“Practicing the Presence” was created for a Healing Care Ministries seminar called The Essentials. The essence of this seminar to help those in caregiving ministries understand how to position people for lasting, healing change, particularly through engaging the right hemisphere of the brain through creative spiritual practices. “Practicing the Presence” was done each morning in lieu of traditional worship. Each day is spent focusing on one member of the Trinity with the following themes: Creator God, Christ our Royal Redeemer, and Holy Spirit, Flame of Love.
Included here are resources, coloring pages, accompanying scriptures and photographs so you can recreate this for your own church or ministry. Hand-outs are provided and can be used with permission by leaving the website and copyright information intact at the bottom of each page. Coloring pages were created by Pauline Mae Blankenship (©2018) for “Practicing the Presence,” and if you have The Creator’s Healing Power—Restoring the Broken to Beautiful, you will recognize these coloring pages from the book. She has graciously offered them for our use, and you will find links within each section below.
Each day we started in silence, which was broken with Lectio Divina. Then participants were released to explore creative prayer stations. Every day, one station included a cross with artwork to create a space where folks could kneel and pray, and another included the coloring pages at two large tables with coloring supplies:
The Creator God theme focuses on God as Creator and as creative. Participants also explore the Biblical meaning of colors through several stations including:
Community Sand Art Prayer: Participants combine their prayers with the prayers of others, creating a colorful picture of community with sand art. Bowls of colored sand are placed with accompanying scripture verses. Small plastic scoops are used to pour the sand in the large glass containers (see photos below). You can find the “color coordinated” verses to print out on card stock here: PtP color sand
Color Your World (pictured below left): Participants ask God to lead them to a ribbon (or pipe cleaner). They then explore the meaning of the color through the Biblical color meaning hand-out provided (page 4 of the full instructions below). Using the scriptures on the hand-out, they spend some time meditating on the color meaning and ask God what He is revealing to them through it.
Taste & See (pictured below top right): This station is offered every day and the item to taste changes with the theme. With the Creator God theme we used sunflower seeds with a small photograph with a saying about seeds growing out of darkness. There are also many passages about seeds in scripture that could be used.
The Sands of the Sea & Stars of the Sky (pictured below bottom right): A tactile station is offered each day as well. In this one, participants are invited to run their fingers through a mixture of sand, pebbles and gold star glitter, experiencing the texture and considering the beauty of His creation.
Coloring Page for Creator God can be found here: CreatorGodH
Christ our Royal Redeemer
The Royal Redeemer theme explores Jesus as the King who came to redeem us from darkness us through his blood, placing a crown of righteous on our heads. Stations include:
Redeemer at Work: Three tactile representations of scripture: rocks (Jesus protecting an adulterous woman from stoning); an alabaster jar with anointing oil (Jesus allowing a sinful woman to anoint his feet); and a prayer shawl (Jesus healing the hemorrhaging woman who touched the hem of his garment). Participants are asked to consider how Jesus redeemed and restored the outcasts, the sinful, and the people that others condemned.
Crown of Righteousness: As people enter they are asked to pick up three small strips of cloth (one each in black, red and purple). As a part of Lectio Divina, I perform a dance to Redeemer by Nicole C. Mullen that utilizes black, red, white and purple fabric. During the prayer station time, after spending a moment in quiet confession, they can cut a small piece of white ribbon from a long streamer of ribbon connected to a crown of thorns near the cross. They can then secure the white around the red, purple and black strips of fabric they were given upon entering as a reminder of the righteousness that is ours through Jesus Christ, our Royal Redeemer.
Taste & See: Communion is available at the altar as participants feel led to take it.
Coloring Page for Royal Redeemer can be found here: RoyalRedeemer
Holy Spirit, Flame of Love
On our last morning, participants explore the concept of the Holy Spirit as the Flame of Love with the following stations:
Trading in Your Withered Heart: On our final day I perform a drama called Stretch Out Your Hand by Nicole Johnson (link can be found in the full instructions). As they enter they are given a small wrinkled heart cut from a brown paper bag to represent a “withered heart.” During the prayer station time, they can leave their withered heart symbol, and take a symbol of a new heart, representing the whole and restored heart Jesus gives us when we reach out our withered hearts in faith.
Lamp Unto My Feet: At this station I have an oil lamp and oil wicks. Participants can take a wick and consider its uses, shape, color and let God speak to them through it. They are free to take the wick with them as a reminder.
Light a Candle: In some church traditions, lighting a candle is an outward expression of an inward prayer. Participants are invited to light a tea light for a family member, friend or themselves.
Taste & See: With the Flame of Love theme, candy kisses are offered to remind them of God’s great love.
Coloring Page for Flame of Love can be found here: FlameOfLove
Full instructions, all hand-outs, scriptures for Lectio Divina and links to some of the resources can be found here: Practicing the Presence Stations They are also available in Spanish: PtP Spanish Estaciones oración-meditación castellano with different coloring pages for your use.
I have found it helpful to have the “Practicing the Presence Initial Instructions” (page 2) waiting just inside the door for them to pick up each morning as they enter. The day’s list of prayer stations (pages 3, 5 & 6) is printed on the back of the instructions.
Scripture passages for various stations can be found here: PtP scriptures
Please let me know if you have any questions by commenting below!! I’ll be happy to provide more information and details.
Blessings of artistry, creativity & trUe BEaUty,
Jody Thomae © 2018 All Rights Reserved
Jody Thomae is the author of God’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You and The Creator’s Healing Power—Restoring the Broken to Beautiful, both in-depth, interactive devotional books that are part of the Bible Studies to Nurture the Creative Spirit Within series and serve as resources for creative Christians, artists, and lovers of beauty and worship. Jody has been involved in worship arts ministry since 1997, serving as worship arts ministry pastor, worship leader and creative arts director. She leads worship at local seminars, retreats and women’s events and is a guest lecturer on creativity, embodiment, and spirituality at HCM International’s Essentials Seminar and the HCM Certificate Program in Spiritual Formation & Spiritual Direction. Her passion is for the revelation of God to be made more real through the prophetic use of the arts in church and the use of creativity in formational and healing ministry. It is her desire to portray the message of Christ’s desperate and unfailing love for His people to help sustain the hearts of the broken and weary. She is particularly interested in the reclamation of the body in the healing of trauma and works in the area of embodiment with survivors of abuse, addiction, and trauma.
The Bible Studies to Nurture the Creative Spirit Within series includes her first book, God’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You and her new release, The Creator’s Healing Power—Restoring the Broken to Beautiful. Print and digital copies are available through Amazon. Signed copies are available for purchase through her Square store. where her resources are available most affordably (and in bulk amounts for your creative ministry team or group study). Jody’s devotional CD, Song of the Beloved, is also available through Square.