Visual Journaling of Psalms 1 and 2


MS Oct. 2023

Welcome to The Maker’s Space.  This is not a place just for those who call themselves artists, this is a place where we all become artists in the Presence of the Great Artist, Jesus. We are all creative, and when we use our creativity to make the world a better place, we are partnering and getting to know Jesus in His creative person.  But as importantly, you are making space to use art to slow down and learn to listen to Him.  He can tell us things through art that we might miss otherwise.  He can encourage us, tell us things about ourselves that he sees in us, comfort us, inspire us and give us ideas on how to proceed to tell others about Him and His Kingdom.  These next 2 hours are a gift to yourself to allow yourself to listen and hear from God.  Anytime we think about God and turn our attention to Him, we are worshipping Him…As said by Marva Dawn, “Worship is a Royal Waste of Time”

Supplies: Prayer journal, or plain paper, ink pen and colored pencils or markers.  I like colored pencils, because they are considered slow art as opposed to markers.

Play “Just Breathe” as coming together

Introduce book by Heather Holdsworth as an example of visual journal

Heather lives in  St. Andrews, Scotland, is a Bible teacher with an interest in spiritual formation of all ages and just published this book after decades of journaling and placing her journals on the shelf.  You could describe this prayer journal as a visual prayer journal, while mediating, God drew a picture in her mind for understanding, that she drew out with the placement of the words, describing what the words were saying.  She chose this book to be about the Psalms, which we will use as well, starting with the 1st and 2nd Psalm.  She has broken it down into pictures for every few verses. Some are stick pictures, but others play with your drawing skills, letting the Holy Spirit guide you.

Here is what Heather describes in her own journey with visual journaling,

“The surprising welcome of the Psalms is to live carefree in God’s bliss, [Eugene Peterson] to have fun delighting in the Eternal!  And what’s more, this relationship is reciprocal—God delights in us.  Oh, lets get a head start on “forever” and live untroubled enjoying Him now!  “The glory of God is a human being who is fully alive.”-Irenaeous of Lyon-130AD  Contentment in a life with God isn’t achieved by bustle.  It is slower; it is birthed over time by pondering His thoughts, allowing God to finish His sentences.  Praise and thanksgiving, requests and lament—all of these prayer emerge from a contemplation of God, from pausing with Him in our days.   At times, these pauses are planned, giving us space to think.  At times, they arrive uninvited.  They daze us.”

Heather goes on to describe 2009, when she lost both parents and the disorientation she experiences would not allow words from the Bible to stay in her head.  Her  brother once said that you can see more animals on a safari when you go 10 mph rather than 30 mph.  The animals are all still there, but the faster speed doesn’t allow your eyes to settle, and you miss out on the wonder of it all.  She goes on to say,

“We are not made for rushing.  In the slower lane of these artistic ponderings, the discoveries have filled me with wonder and hope….Then in March 202, I became gravely unwell with Covid-19, and the illness decided to stay.  During days and months of extraordinary weakness, I attuned to the psalms of lament.  Restricted to the couch for nearly a year, with a small fold-out table, I opened to King David’s dialogue with his powerful Friend.  It was profound and moving.  As I sat each day drawing and meditating on his words, my fears were filled by the peace of God and the room was crammed with bliss.  Slow reading and creative meditation have  been the steadying joy in both these seasons of disorientation.  Art gifts us time.  It is unhurried.”   

You can focus on lament or you can focus on praise and thanksgiving, using these two Psalms and any other names of God or verses that these bring to mind. Sometimes these verses trigger others.

Pick one or two images that come to your mind, after reading through Psalm 1 and 2 several times and meditating on them and noticing any images that jump out to you.  My hope is that you will be inspired to continue this creative way to meditate on God’s words, which is actually praying, and watch how the words stick with you longer after drawing an image.

Some thoughts to meditate on before we start:

Walk with Me in intimate Love-steps, but do not lose sight of My Majesty. I desire to be your closest Friend, yet I am also your sovereign Lord. I created your brain with capacity to know Me as Friend and Lord simultaneously. The human mind is the pinnacle of My creation, but so few use it for its primary purpose—knowing Me. I communicate continually through My Spirit, My Word, and My creation. Only humans are capable of receiving Me and responding to My Presence. You are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made!  Jesus Calling

Mind The Checks

And after the earthquake a fire; and after the fire a sound of gentle stillness - 1 Kgs 19:12

A soul, who made rapid progress in her understanding of the Lord, was once asked the secret of her easy advancement. She replied tersely, “Mind the checks.” And the reason that many of us do not know and better understand Him is, we do not give heed to His gentle checks, His delicate restraints and constraints. His is a still, small voice. A still voice can hardly be heard. It must be felt. A steady, gentle pressure upon the heart and mind like the touch of a morning zephyr to your face. A small voice, quietly, almost timidly spoken in your heart, but if heeded growing noiselessly clearer to your inner ear. His voice is for the ear of love, and love is intent upon hearing even faintest whispers. There comes a time also when love ceases to speak if not responded to, or believed in. He is love, and if you would know Him and His voice, give constant ear to His gentle touches. In conversation, when about to utter some word, give heed to that gentle voice, mind the check and refrain from speech. When about to pursue some course that seems all clear and right and there comes quietly to your spirit a suggestion that has in it the force almost of a conviction, give heed, even if changed plans seem highest folly from standpoint of human wisdom. Learn also to wait on God for the unfolding of His will. Let God form your plans about everything in your mind and heart and then let Him execute them. Do not possess any wisdom of your own. For many times His execution will seem so contradictory to the plan He gave. He will seem to work against Himself. Simply listen, obey and trust God even when it seems highest folly so to do. He will in the end make “all things work together,” but so many times in the first appearance of the outworking of His plans,

“In His own world He is content 

To play a losing game.” 

So if you would know His voice, never consider results or possible effects. Obey even when He asks you to move in the dark. He Himself will be gloriously light in you. And there will spring up rapidly in your heart an acquaintanceship and a fellowship with God which will be overpowering in itself to hold you and Him together, even in severest testings and under most terrible pressures.—Way of Faith Streams in the Desert

Our brains are made to know God and to know Him as Lord and Friend at the same time, but too few people use it to know Him in this way.  We also can use art to slow us down and to notice the things He is speaking to us, but we don’t take the time to listen.  Art and creativity help us to hear Him in the spiritual dimension, but we have to get out of our Left brains or logic, or thinking in order to think creatively.  One way to help us “get out of our heads and thinking too much” is paying attention to our breath.  It also helps slow our minds and our hearts and body down to be able to notice.

We are going to look at the last verse of Psalm 1, and breathe half of it on the inhale, and the other half on the exhale for 3 minutes.  See if you can work yourself up to 10 minutes.  Take your pulse before and after and see if your heart rate slows down.  The slower you breathe and the longer inhale and exhale you take, we slow your heart and head down.

After your 3 minute Breath prayer and meditation, read over Psalm 1 and 2 and notice any images that come into you mind and start drawing with the words or make simple lines and fill in with the words, repeating them as often as you want to to fill in the spaces.

After your page is filled, feel free to add some color or not, with colored pencils or watercolor.

Here are some of the artwork we did in our session together.

More art from the January 2024 Workshop at Vail Church


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