Praying in Color

About this prayer practice:

When multiple friends and family members received ugly and scary diagnoses, Sybil MacBeth found herself exhausted by the words of her prayers and stymied by a lack of focus. One summer day, she retreated to her back porch for a session of mindless doodling with a basket of her favorite colored markers. She drew a shape, put the name of a friend inside, and added lines and color. She drew another shape with another name and added detail and color. When the page was covered with designs and names, Sybil realized she had prayed. The action of drawing was a wordless offering of friends and family into the care of God. The page of drawings became a visual reminder to pray.

I like to think of “praying in color” as my 2 Corinthians 12 prayer form: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This prayer practice came to me through my weaknesses: I can’t draw; I fumble for words; my mind wanders; I can’t sit still. When I “pray in color” I turn my faltering words and my worry over to God.

If you are word-weary, stillness-challenged, easily distracted, or just in need of a new way to pray, give “praying in color” a try. Men do it, women do it; teenagers do it; and children do it. All you need: paper, a black pen, colored markers or colored pencils.

Simple instructions:
1. Draw a shape.
2. Put the name of a person for whom you are praying inside the shape.
3. Add lines, squiggles, and dots.
4. Add color.
5. Think of each stroke of the pen and each daub of color as a moment of prayer.

No words are necessary; no artistic skill is necessary-only a desire and a longing for the presence of God.




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