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.
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.
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.