Visual Faith (Bible Journaling and Praying in Color) is something that brings me closer to God. Praying in color makes me more aware of God’s presence in my life. Visual Faith helps me remember God’s promises and hold tight, steadfast, to them. Visual Faith (VF) is me listening to and then responding to the Holy Spirit.
I first learned about VF when I met our church district’s president’s wife, Connie Denninger, about two years ago. Right away, I was enthralled! I am very much so a visual learner and processor. I have to take notes in classes and write my thoughts out in order to think straight. I am also an artist (even though you do not have to be one to practice VF). Visual Faith appealed to my creative side instantly.
What really drew me in about Bible Journaling and Praying in Color (visit www.prayingincolor.com to see what it is all about) is how interactive it is. It wasn’t just sitting and reading or praying or even just writing. I was visually expressing my time with God in a way that was memorable. The color, the shapes, the words all came together as a significant reminder of my time spent with God. It was not about the finished product as much as it was about the amazing experience of the connection felt with the Holy Spirit during the process of creating.
It did take me a good few months, maybe nine, to find a flow, routine and define my style. Even though the focus is not on the end product, I had to be comfortable with how I create, know that God loved what I made and not compare it to anyone else’s creations. “This is my style, this is me,” I had to declare.
In the meantime, I shared Visual Faith with my husband and kids. They took to it right away. Kids love art projects and art is an important part of our lives. VF took our family faith life from a sporadic time of a few scripture readings or kids bible books and reciting some prayers to a full on interactive, creative crafting session with bursts of color, shapes and washi tape. It was like VBS every day! (visit http://womenofthesed.blogspot.com/2015/09/melinda-randsdell-northern-region.html for more of our family’s story) It quickly became a part of our regular routine that the kids look forward to. Here is a picture of my son’s faith book and Bible journaling:
We all use Journaling Bibles for notes and faith expression. A few of us have coloring bibles like the Inspire Bible, the HCSB Illustrator’s Notetaking Bible and The Message Canvas Bible. We have prayer journals and what we call Faith Books. Faith Books are where we put our Sermon Notes, prayer sheets and do some scripture doodles. It is a small binder that keeps everything all in one place. Mine also functions as a planner with calendar inserts that I use every day. It has my check lists and prayer lists. It has become one of my favorite faith tools to point me to God. (visit http://unconventionallysf.blogspot.com/2016/05/what-is-faith-book.html to learn more about my Faith Book)
That is what it is all about, Visual Faith, equipping people with tools to strengthen their relationship connection with God. It helps to keep you from forgetting His great love for you. We tell our kids this over and over again, this is why we do Jesus Time. And it works for adults, too!
My husband and I have also integrated Visual Faith into the ministry of our congregation. When you have such an amazing tool that has made such a difference in your faith walk, you have to share it. I have taught a few classes on Bible Journaling and Praying in Color. As a result, I developed a faith tool called ‘Sermon Notes’ for our worship services. Each week, the bulletin has an insert to use during service.
They are based on the idea of learning styles. Some people like to doodle, some like to take notes and now we have the ever so popular adult coloring trend. We want people to be able to better interact with the lessons and retain them. I had already been note taking and doodling all over the bulletin cover, so why not create a designated space for it.
After service, the Sermon Notes can be taken home (that’s usually when I color mine) and used throughout the week. We put ours in our Faith Books.
The layout is simple. There is a box with lines for notes, a blank box to doodle or more notes and a simple outline image the size of a Journaling Bible margin. There is the option of cutting it out and putting it in your Bible or tracing it in. I wanted the Sermon Notes to be usable by all ages and any gender. I also have them all available for free download on my blog www.unconventionallysf.blogspot.com . If your sermon series or scripture readings are different schedule from ours, you still may be able to find something that works. I also have teaching tools to help you share with others what Bible Journaling and Praying in Color are all about. Below is a page we used during Epiphany:
I realize I have a unique advantage being married to the pastor and having a graphic design degree. But, what I encourage people to do is to pray and look for opportunities that Visual Faith can be used in your ministry. You may be surprised by the creative way God gives you to introduce VF. It may be sharing with a few friends how Bible Journaling has transformed your faith life. I have shared VF through my social media, my blog, adult bible class, our women’s group, Sermon Notes, VBS, the youth, lay care ministry and confirmation. The more we can encourage people to connect with God, the more we all can share His message of hope and salvation with the world. (visit http://womenofthesed.blogspot.com/2016/06/visual-faith-st-johns-dover-de-part-1.html to see how I shared VF with St. John’s in a two part blog post)
Visual Faith has allowed me to process and connect with information, specifically Gospel information, on a deeper more meaningful level that has resulted in remembering God’s love for me and how to love others. I have seen true transformation in myself and my family since we have been drawing and creating closer to God. Remember that the Creator makes creative beings in His image that He invites to be creative with Him.
If you are just starting out, my advice is to keep it simple. See where God takes you. You only need some basic tools of a bible or journal and some colored pencils. This blog has some amazing resources. It isn’t about a work of art, rather it’s about a work of the heart.