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Articles and reflections to support your life and faith from pastors, staff, and members of St. Philip the Deacon.

Praying in Color

Article written by Amanda Berger. (This article was originally published in our Winter 2019 issue of Inspire Magazine.)

“Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.” -Psalm 42:7-8

Prayer, in its simplest definition, is a conversation between us and God. While prayer can take many different forms, one beautifully creative method of prayer is that of praying in color. Pastor Valerie Strand-Patterson first encountered praying in color when she was given the book Praying in Color by Sybil MacBeth. “I have found that praying in color is a deep joy,” said Strand-Patterson. “The method helps me stay with my prayer for a long time. In fact, sometimes an hour passes and it seems like just a few minutes.”

Praying in color is best described as doodling with a God-filled intention. It can center on any person or situation, offer prayers of gratitude or for intercession, or focus on scripture. There is no one right or wrong way to do it.

You’ll be surprised by how absorbing this prayer practice is, and the beautiful works of art that your prayers become.  Consider keeping your praying in color in a small journal or in a book so that you can revisit your prayers and see how they have been answered. Or, you may even consider giving your work of art as a gift to one for whom you have prayed.

“Sometimes we just don’t have the words to say, and each stroke of the pen can be a prayer, since God knows our hearts,” said Strand-Patterson. “I also use this method to meditate on scripture, read a few verses each day, and then pray in color around what word or phrase stands out for me.  Even on busy days, it draws me back to the practice.”

Pastor Strand-Patterson offers that if you are interested, she’d be happy to meet you for a tutorial. “My favorite method is to meet you at Caribou – I’ll bring everything we need – and at the end of an hour you will be an expert!”

Quick start guide for Praying in Color:


  1. Gather a few supplies. You’ll want a black pen, a piece of paper, and either markers, colored pens or colored pencils. These don’t have to be fancy—basic supplies are fine as you are getting started.
  2. While a private, quiet spot is best, praying in color can happen anywhere. Set out your supplies and then take a moment to center yourself with a few deep breaths.
  3. Begin with your black pen and start with God–or with whatever prompt you have, perhaps from a devotion or scripture reading. As you continue to enter into God’s presence, embellish the space around God’s name or your word. Then, write any names, situations or a words about which you want to pray. Add a line to connect this person or situation back to God. As you reflect and talk to God about the situation, keep your pen in motion adding shapes, swirls, dots, scallops—anything you can think of! Continue to do this with other people or situations as you spread your doodle across the page.
  4. Next, add color. Using your markers or colored pencils go back and begin to fill in with color and pray again for each item on your page. When you feel like there’s nothing more to do or add, then you’ve finished your prayer. Amen!

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“Don’t expect faith to clear things up for you. It is trust, not certainty.”

Flannery O’Connor