When I sat down last week to write some ideas 
on how one might begin to develop their own prayer art practice, 
I naturally started to take inventory of the steps I go through… 
and found that there’s more to it than I was giving myself credit for.
I hadn’t given it much thought, perhaps, because I tend to see it as a simple process.
Not easy, just simple.
Not one that I am some kind of master at.
Certainly not one that has some pre-set formula or motion in my mind.
There is just the way I choose to do it, for me, in my own practice.
Seeing it as ‘simple’ may also be a way that I move past the anxieties
of an outcome-based approach, 
past resistance that stems from ‘getting it right’, 
‘what will other people think’ (in the case of shared or collective prayer paintings), 
and ‘who am I to do this’.
If you are curious to try this process and feel any of those thoughts – 
just know, dear heart, that it is natural, normal, and OK. 
And that you need not let those thoughts stop you at all. 
You may begin to see why as I share more of my own story. 
In my heart, I feel that art and prayer 
are not only two practices that belong to everyone (and have so much to offer), 
but that can also be blended into a personal, transformative, sacred act of reverence
by anyone who wants to give it a try.
And when it comes to intuitive art,
one finds within time that the practice parallels,
while dipping in and dipping out of, 
a meditative and/or prayer like state of awareness.
This leads to many great questions…
what is Prayer? Meditation? Awareness?
Intention setting? Intuition? Faith, even? Art?…
So it is Simple, in my *knowing*, yes.
And to me, natural even.
And also simultaneously woven into a complex tapestry
of the mysterious experiences of life and journeys of the soul.
Which means, the answers and the process,
 are naturally a little different for everyone.
As I began taking inventory of my own prayer art process, 
I also began to conjure up memories that have brought me to this place 
where creating prayer paintings has become the edge-walking of my creative spirit.
Like how this one particular powerful memory from early in my life
seems to steer much of my spiritual and creative truth,
even though it surfaces in my mind as impressions
rather than sequential, detailed recall.
It is the impression of the actual sensation of life force
communicating to me in palpable vibration from the cells of the trees and grasses,
from molecules of wind and rainwater
when I was in their presence
as a little girl.
I could * feel * it in my body like a gentle, comforting touch.
It was pure magic, it seemed to me.
The calm knowing that somehow this very spiritual sense
of love, connection and freedom between the world and me (all of us)
was exactly what this physical life and time is all about. 
There’s something more to this memory, though,
something that whispers of how deeply we are provided for by Source,
and it is this… 
Amazingly, this great reverence and awareness
came to me at a time when I was living the deep shadows of a twisted abuse
that no child should know…
but grace was still with me, still in me, 
supporting me,
a fountain of healing light even then.
My child’s instinct led me to sanctuary,
exploring my own imagination and artistic expression
as ways in which I could directly participate
in the peace and creative power of connection with Source.
Through this, I knew from early on
that art is a sacred gateway.
to be continued…
~~~~~~~~~~~
As I am sharing a deeper sense of the development of this process for the first time,
and doing so through the sharing of some of my own story,
I have decided to split it into parts so that I can allow it to flow forth naturally and unforced over the course of a few days.

I will finish this mini-series with a look into how I Prayer Paint as of now,
along with some ideas to help you get started on your own Prayer Art journey.
You can submit your own heartfelt prayer to be laid alongside the prayers of others for my next prayer painting by clicking HERE.

If a question about creating prayer art comes to mind while you read the series, please leave a comment and I will try to address it in the final post.
If you intend to try making Prayer Art for yourself, be sure to join the flickr group 
Art of Prayer to share, or stay tuned for ways to share via the LilyWheelSlide facebook page and here at LWS when I post my next completed collective prayer painting.
So much gratitude for your presence and spirit,
~ hali