June 21, 2012

Praying in Color and Lectio Devina, too!

I have found a new wonderful way to pray. I might be coming a bit late to the game on this, but I am just grateful I have found my way. When I was at the Laity Lodge last week Lauren Winner taught on 6 methods of prayer. One of which was "Praying in Color," by Sybil MacBeth, I thought I hadn't heard of this before but quickly remembered that my friend Holly B. gave me a scripture that she had prayed in color for me many weeks before. She had written out a scripture for me that she was praying for me, but it wasn't just written, it was filled with beautiful color and design. As Lauren spoke on this I was SO excited. I just pulled my iPhone right out and ordered it from Amazon so it would greet me at my door shortly after my arrival home. The book is simple, and even comes in a couple other editions, such as "Praying in Color for Kids," and "Praying in Black and White." There are so many good ideas in the book of how you could use praying in color within your study, memorization of scripture and praying. I knew right away that this prayer method would fit right in with my love of artistic expression. I would quickly like to point out that just because I like artistic expression, does not mean that I am good at drawing or designing, but I can still love it. It doesn't matter if you are talented or not in the drawing and coloring dept., this book would be for anyone. The first of many ideas the book gives is praying for other people. Here is an example of one of my prayers earlier this week. I was praying for people who have blessed my marriage in the last several months. There are lots of names that are cut off here, important names, so many people who have loved Rob and I enough to pray for us and spend time with us, along with our sweet children who are the greatest gift of our marriage. We are so grateful to these people, it was such a gift to spend time in prayer for them. Once the prayer is done, then you can refer back to the prayer several times in the day. You can use the same page the next day  and embellish it with more names and designs, or you can start fresh.

Another way the book talks about using praying in color is to utilize this method when practicing Lectio (pronounced Lexio) Devina. This is a method of reading scripture not just for head knowledge and information gathering, but for transformation. One would choose a small amount of scripture, a verse or maybe a little bit more. Read the scripture, then write it out with the words large on the page. Read through the scripture on your page 5 or 6 times, or as many as you want, and allow the Spirit to draw you to the words that will jump out to you. Circle those words, then rewrite them on another page and spend time meditating on these words while doodling or coloring around them. Allow the words to sink in to your heart, then respond to God with questions or statements, positive or negative, and write those statements on the page. Then when you have chewed on the scripture an ample amount of time you can just sit with God in silence as though you have just had an intense conversation and enjoy the quiet of being still with each other, allowing your mind to just rest in God's love and goodness.
The purpose of praying in color is not to make a pretty picture but to keep you with the prayer and thinking on the persons you are interceding for, or thinking on the words of scripture for a lingering time. When we pray, often times we will go through our list and be done in less than a minute or two, but this takes a bit longer and we are covering the persons in prayer even longer, their names are being lifted to the Father in a way you would savor a good meal, not just running through the drive thru for Taco Bell.

I have struggled with the practice of Lectio Devina as it is difficult for me to stay with the same verse for 5-10 minutes for the practice. This method of prayer has given me a door to Lectio Devina that opens the practice up to me in a powerful way. I have these words in my heart and carry them with me through the day and for days after, "chewing on the word," as Eugene Peterson refers to Lectio. It has been a great blessing.

I want to point out that this is not a feminine prayer method, males and females both are blessed by this. Laity Lodge gave us these nice art books to take home for our continued practice of Praying in Color, and while we were there they let us use some colored markers, but anything would work. Regular crayons, colored pencils, markers, I have some art sticks that I am using right now just because I already had them at home. Markers are nice because they don't smudge and are bright, but whatever is in your junk drawer is great to use. You don't need an art book either, the author of the Praying in Color says she buys lined notebooks when they are on sale, you can do this on the back of an envelope, on computer paper, in your daily journal...

I would love to hear from you in the comments if you have anything to add to this practice of prayer, any ideas or your experiences.

Grateful and blessed.


Amber Joy said...

I have never heard of this, but I LOVE it! I am definitely going to try this and lift up the names of the missionaries we have met on this trip!