Exploring new ways to pray

Associate Pastor Jean Newell

Prayer has been called the language of the heart and is one way we can communicate our thoughts and feelings to God. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Someone once said to me, “I don’t know how to pray.” Part of not knowing how may be not knowing where to pray. John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, was one of 19 children! His mother, Susanna, didn’t have much choice when it came to finding a quiet place to pray with so many children underfoot. Consequently, when she needed to pray, she would sit in her chair in the kitchen and put her apron over her head! When she did that, her children knew better than to bother mother because she was in her quiet place! The next time you’re wanting to pray and you’re having a hard time finding the right place, be like Susanna; think out of the box! Your quiet place may be as near as your apron, or the garden that needs tending, or the lounge chair on the back porch.

Sometimes tapping into our inner child can help us pray better. In her book, Praying in Color, Sybil MacBeth teaches a new way to pray by doing just that. According to MacBeth, the process of praying in color involves a re-entry into the childlike world of coloring and improvising. “The product,” she states, “is a colorful design or drawing that is a visual reminder of the time spent in prayer.” This month, I will be facilitating a Praying in Color workshop at our church, based on MacBeth’s book. It requires no skill, just the desire to find your child inside and make your prayers more meaningful in the process.

(Rev. Jean Newell joined Sun Lakes United Methodist Church as Associate Pastor in July. She was Associate Pastor at Green Valley United Methodist Church in Henderson, Nevada, for the past three years. Pastor Jean holds a master’s degree from Northern Arizona University and was an educator for many years before graduating from Fuller Theological Seminary in California in 2002. She was ordained a Full Elder and served a Methodist church in Mesa as an associate pastor and two Phoenix-area congregations as a solo pastor before moving  to Nevada.)