“The experience of praying with icons and other images is quite different than praying with words.” Christine Valters Painter, Illuminating Mystery, Creativity as a Spiritual Practice, Reflections in Word and Image.
God speaks to us in many ways–through relationships, our experiences, sacred texts such as the Bible and many more. Visio divina, Latin for divine seeing, is praying with images to listen to God’s words. Like lectio divina, Latin for divine reading, These are four steps used to practice Visio divina:
1.Sit quietly, close your eyes and be aware of your breathing. Practice a body scan. Open your eyes and look at the image of art slowly, seeing colors, people, places and things. Stay with the image for one to two minutes. You may want to jot down a few words about the image.
2. Close your eyes and breath. Open your eyes. Take another, deeper, look. Is there movement? Are there relationships? Use your imagination. What is the story? Can you place yourself in the story and in the image? Do you see deeper meanings that what is on the surface?
3. Respond to the image with prayer. Does the image take you to an experience, or remind you of a person or issue for which you want to offer thanksgiving or intercession? Offer that prayer to God.
4. Find your quiet heart center. Stay connected to your body. Breathe deeply. Relax your shoulders, arms and legs. Rest in this quiet. Imagine God praying in you. God prays beyond words.