You may have noticed that adult coloring books have become a trend and wondered if or how coloring might help you connect with God. We are featuring an excerpt from Coloring the Psalms: Seeing God’s Patterns in Our Lives. Below, Adele Calhoun describes the purpose of the book. Next, we offer you a sample: two devotional texts with accompanying illustrations. Try out this new way to connect with God, and let us know what you think. — Anna
This book invites you to intentionally be with God as you color. When you are mindful about opening yourself to God, you enter into a spiritual practice that can shape your soul. Spiritual disciplines open space in our lives for the worship of God. They are grace-filled ways of responding to the presence of Christ with our bodies. Worship happens in our bodies, not just our heads. Paul writes in Romans 12:1, “Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.” I invite you to offer in worship the bones and muscles of your fingers as they move across the page, your mind and intuition as they make color choices, your mouth as it whispers prayers, your breath inhaled and exhaled, and your heart as it beats.
Reflecting with the Sun: Devotional #1
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. — Psalm 113:3
Think back on your day — or yesterday if you’re coloring in the morning. What positive and negative judgments did you make? What do your judgments reveal? Talk to God about what you see.
If you sense that you’ve had a reaction that is larger than the situation warrants, take some deep breaths and ask for awareness and freedom to let go of anything but God. How does letting go make you feel? What do you want to say to God about that?
It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter. — Psalm 74:17
Breathing is an unconscious thing. And breath prayer reminds us that just as we can’t live on one breath of air, we can’t live on one breath of God. God is the oxygen of our soul, and we need to breathe our God in all day long. After all, it is in God that “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Breath prayer reminds us that each breath we are given is God’s gift and that God’s Spirit is nearer to us than our own breath.
As you color, feel yourself breathe. Then make your breath a prayer: as you inhale, pray “Lord.” As you exhale, pray “Here I am.”
Taken from Coloring the Psalms by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun. Text copyright (c) 2016 by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426. www.ivpress.com
Illustrations by James Newman Gray. James Newman Gray is an illustrator based in Sheffield, United Kingdom. He has worked in the greetings card industry for several years. His style varies from contemporary designs to hand lettering, from cute characters to traditional art.
Adele Ahlberg Calhoun (MA at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) currently co-pastors Redeemer Community in Wellesley, Massachusetts, with her husband, Doug. She was formerly Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Christ Church in Oak Brook, Illinois. A trained spiritual director, she has taught courses at Wheaton College and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. In the early 1970s she helped pioneer student work with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. She has also worked with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in New England and Canada and with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students in the West Indies and South Africa.
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