The colors of prayer

The colors of prayer

Each year on Ash Wednesday millions of people around the globe begin the 40-day season of Lent. During this time, folks intensify their spiritual lives by either giving up a worldly pleasure or by taking on focused practices of prayer or service.  Some people enter this time as a self improvement challenge and others just enjoy a playful countdown to Easter. I’ve found that a meaningful melange of approaches infuses my own journey with layers of intentionality.

A few years ago I stumbled upon Sybil Macbeth’s Praying in Color and the simple, playful practice of “praying our way through the forty days of Lent” spoke to my simple, playful heart.

Sybil says:

Think of each mark of the pen or stroke of a colored marker/pencil as a small non-verbal prayer. The goal of the doodling and drawing is not to make a beautiful work of art (though it often does), but to create a visual prayer. Drawing/doodling invites the body into the prayer, gives the eyes and hand something to do, and helps to focus attention on the word or person.

Praying on the calendar is a visual and kinesthetic Lenten discipline. The accumulation of words or peoples’ names on the calendar creates an emerging tapestry of your spiritual journey.”

So I created in my journal a calendar to color the days of Lent. First I created a key of intentions to which I could refer each morning and reflect on each evening. Next I used a template to create a honeycomb calendar to color in each day with colors and designs that linked (loosely) to the intentions key. This colorful prayer practice has become a way for me to carefully attend to my mash-up practices each year.

You are invited to create for yourself a calendar to prayerfully color the days of your Lenten journey.

What you’ll need

Journal or new blank sheet of paper

Colored Pencils

What you can do

Spend time thinking about what you need to subtract or add from your daily life to deepen your walk with God.

Create a key of intentions in a corner of the page

Divide the rest of the page into 40 shapes. These can be circles, squares, boomerangs, spirals or any shape that you feel like drawing and that can be later colored in.

(Alternatively you can download a lovely 2021 Lenten template from Sybil Macbeth’s Praying in Color website.)

Choose a time each day, preferably the same time each day, that you will sit with your calendar to contemplate, pray and color.

Invite the Spirit of the Divine to be in your thinking and understanding as you sit with what you are letting go and what you are embracing on your journey. Ask yourself, how are your practices helping you live more fully into God’s good creation. How we actively love creation – ourselves, our neighbors, the environment and even our enemies, is how we are loving God.

And remember, there is no right or wrong way to create and complete your calendar. You may create and color the shapes in any order, any color, any style you desire. The most important idea is that you give yourself the gift of time each day to sit prayerfully and put pencil to paper with purpose.

Peace be with you on your creative journey.


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