Read Chapter 2: Intercessory Prayer—Praying with Mandalas, pages 47–51

I have to confess that slowing down and creating quiet space for prayer is not something that comes easily for me. I have a tendency to pack my calendar too full and make my to-do lists too long—maybe you do too! But recently I have rediscovered the simple joy of coloring as a way to find peace. When I first started coloring again, it was just a fun way to relax and clear my mind amidst the craziness of life. But then I found myself longing for something more as I colored—something deeper. I asked myself if the act of coloring could become an act of prayer.

With this question in mind, I found that mandalas (or sacred circular designs) were especially helpful as a focal point for prayer—visual reminders to stay centered in God. With the help of a graphic designer friend, I developed four mandalas to be used with four different methods of contemplative prayer: lectio divina, intercessory prayer, Centering Prayer, and the daily Examen. Initially, I worried that using the same four mandalas multiple times would feel repetitive, but I discovered just the opposite. Praying with these familiar created in God's image mememandalas has become comfortable, relaxing, and inviting. Coloring them feels like having a cup of tea with a dear friend. I don’t have to reacquaint myself with the friend (or mandala) each time; instead, we can go straight into deeper, more heartfelt conversations. In the same way, when I sit down with my colored pencils and these familiar prayer mandalas, I immediately enter a deeper, more heartfelt conversation with God.

This month’s focus will be on the mandala design developed to facilitate intercessory prayer. If you are interested in learning more about the other three designs, take a look at the rest of my book, Praying with Mandalas, to explore them all in depth. But this month, I invite you to look more carefully at intercessory prayer and how to pray for others through the spiritual practice of contemplative coloring.

When I color and pray, I am better able to focus and stay centered on God. Praying with mandalas has provided a much needed breath of fresh air to my spiritual life, creating a tangible connection between my hands, my head, and my heart. Prayer no longer feels like something I should do but something I want and love to do. I hope that contemplative coloring can bring this same sense of spiritual renewal and revitalization to your own time of prayer as well. I invite you to color, pray, and draw closer to God as you create that sacred, quiet space where you can be with God.