God. It’s also a good way for me to study and pray a passage of scripture, make a gratitude list, or make a confession.
- Praying in color is not the only way I pray, but it has given me a way to pray when words fail. It has freed me from the guilt of being a lousy pray-er. Or maybe God has set me free from that guilt. Matthew 6:6 in The Message Bible says it for me. “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.”
I don’t know why I haven’t ever commented before – but I just wanted you to know how much God has used “Praying in Color” to recharge my prayer life in the past 5 years. I use it on a weekly basis – if not daily. I’m slowly becoming a prayer dwell-er rather than a prayer popper like you discuss in the book.
I’ve shared your book with children, youth, and women’s groups… and it always leaves them smiling and praying.
So… thank you! Thank you for sharing such a personal part of your relationship with the Lord. Thank you for the beautiful reminder of Matthew 6:6 today!
I am going to try Praying in Color..I get distracted and think this will help me focus. Thanks for sharing..I am so excited:)
I’ve used your book for a couple of prayer exercises on retreats, and most recently with fellow chaplains during a time of spiritual reflection. I used a spiral, printed on card stock, with the understanding that they could decorate the spiral (like an image of The Holy, the nautilus) or they could write names and doodle on the spiral and then cut it out to make a prayer spiral that would move in the wind. I have to take pictures of what resulted and post them. :) It was amazing.
Thanks for spurring me to try a new way to pray… with my doodling fingers!
I’d love to see the spiral prayers. Let me know if you post them. Peace,