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Colored Prayer

During my time in Bethany Fellows, I developed a prayer practice for our twice yearly day of silence. It started with me sitting somewhere, if possible outside, and coloring. Usually a coloring sheet from Illustrated Ministry.

Completed coloring page with a sandy brown walkway going up the middle of the picture with the words "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me." Flames line the left side of the path, a couple flames are on the bottom right side. Green coloring to represent grass fills out the rest of the bottom two-thirds. Two mountains are in the top left and a tree is in the top right. The top edge is dark clouds with 3 lightning bolts coming down on the mountains and tree.

If I was in my church office, I would take a picture of the cabinet doors where I have taped each of the coloring pages I have done on various retreats. Instead, I'll settle for sharing this picture of the finished product from our Spring 2019 retreat.

During my last few retreats I started writing people's names in different sections of the picture. Then, as I colored each section, I would pray for person behind the name. Sometimes with specific words, sometimes just holding them in my mind and trusting that God knew what was left unspoken.

A small portion of the coloring page above showing colored flames and part of the colored mountains. The area are the flames is white except for the name "Dara" written in green colored pencil.

When I am carrying in my heart many names, many stories, many hopes and dreams and sorrows borne out of my care for and relationships with others, I have found this to be an active, intentional, and creative way to live into the words "I will pray for you."

This past Saturday I couldn't focus on the book I had brought up to the rocking chairs to read. There was a family gathering nearby which meant lots of distractions. So instead I pulled out my box of 100 Crayola Colored Pencils and my folder of blank paper and coloring pages. I borrowed a clipboard board from the office and chose a picture with a good number of open spaces.

With more intention than a simple coloring page normally calls for, I picked a color, wrote a name, took a photo, and filled in the space as I prayed.

Slowly, the white spaces became swaths of colors, a little extra dimension added to the flat image. Until all that was left was the expanse of sky in the background.

As I filled in the blue with wide strokes of the edge of the pencil, I prayed for myself.

Completed coloring page. "You forgive, you answer, you provide" is written at the top and colored in dark red. The scene below is a river going through green fields to a mountain with a waterfall. On the background on the right is a hill with vertical strips representing a field. In the foreground on the left are 3 fern leaves. On the right are spiky bushes in a lighter green, a rock, and a thin trunked tree. At the bottom is printed "Psalm 65 *" Written in red colored pencil in the bottom right corner is 9/5-6/2020.

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