Last Friday the editor of alive magazine sent me an assignment — and the topic is the most interesting one I ever received from them! It already changed how I experience God and the world, and I haven’t even interviewed my experts yet.
There’s a message in this for you, too. An echo of connection, a reminder that everything in your life is happening for a reason. There is a purpose to all the madness and “randomness” and even the pain…even when you can’t connect the dots.
Before I tell you what the subject of the article is, let me share how it’s already affected me.
Inhaling lavender, exhaling joy
On Monday evening I was at my Sounds of Silence contemplative prayer group (which I mention in Freedom From Your Pain – Echoes of Prayer). We start with 15 minutes of cozy candlelit silence, which is a wonderful way to enter the presence of God.
This Monday was different, though. Instead of my usual “Yahweh” breath prayer I imagined God as a lavender color surrounding me. I breathed in deep, feeling His warm purple glow enter my lungs. I breathed out, imagining sharing His peace and joy with others. I breathed in again, this time down to my knees. I breathed out slowly, imagining spreading compassion and warmth the surrounding neighborhood. I breathed in again — more lavender, please! — all the way down to my toes.
I had no idea where this came from. Who breathes in lavender as a form of prayer, for Pete’s sake?
Then, as she does every week, our group facilitator gave us a 20 minute teaching on a different type of contemplative prayer. This week she said she learned something new. Instead of focusing on a word or Scripture when you pray meditatively, consider using an image to ground and center you. Most breath prayers are words or phrases such as “Come, Lord Jesus” or “Peace” or “The Lord is my Shepherd.”
When the facilitator encouraged us to use an image instead of a word, I remembered my lavender breath prayer. I decided to try it again — but this time I had external affirmation that I wasn’t losing my mind 🙂
Inhaling gold, exhaling love
After the teaching, our facilitator guides us through a 20 minute prayer practice. I imagined God as a rich golden color, surrounding me with warmth, power, light and healing. Every breath I took was aimed at a different part of me: fingers, hair, nose, heart, stomach, ears. It was like taking a bath in the Holy Spirit.
This type of breath prayer — inhaling color, exhaling Spirit — is an incredibly easy and enjoyable way to pray without ceasing (as Paul encourages in 1 Thessalonians 5:17). I like it even better than my Yahweh breath prayer! The colors change, depending where I am. When I’m walking in the forest, I inhale God’s mossy greens and autumn reds. When I’m walking in the rain, I inhale misty silver and foggy platinum.
When you have eyes to see, you see God in color.
I love “praying in color” because there are no words. As a writer, I work with words all day long — and I love it. But as a child of God, I delight in colors, views, tastes, scents and sensations!
Which brings me to the article and you…
Color Therapy is the subject of the article alive magazine asked me to write. I haven’t even started researching the topic, much less interviewed color practitioners or art therapists. But, clearly, color was on my mind when I went to my prayer group on Monday. It wasn’t until the end of my prayer group — when we talk about our experience — that I realized the connection between the article and praying in lavender.
That’s when I remembered how interconnected life is. God is weaving our lives together, even when we can’t see the threads. Sometimes we look back and clearly see His fingerprints on situations, people, places, and things. More often, I think, we look around and all we see is life in shambles. Pain, grief, confusion, loss, shock, hopelessness.
If we remind ourselves that God really is weaving all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28), then we can find His golden fields of joy, green pastures of peace, blue oceans of freedom. If we learn how to linger in Jesus’ grace and gentleness as we move through the day, we won’t be so bothered by the troubles, trials and tests of time.
How do you dwell in God? Are you different because of Jesus? What space do you make for the Holy Spirit to show up in words, prayers, colors, scents?
Regardless of how you pray — or even if you believe in Jesus or God — take time to listen. There is a Presence bigger and stronger than what you see in this world, and that Presence is powerful. That Presence knows you exist and is trying to get your attention.
If you can’t pray in words to God, imagine yourself surrounded by a warm gold or lavender hue. Breathe in the love, joy, freedom and healing that you so desperately need. Breathe out gentleness, acceptance, and peace.
Praying can be as simple as inhaling and exhaling. Look at you — you’re a natural! It’s like you were created to talk to and walk with God…in living, breathing color.
With His love,
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