The following blog is re-posted from Karen Harwell, CBF Missional Congregations Associate and a recent graduate of CBF Partner McAfee School of Theology.
Praying in Color* — I’d done it before in class at McAfee and one morning at a CBF conference. I thought I knew what to expect when encouraging our new ladies prayer group to practice it one night. We agreed it would be a light-hearted break during what we were calling our new “Adventure in Prayer.” The plan was to introduce, experience, and de-brief one prayer practice or posture each month in which most of our group had not participated before. We’d practiced lectio divina the month before and planned both a trip to walk a labyrinth and a group examen for future meetings.
We were eager to “color” that night, agreeing to pray for our church that evening. We were experiencing the conflict, pain, and uncertainty of transition. We wanted to believe in the future—in renewed unity of mission, in increased energy and verve for ministry, and in God’s direction and blessing—but admitted it was often hard. We knew prayer was needed.
We giggled in a moment of awkwardness as we started—after all, we were grown adults (none of us with any exceptional artistic talent) who were drawing child-like pictures. Each of us chose individual crayons and colors with care. We pondered what to draw, several of us getting off to a slow start. But as the music played in the background, we began to color and pray in earnest.
As I finished up my drawing, I sat and watched the rest of the group continue to draw. I watched how the colors moved from drab and dark to bright and beautiful as God moved us individually and corporately through uncertainty, anger, and grief toward healing and hope. The pictures were as varied as the personalities in the room. But all shared a few common themes—healing, restoration, renewal, and hope!
As we debriefed our experience together that night, the unanimous cry was to try this again. I breathed a sigh of relief that the experiment had gone well (phew!) and a prayer of thanksgiving for the trust these ladies put in a seminary student’s ministerial skills; but more importantly I breathed a prayer of joy as God renewed hope in each of us.
*For additional information on Praying in Color, visit: http://prayingincolor.com/.