This year for lent, I am trying to explore various forms of prayer. I love the idea of prayer: talking to God, listening to God. But I’m not very good at it. Often when I sit down and start to pray, my mind begins to wonder. Instead of actually praying, I usually end up making a to do list for the day, or wondering what in the world that noise in the playroom was and if I should go be a mediator between Thing One and Thing Two.
I bought a book a few weeks ago called Praying in Color by Sybil MacBeth. I’ve read the book and done a few colorful prayers, and it is right up my alley! It’s really perfect for anyone who likes to doodle. And after doing one, I feel like I’ve paid more attention than in my usual try-to-put-my-thoughts-into-sentences prayer. When I’m praying in color, it’s easy for me to focus on one specific thing. You start out by drawing a shape. The shape may have some significance(like a heart if you are praying for a newlywed couple, or the shape of a pill if someone is battling an illness) or you can just draw a random shape. Then you add the name(s) of the person(s) for whom you are praying. Then you can color it in, and add dots, dashes and lines. While doing this, try and focus on that person. Don’t worry about forming coherent thoughts or trying to verbalize a prayer. Let each penstroke be a prayer. And then throughout the day, try to visualize the shape you drew for Person A and say a quick prayer for that person. If you drew a pill shape and then go to take your vitamins, pray for Person B. It may seem kind of silly to you…I don’t know. But I’m a visual person, and it helps me. And its something I can do while my kids are in the room because I zone out(like I’m not able to do while praying “traditionally”).
**Want to try praying in color? Get the book here!**
This morning I really wanted to do a color prayer. However, Asa apparently didn’t want me to. 🙂 Although I can do it while the kids are in the room, I can’t do it while I’m holding one of them. So I strapped him on in my sling and went off to do the laundry, hoping to get back to the color prayer before our playdate this morning. But as I began to pull the laundry out of the dryer, I thought: Why not make doing laundry into a prayer time? So as I would pull out Carter’s shirt or Lydia’s pjs, I would pray for each of them. When I pulled out a pair Marshall’s work pants, I prayed that God would give him wisdom with a particular patient’s issue. With Asa’s bib, I thanked God that he doesn’t have reflux. Folding Carter’s socks(which doesn’t take long, I know), I thanked God that eventhough his feet are abnormal, he doesn’t seem to be bothered by that. And with Lydia’s dress, I prayed for the day when I’d see her in a wedding dress instead of little pink dresses with butterflies. And I prayed for the person she may one day marry. Each piece of clothing went like that: one piece of clothing, one quick prayer.
So what today began as a Lenten prayer became a “lint”en prayer. Without looking for new opportunities to pray, I’m not sure I would have found God in the laundry basket.