can creating a piece of art also be a form of prayer?
We are created in the image and likeness of God. This
means that we are co-creators with God. Creativity is
part of our DNA and can take many forms. Art, or visual
images, is one form of creation that not only allows
us to express our personal creativity but also allows God to
work through the process. I have found that many, many
times in prayer, words are not enough. I need silence
and I need another means of expressing the inexpressible in
my heart. There are also times when I need a tangible
way of listening to God. I have found that visual prayer fulfills
In this form of prayer, it is not so much that we think
things through and create a piece of art that expresses a
prayer. Rather, we allow art to be the means of communication
between God and us. The intention of the act of creation is
to open one's heart to listening to God and allowing God to
speak through the images that result. In this way, art becomes
the means of prayer.
Is this a prayer practice that is best suited to experienced
not by any means. This practice is for anyone with an open
heart and a willingness to explore their relationship with
God. I have found that those who are not experienced artists
have an easier time allowing the prayer process to happen.
The one thing that is critical in this type of prayer is to
let go of personal control over the end results. Experienced
artists, because of their longtime training and practice,
have a very hard time doing this. For them, the end result
is extremely important. I know this from personal experience.
To let go of this focus requires such a great desire
to experience God that the ego gradually begins to
release the desire for results and allows God to do the work.
is needed to get started?
started is really very simple. All you need is blank paper,
crayons and a yearning for God. Of course there are other
materials that can be added or used, but you don't have to
wait until you have them to begin. I know that this sounds
very simple and childlike, but it is precisely this simplicity
that allows for a freedom of creative expression without the
pressure of creating a "work of art."
if someone is worried about how "good" the art will
is a question I get all the time, and I have to work
hard to get people to overcome this worry. For those
who have not done any artwork since they were children, or
who were led to believe that their art was not up to
standards, there is a great fear of not being able to do something
"good." Many who are unsure of their artistic ability
tend to compare their visual prayers with others', and in
doing so get discouraged and criticize themselves.
is never helpful or productive to compare one person's visual
prayer with another person's or to critique a particular
image. Each person is unique and each visual prayer
is unique. This entire prayer practice is based on the premise
that one is asking God to speak to them through visual images.
It is not intended for the person who wants to plan and create
their own image. If this prayer process is approached with
the intention of allowing God to speak through images,
then the ego is removed and there is no need to concern one's
self with the results. The visual prayer is God's doing.
It doesn't matter if the result is a bunch of scribbles or
a beautiful image. It is God's message to you.
Is all artwork prayer?
think that all artwork has the potential of being a prayerful
experience, but I do not think it is always prayer. Art
can be created for many reasons: to express feelings, to capture
an image, to make a statement. There are times when I create
a work of art that is the expression of a prayer or records
an experience of God. But it is not prayer itself. I have
found in my personal experience of creating art and exploring
various means of prayer, that it is the intention that is
important. If one approaches a creative act with the intention
that the act of creating is prayer, it makes a difference
in the experience and the outcome. Visual prayer is not the
record of an experience of God, it is an experience
with and through God.
How can people best use your book?
book is divided into two sections. Part One gives a background
and explanation of Visual Prayer and the techniques involved.
Part Two includes prayer exercises based on a specific topic
and designed to lead one through the various techniques
in a variety of means. I suggest reading Part One before beginning
the prayer exercises in Part Two. Then, explore the prayers
and prayer techniques in Part Two in whatever way seems best
might stay on a particular prayer technique presented in a
chapter for a while, or you might work through each chapter
and then go back to those prayer techniques you find most
rewarding. Allow God to lead you though in the manner that
is best for you. I would also suggest that you find a trusted
friend to share this experience with. Seeing your prayer from
another person's perspective is very rewarding and insightful.
The main thing that I would suggest to people using my book
is to relax, play, and enjoy the unique time with God that
visual prayer provides.
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