Praying through Art
Paul's prayer in his letter to the Ephesians is perhaps my favorite succinct statement of his wisdom,
and it is my prayer for you, as well:
I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that [God] would grant you, according to the riches of [God's] glory, to be strengthened in power through [the] Spirit . . . , so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Now to [God] who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to [God] be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
--Ephesians 3:14-21, NASB
I invite you to set aside some quiet time to meditate with this passage through art. Collect whatever materials you wish to use--colored pencils, paint, pictures for a collage, or simply pen and paper.
Reread the prayer slowly and aloud a few times. As in the practice of lectio divina, don't try to analyze the text, but listen deeply to what it has to say to you in this moment. Notice if there's a particular word or phrase that stands out. What images, colors, or shapes do you see?
Begin to fill the blank page with body, heart, and mind fully engaged. Don't judge or critique your creation, but allow it to emerge and evolve without an agenda. The process may lead you in a different direction than you first anticipated. Let it take shape organically. If you become distracted, perhaps return to the passage or focus on the physical sensation of the materials in your hands.
When you are finished--when you feel a sense of completion or when your time has ended, not when you think it is perfect--offer up your artwork with gratitude. Remember that you are a co-creator of Love in this world with God.
- Fr. Richard Rohr