Praying in Color

Today I offer a spiritual practice that I have found helpful. A way of praying when my mind is wandering and it’s hard to be silent.

From “Praying in Color,” by Sybil Macbeth

“Praying in Color is an active, meditative, playful prayer practice. It is both process and product. The process involved a re-entry into the childlike world of coloring and improvising. The product is a colorful design or drawing that is a visual reminder of the time spent in prayer.”

This practice is essentially intentional doodling. There is a process for it, but don’t worry too much about following it exactly, as long as you are expressing your thoughts prayerfully, you are doing it correctly.

The steps:

  1. Draw a shape on the page – a triangle, trapezoid, squiggly line, or imperfect circle. Write the name of a person for whom you want to pray in or near the shape.
  2. Add detail to the drawing. This might be dots, lines, circles, zigzags, or whatever your hand wants to do.
  3. Continue to enhance the drawing. Think of each stroke and each moment as time that you spend with the person in prayer
  4. Keep drawing until the image feels finished
  5. Add color to the picture. Choose colors that will stay in your memory, that you particularly like, or that remind you of the person for whom you pray.
  6. When the drawing and praying for the person completed, move to another space on the page. Draw a new shape or design to create a place for the name of a different person.
  7. Repeat the process of drawing. Add detail and color the same way you did with the first person.
  8. Add a new person to the prayer “list.”
  9. Add another person to the drawing.
  10. Draw with pen and colors until you have created an image or icon for all the people for whom you want to pray. Linger with the page in front of you. Let the names, images, and colors imprint themselves on your brain. Spend another moment with each person in silence or say a short verbal prayer or “Amen” if that seems appropriate. Take your page with you. Place it on your desk, refrigerator, or someplace where your eyes will scan it during the day.

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