About a year ago, I found a book called “Praying in Color” by Sybil McBeth. I’ve mentioned it in passing a few times on my blog, but today I saw this post by Pensieve Robin, whom I met at Blissdom, and realized that I’d never really given many details about it.
I am a usually a wordy person.
However, there are times when I just don’t know what to say or how to say it.
That happens to me a lot when I pray.
A lot of stuff happens to me when I pray.
My mind wanders off to my to-do list.
I find myself using grandiose language, and then feel silly
because…really? God don’t need big words. (Or good grammar.)
I drift off to sleep.
I say my tried-and-true rote prayers and check “Say Prayers” off my list.
I face a lot of hurdles when I try to pray,
and I’m willing to bet that you do, too.
So I did what any scholarly person would do when met with a problem: I researched.
What is the best way to pray?
How should you structure your prayers?
How do you going about setting up a prayer journal?
I read and read and read about lots of styles of prayers.
I saw what worked for other people,
And yet I struggled…
“Why isn’t this working for me?
I’m a good person.
I love God.
I want more of a relationship with the Almighty.
What’s wrong with me?
Why can’t I pray the right way?”
And it was that last question that really set me off.
Why can’t I pray the right way?
What is the “right” way to pray?
And it was then, after months of searching and seeking that I stumbled across this book.
An answer to my prayers…the ones I didn’t really know I was praying.
The answer to my months of seeking and researching and studying.
The author’s words struck me with a force that shocked me and comforted me all at once.
Her thoughts were like my thoughts:
I know about centering prayer, contemplative prayer, walking prayer, healing prayer, soaking prayer, meditation, praying in tongues-I took the workshops and read the books. I’ve dabble in all of them. But a short attention span and a proclivity for daydreams hamper my efforts…The words of my prayers and the words of my distractions collide in an unholy mess. On a good day, when words flow with more ease, I become so impressed with my successful articulation that I become the center of my own worship. It is not a reverent sight.
She goes on to talk about how “praying in color” happened to come to her. Sitting on her back porch with a pen and paper, she began to write the name of someone on her prayer list. She drew a shape around the name and continued to doodle and decorate, all the while focusing on that person.
In the Praying in Color Kids’ Edition, she wrote:
As she drew, she pictured each person in the presence and care of God. She used no words.
The drawing was the prayer.
It spoke to me.
This kind of praying?
This I can do.
During my recovery from my tonsillectomy, I have been very cautious about when and how I use my words.
When you the amount you can speak is decreased, the weight of your words tends to change.
(There’s a whole post hiding in that last sentence, I’m sure!)
I am so grateful to know that now, when it even hurts to think about speaking, God doesn’t need words to hear your prayers.
I share with you my prayer: