I love to introduce people to a contemplative approach to visiting art museums. This is a rich way of approaching art as prayer. While understanding art history and appreciating technique, social impact, voice, and amazing talent are all phenomenal lenses in which art can be explored, there is a very simple approach to praying through art.
Artists often have a prophetic voice. They communicate through color and shape powerful messages. When we are drawn to a piece of art and focus on it with deep attention, we can enter into an experience with the Spirit that is rich with meaning.
The guide below is one I give to groups learning to view art as prayer.
Welcome the Holy Spirit to lead your prayer.
Find a museum map.
Let the Spirit draw you toward an area of the museum and find one piece of art that you are drawn to.
Stand or sit in front of the piece of art you have been drawn toward.
Look with your heart. What do you see?
Listen to the still small voice of God. What do you hear?
What do the colors, shapes, textures and images expand in your spirit?
Linger a little longer. Is there anything else rising in your awareness?
How would you finish this prayer?
God, through this work of art, You are revealing to me…
Gently and slowly repeat this process.
Try not to rush. The goal is quality not quantity.
Try not to compare. Your experience is unique and may be very different from others.
Be gentle with yourself. This level of engagement can be tiring and can overstimulate the senses. It can also stir emotions and stimulate thought. You may need to sit and simply close your eyes for a few moments.
Live Abundantly. Enjoy. Laugh. Cry. Feel.
Laura Beach is the director of Equipping Lydia and is a regular contributor to the Soul Care Collective.