There are a number of ways pray using art as a vehicle, but those whose books I’ve read or those I’ve talked to follow a similar but flexible format. My favorite book that tells how to do it is Prayer of the HeArt. It’s not full of pretty pictures, but the writing is sincere, well written, and helpful. It’s also a good reminder that it is not about making good art, but allowing God to speak to us and through us using visual media. This process was confirmed in a workshop I attended this summer with facilitator Anna Elkins: “Eyes of the Heart.” hearteyes.wordpress.com
I thought it might be good to go through the basic steps of visual prayer that I generally go through. So here they are:
Preparation: get drawing/art materials & sketchbook ready
1. Be still, close your eyes & be aware of how you feel
2. Focus on God, begin a dialog with Him and ask Him to speak to you
3. Be open and listen for revelation
4. When you feel ready begin to draw/doodle what hear/see/feel on one side of open sketchpad (on the left side if you’re right handed and on the right side if you’re left handed). Let go of control and let God lead.
5. When you’re finished, look at the artwork, listen to what God is saying to you and write on the opposite page what you see/hear God saying to you through it.
· Don’t push your own ideas or expectations on the artwork. It is not about making good artwork. It is about listening and communicating with the Lord using a visual language.
Some various techniques/ideas that can be used:
· With eyes closed scribble how you feel; open them at any moment you feel led and continue drawing if desired.
· Draw a circle and then begin
· Paint/color, & then draw on top
· With eyes closed scribble to music. Open your eyes, (or not) as you feel led
· Meditate on a passage of Scripture (Lectio Divino) and/or prayer/s of the Saints while drawing
· Incorporate words or phrases into the visual portion of your prayer
· Sculpt in clay or wire
I’m also putting these steps on a page if you want to print out a copy to refer to for personal use.
Here are a few pages from my prayer journal. They definitely reflect my state of being, some happy:
Some reflecting struggle…