Earlier this year I was chatting to Gail about a new discovery I had made – Bible Journaling. We had a long conversation about prayer and how we both struggle with more traditional formats. For me, Bible Journaling was a way for me to spend time in conversation with God. A time when I can shut out everything else that’s going on and focus just on His Word. I’m a creative person and the best meditation for me is keeping my hands busy so this new discovery was a revelation! Gail shared with me her experience of colouring and how this focused her mind in prayer in much the same way.
“ Do you think if we ran a workshop people would come?” I said. “Let’s make it a course!” said Gail, “Alternative Ways to Pray”. And so the Alternative Prayer Course was born.
With a little help from the Diocese social media guru, Eve Powers, word quickly spread and we had 22 people sign up for the course from 6 different churches!
The course ran each Monday through June and over the month we all learned something new. I think it’s fair to say that every person who signed up for the course did so with Faith as they had no idea what to expect. We knew that not everybody would love every session as we all pray differently and after all that was the point of the course. But what we did find is that everybody came with a willingness to learn and try something new and everybody left with at least one new approach to prayer that they were comfortable to try at home.
We thank God for bringing us all together in fellowship and opening our minds to alternative ways to pray.
For those who missed the course, here’s a summary of what we covered:
A Bible journal is a hybrid diary where you keep both notes on your study of the Bible and a record of things that happen in your everyday life. Over time, as you analyse and study the Bible, you can apply what you've learned to your life experiences, which may make it easier to overcome difficult situations.
Specific Bible’s are available for use with journaling – usually with wide margins, but you can journal in any Bible. Some people are happy to write/draw/paint over the text – others prefer to stick to the margins or use separate paper to fasten inside. It’s entirely down to personal choice.
Bible journalers are documenting in words and pictures the messages they hear from God, testimonies in their lives, and creative worship of the Lord they love. Approaches to Bible journaling are as varied as artists themselves. Full-page illustrations and simple backgrounds, scrapbooking supplies and simple art supplies — the combinations and possibilities are endless! Some pages focus on a verse in the margins, or add a simple stick-figure doodle; other pages can be complex paintings or drawings representing ideas studied in verses on the page. There is no right or wrong — Bible journaling is all about the Bible journaler deepening their relationship with God.
Colour surrounds us all every second of our lives. Advertisers use colour to sell their product, artists use colour to provoke an emotion, so why can’t we use colour to help us pray?
Today we can obtain lots of different adult colouring books targeted at wellbeing, or download clipart pictures from the internet. We started by looking at the Celtic knots. Just looking at the complex pattern can leave us confused, just like life, but following one of the paths in the knot and colouring it in can turn the confusion into a wonderful pattern of our lives. Each colour represents a different part of our lives, all interwoven with one of the paths in the knot representing God who works though all our lives. As we colour it helps us focus our pray on that part of our lives, but not forgetting to thank God for all he does and just listen to his voice as we colour.
If the knot is large enough you might have space to write your thoughts, prayers or even part of a bible passage to help you focus. But again try to use different colours. Don’t think too much about which colour you use let your emotion pick it! Does your choice of colour change as you work through and hand over to God your thought and prayers?
There are no less than 34 mentions of clay/pottery in the bible! It’s a great metaphor for the shaping of our lives and how we can always start over afresh.
Working with clay can be therapeutic. It keeps our hands busy as we channel our thoughts and prayers. In our session we made prayer pots. We prayed for various people in our lives with every piece of clay, not forgetting ourselves as the base. The result was a complete pot that had God’s love embedded in every single layer that could continue to be used as a vessel to place our future prayers as a physical handing over to God.
Copies of the Instructions sheets followed during the session can be emailed on request.
Words in Psalms
Words are a powerful thing! They can encourage or destroy someone, heal or hurt, be said with love and understanding or anger and hate. Just changing a word in a sentence can change its direction from a collective to a personal meaning, so as we worked through a passage, prayer or song, we look at how we can change a word here or there to make it our own to help us pray and listen to Gods word.