Ways to Pray in Color
No artistic skill or prayer expertise is necessary. Whether you are a skilled artist or just a doodler, like the author, you only need a playful willingness to put pen and color to paper and an openness to God’s mysterious presence in your prayer time.
Pray for others or yourself. Start with a God doodle to center yourself or include a line of Scripture, a hymn, or poem.
A prayer for friends whose spouses died.
“To-Do List” Prayers
Instead of just writing down and ticking off the items on your to-do list, pray them. A dreaded call to the airlines to reschedule a flight due to illness requires documentation and a slog through the automated menu. The wait for your new license at the DMV promises to be several hours. A parent/teacher conference about an unhappy child looms in the afternoon. These “to-do” tasks are opportunities for headache and frustration or opportunities for patience and kindness.
Draw your own prayer doodles or use an already drawn template (click here) to write the tasks and doodle/color around them as you ask God to be with you during your daily agenda.
Despair prayers are the litany of things over which you have very little control, but you still worry and obsess over them. Get those obsessions down on paper; doodle and color around them. Rant for a moment, then drop the monologue. Let it go. Offer those worries to God and don’t pick them up again. If you continue to worry and obsess, go back to your prayer page, look at the names and things you have prayed about, and release them again into God’s care. Author Anne Lamott talks about having a God Box. She writes a name or issue on a piece of paper and then stuffs it into a box with a slit in it. She gives it to God; it is no longer hers to deal with. Doodling your despair is like having a God Box. It is a visual reminder that God is in charge.
Be specific. Think of those everyday, seemly insignificant things that give you joy: the tiny spider climbing up a houseplant, the color purple, the sunlight on a leaf, a dish of coffee ice cream, foam on your coffee… They don’t need to be important or permanent. Record them with a doodled prayer. Name, doodle, color, and give thanks. Drop your gratitude helter-skelter on your paper or use a calendar template or coloring page. Chronicling the specific things we love throughout the day is like learning to think in a foreign language. It is the language of gratitude.
Spending Time with God
Create some time for you and God with no agenda. Turning off your words and moving into listening mode can be difficult; but doodling prayer, i.e. praying in color, gives you something to do with your hands, body, and eyes while you practice silent-sitting with God.
Start with a verbal prayer or line of Scripture if that seems right for you. “For God alone my soul in silence waits; truly my hope is in Him.” (Ps 62:6 BCP). Then choose one of the many names for God—Holy One, Creator, Redeemer, Savior, Beloved, Almighty God… Write the name on a piece of paper and start to draw. Breathe, doodle, add color. If verbal prayers pop into your mind, pray them or write them down. If not, enjoy your quiet visit with God.
Memorizing scripture, studying a word, illuminating a passage in your Bible (Bible journaling), and lectio divina—praying scripture — are just a few of the ways to incorporate Scripture with praying in color. In the example below, doodling a line of scripture is a way to focus on specific words and to imprint the passage on your heart and in your mind.