During Lent the SPACE (Silence Prayer and Contemplative Encounter) team have shared reflections and resources to help us to make space to be with God. This week Nicola is sharing some ideas for praying without words.
Sometimes we find it is a challenge to sit still and stay focused on prayer. In the silence we find our mind wondering and our body complaining. We want to pray but the right words seem to escape us. Sybil Macbeth, the author of Praying in Colour, suggests that it can be helpful to use visual and concrete ways of praying. Through doodling or drawing prayer becomes a visual and kinesthetic discipline engaging our bodies and our minds. This lent I have used Sybil Macbeth’s Lenten Calendar alongside my daily bible readings. Her helpful guidance is to read the meditation for the day and select a word that jumps out at you. Write the word in the space. Meditate on it as you draw and colour around it. Let it enter your heart and mind. Ask God what you need to hear from the word. Think of each mark of the pen or stroke of a coloured 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. I have also used this approach with some simple slow-stitching. Using the rhythm of hand stitching to enable the quiet rhythm of prayer as I reflected on this terms theme of TRUST. The accumulation of words on the paper or stitches on the fabric creates an emerging tapestry of your spiritual journey. This is not art that will be judged as good or bad by others, it is a creative connection with God, and whatever you create it is always good enough for him.