Praying in a New Way: Praying in Color for Kids
Session presented by Kirsten Hitchcock at the Children’s Pastors Conference 2020
Write up by Tracy Reed, Swartz Creek UMC
I loved the introduction to this session: helping children to be saturated in the loving presence of God and deeply know the hope and love of Jesus.
Faith through practice starts with being with God. We need to be in community and have a place to be seen, known and feel like we belong. Being our authentic selves is important to children. We should be able to share with our children when we are sad and that it is ok. Our greatest struggles in life can be our greatest blessing to others.
Kirsten (the workshop presenter) shared with us that, “Play and art are an expression of the soul. Allowing children, a pathway of creativity is a way they find freedom. Children are able to make meaning through activity and play”.
Praying can be intimidating to children. Children can be shy and not want to share in prayer time. Praying in color is a new way to approach prayer time with children. Praying is talking and listening to God. This approach helps kids practice talking and listening to God while expressing themselves through art.
First thing you need for a praying in color session is setting up a comfortable environment. You will need an open space either at tables or sitting on the floor. If on the floor, use card stock for drawing. At least two leaders are needed. One leader needs to facilitate and the other one needs to be available to address any concerns. Have soft music available to play in the background. You will need coloring supplies like markers, crayons or colored pencils. You might want a white board or flip chart.
Explain to the children that we will be focusing our thoughts and feelings towards God at this time. Nothing that we draw or write is wrong. There are three things that we should be focusing on while we are doing our drawing prayer: listen to what is going on inside you, listen to God, and after our time of prayer we share and listen to one another.
Kristen says to start out with an Introduction to Praying in Color for Kids. Ask the following questions and write down their answers. What are some ways that we can talk and listen to one another? How is talking to God different than talking to people? How is talking to God the same as talking to people? Who can tell me what prayer is? What are the different ways we can talk to God? How do you listen to God? How do you know when he is talking to you? What are the different names for God that you know?
Communicate with the kids that our words can make great prayers but sometimes words are not there when we need them.
Now we are going to try another way to talk to God. Let them know you are going to show them how and then they will be able to do their own picture as a way to pray to God. First, draw a shape in the middle of your page. Then, write a name for God in the shape. Next, add detail to the drawing or add color. Then when you are ready move to another space on the page and draw a new shape or design. Put the name of another person you want to pray for. Add colors that remind you of that person. If you would like to add other areas for prayers and thanksgivings for yourself. Think of each mark as time you are spending with God in prayer. Keep quiet because we need to give time for God to speak to us. When you are done look at your drawings or doodles and the names you wrote and think about what you have included on your paper.
Kirsten said to start out with about 10 minutes and let the time grow as the children get use to the process. Include light instrumental music playing in the background during the drawing portion. Conclude the time with a prayer of thanksgiving and allow any of the children that would like to share what their prayers were with others in the group.
Kirsten shared with us a quote from Raisuyah Bhagwan which stated, “The creative and expressive arts have revealed therapeutic benefits for children regardless of the situation. It engages their senses, and art actually reflects children’s perception of themselves, others and the world as they experience it”.
I’m looking forward to trying Praying in Color with my children at my church in the near future.
Additional Praying in Color Resources:
Additional Praying in Color books by Sybil MacBeth are also available