Drawing as Spiritual Discernment

 Spiritual discernment is about trusting the fact that all of us are made in God’s image and all of us have access to God’s call for our lives. – Parker Palmer, from the foreword to the special 20th Anniversary Edition of Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community

drawingThis exercise guides you in drawing as a form of prayer. You will need paper, colored pencils (or whatever drawing materials are at hand), and a flat surface on which to draw.

Take a moment to become settled and quiet. Draw slow, deep breaths. Bring the circumstances of your daily life into your meditation with you, taking time to identify any question or issue with which you may be wrestling. Wait in silence. If nothing specific comes to mind that you would like to reflect upon, get in tune with the general state of your being.

Read the following scriptural passage, or if you prefer, select another passage that you’d like to meditate with today.

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. – Isaiah 58:11

Read the words over and over to yourself, allowing them to sink into your body, mind, and soul. Eventually, but not necessarily, you might narrow in on one phrase, or consolidate the passage into a few words or even one word. As your text becomes part of you, you might close your eyes. Take as much time as you like to become centered, attuned, and still. Allow God’s presence to permeate you and your life situation.

Take out your paper and drawing materials. Express your feelings by the colors you select and through the movement of the pens. When you come to a stopping place, stop and look at your drawing for a while. Wait. Either continue drawing, or return to the scriptural passage and then go back to drawing when you feel ready – either returning to your original drawing or beginning on a new sheet of paper. Do not worry about what it looks like; the objective is to communicate with God from your center.

When finished, silently gaze at your drawing or series of drawings, that God may touch you through them.

If you feel so moved, you may write a few words that come to mind as you look at your drawing. You might translate your image(s) into a kind of poem or written prayer. Or you may feel complete and peaceful simply absorbing the experience and viewing the results of your prayer-drawing.

Take a moment to silently offer this expression to God.

Download this topic