So, exactly how do I make a Prayer Painting?
And how might you go about doing the same?
It’s Simple.
As simple as we allow it to be, anyway.
There is my way.
And there is your way.
They are both perfect.
Perhaps, 
Start with this…
First,
Clear your mind. Leave ‘it’ at the door.
Take a few moments and pick a method that will
allow you to just Be in the space all around you.
However you do this best.
Be in your Breath. Focus on your feet touching the ground.
Suck on a lemon. Stretch. Pet your pet.
Play that song that brings you back into your body, today.
Read a passage that lights up your spirit.
Me? – I burn candles, drink water, smudge, play my flute…
Do something to bring YOU softly into the comfortable home of your own presence.
Be gentle with yourself if you have to try a few methods into your clutter-free awareness
before finding one that works.
If you’re like me, it varies like the wind –
that’s why I have a medicine bag of tricks for just this sort of thing.
But know this:
You cannot do it wrong.
Because in the end, wherever you are at is the perfect place to begin.
Next.
Now, this is very important – and tricky.
Release all notions, concerns and expectations
about how the art will look when it’s complete. 
There’s going to be a piece of art at the end – but that doesn’t matter one bit.
Remember – this is about the prayers, the intention. 
Entice the essence of your inner creative self to come out and guide you,
by assuring her that whatever is made
is going to be held safely, without judgment, in the sentiment of this prayer…
even if it doesn’t feel or ‘look’ good.  
Yep, there is Surrenderhere.
And the chance to explore your own unconditional love and acceptance of yourself.
You see, the physical result, the art, is just evidence of a practice –
it is the flour, fruit and sugarcrumb mess left on the counter
for the pie that is baking in the oven….
About that oven…
it has to be open to put the pie in.
So, Open your Heart.
This is no more complicated than opening an oven door.
Just choose to open it,
and in making the choice it is done.
Warmed and ready, always available,
for you and your work.
For me, this is just a conscious acknowledgment that I am open and willing,
sometimes accompanied by a visualization to help me FEEL open,
and then I move on.
This is when I set my intention or prayer –
Now,
State your intention, one time,
maybe aloud to the air,
or written like an affirmation on paper to keep near, 
     or right onto the surface of your canvas even… 
whatever sings to your inclination to make it real.
Place that pie into the dark cavern
trusting that it will be cared for perfectly.
State your intention, for one second or twenty minutes,
holding it in your own sweet focus…
Let the words sit in your mind, with your breath,
then let the meaning penetrate beyond the “idea” of the words
and notice how that prayer FEELS in your body.
There’s a point in that stillness, for me
when it’s as if the intention and words dissolve…
like I have become the prayer itself.
And that’s when I let it go.
That’s when I suggest you do the same.
Forget about it. Truly.
Trust.
The oven will do the rest….
You see, our subconscious LOVES symbolism and right-effort,
and is acutely aware of our thought or intention the instant we present it.
All we have to do is state it once, in our minds or hearts-
it is then held safely in the vibration of our creative process.
In other words,
Your heart already knows the way.
Just like the oven doesn’t have to think about how to bake. It just does it.
Your job is to pick up your paintbrush or marker or pastel or ball of clay
and follow your heart’s lead.
That is, 
Listen.
From there, it goes like this:
Listen. Pray. Trust. Surrender. [Paint]
When you need to, stretch and move and notice your breath.
Get lost in a tiny detail, step back in curiosity frequently.
Drink lots of water.
Don’t think too long or hard on anything.
Return to any of your own focusing rituals as necessary,
and then repeat:
Listen. Pray. Trust. Surrender. [Paint]
You will either just * know * when you are finished,
or you will feel spent,
and it is enough.
You can always come back to the piece and the prayer,
or not.
You can always start another.
There will be moments when you are in the flow and it feels good.
And moments when it doesn’t.
Just like anything we commit to.
It might take you thirty seconds or five days or six weeks.
It doesn’t matter.
Just do what you feel called to do.
What feels right to You.
I do hope you will know this as well:
Just as you cannot get it wrong,
You will also never get it done.
The river of prayers that connects us all is too vast, too deep,
perpetual and regenerating.
It is part of our human experience.
It connects us.
It washes our deepest intentions, desires, sufferings, gratitudes and sentiments
over and through the cells of our spirits
in waves of ecstatic joy and sorrow for this life we get to live.
As long as we are here, there are prayers to be said and heard,
held and released,
danced, sung and painted into being.
It is always good work
to engage and activate this creative healing river
of connection, compassion and communication.
Whatever that means to you.
In whatever ways you choose to explore.
If you create Prayer Art of your own and would like to share with a community that is beginning to explore this, come on over and join us in the flickr group Art of Prayer.

in love and light,
~hali