I don't know about you, but sometimes when there is a major tragedy, I don't know how to pray. This week, we've read about the explosions at the Boston Marathon set intentionally. We've read about the explosion in West, Texas - not intentional but killing and hurting many people. We've read about an explosion set in a coffee shop in Iraq killing 27. When did it get to be that you cannot run a race without the fear of violence? You cannot drink a cup of coffee without wondering if the next customer ordering a Skinny Latte is contemplating what it will be like to blow you up? It is overwhelming. The state of the world can be overwhelming.
Sometimes, I just want to turn the news off. Close my eyes. Pretend that as long as things are ok at my home address, that is all that matters.
I struggle with prayer during these times. Actually, prayer is an ongoing struggle...but since Advent, I've been experimenting with different ways to pray. Started with my old stand-by of silence, psalms and writing. In the last month, I haven't felt as close to God as I've continued in my routine. Purchased a book called 50 Ways to Pray, and wow, that has been a great resource for just settling down my stirred up mind.
BUT, yesterday, I received a book called "Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God" by Sybil MacBeth. I know it sounds weird, but when you are practicing God stuff, sometimes you do weird things. Anyway, this book is about using colors and drawings (doodles really) to create prayers. I tried it this morning, and would you believe 50 minutes went by before I remembered to check the time? It worked for me today. It was powerful for me today.
Maybe because with explosions and stuff, I just don't know how to pray. Comfort? Strength? Justice? With the state of our nation, I just don't know how to pray. Sometimes, I don't know the words to say or write...but these colors, these little sketches brought new words to my mind. New phrases. New questions. It worked for me today.
So, I splurged...bought brand new fully sharpened colored pencils (24 of them), markers, and a sketch pad. It was the same excitement I had as a child when I got a Crayola Caddy for Christmas. I had to remind myself that I was just starting, and I do not need to purchase the entire store.
I like to try different ways to connect to God. And, colored pencils are kind of fun. Maybe one day, I will post one of my visual prayers...