For me, Morning Prayer time has a way of morphing into something it shouldn’t be: a long list of what I have to do that day.
I like to focus on prayer first thing because if I don’t the day takes over, and before I know it I am saying goodnight. But as I sit there thinking of friends, loved ones, and topics that need prayer, the dust bunny in the corner starts hopping my way, or the dog nuzzles my leg effectively spilling the coffee I had perched precariously on the arm of my chair. Noises and needs suck my attention, and soon I am not praying anymore- I am forming a plan of action for the day. Sighs…focus is not my thing…I wish it were. The only time I know of that I am completely focused is when I am crafting a piece of art. When I am creating something, my mind is fully engaged in that process and it is hard to deter.
Huh, I am able to focus – who knew?
Then it occurred to me, why not combine those two ideas: The thing I WANT to focus on, and the one I DO focus on.
So began my process of creating prayer art, a traveling war room of sorts. The idea is to engage in an artistic process, in this case doodling, while thinking about the subject of my prayer. This isn’t the type of doodling that produces an actual picture, it is more of a continual line that dips and folds itself around the page, sometimes forming legible ideas but mostly just keeping your hands and that particular part of your mind engaged while that inner part engages with God.
This type of journaling is particularly great for taking with you so that when prayer is needed, you don’t have to put it off till later. Just open up your journal page and doodle away.
This is what you will find in my traveling war room:
A journal – I chose a small one that will fit readily in a sack that I carry with me everywhere. Carrying such a bag is what will help you to make this practice a habit. And what more beautiful of a habit than art? I use the small dylusions journal by Ranger. It has a small pocket in the front that I can slip prayer requests into, or other pieces of ephimera or pictures that maybe belong to the person I am praying for and will incorporate at a later time onto the page.
A black ink pen – Anything permanent will do. I use a micron .05 or .08. It is a fine line, but not too fine, and anything that I do over it including watercolor washes, will not affect those line. A fine line sharpie will work if that is what you have. Start there!
Watercolor pencils – I choose 5 or 6 of my favorite colors to go on the road – my go-to’s. These are great because you can leave them as they are, or add water to create a beautiful wash of color to your prayer. My particular favorites are Derwent inktense, but use what you have, or start with something inexpensive to see if this is something you want to do.
Colored pencil blender – There are poly pencils and blender pens with a solvent. It is the best way to combine colors into a seamless transition or to get rid of the coloring lines created during that process. Look in the scrapbook section of the craft store for these. They are great to have, but not necessary.
Waterbrush – These are fillable tubes with a bush on the end. It is what you will use if you want to do the washes with your pencils. This way, you don’t have to carry bottles of water and jars with you.
All of these items will fit easily into a small pencil case (except maybe the journal 😉 so that you are never without your war room.
Here is a quick video of me creating a prayer page for one of my kids. I begin with some loopy lines, incorporating his name in there as well as some other loose doodling linked to the particular intention of the prayer (for instance a heart to ask for the Love of God to surround him). We will be discussing prayer doodles at a future date, but for now, use hearts or crosses, or anything else that comes to mind as you pray for that person.
I would love for you to leave a comment and share how you will use your prayer journal today. If you need an idea for a prayer doodle, ask here! I would love to share some ideas with you.
Remember: THIS IS WAR! Don’t let the enemy win the battle… engage in prayer.