Visual Prayer

Visual Faith at a Theological Symposium

The 30th Annual Theological Symposium at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis took place September 17-18 under the theme Devoted: (Re)Forming the Devotional Life.

This relevant theme allowed participants and speakers to “explore the topic of devotion in all its complexity, (re)forming our devotional lives into lives of devotion. Attendees will walk away refreshed and equipped to encounter the challenges of our contemporary culture with the depths of God’s Word and the breadth of His work.”

The Symposium was created for the benefit of Continuing Education for Ordained Ministers, Deaconesses, Professional Church Workers, and laity.

[Photo credit: Valerie Matyas]

[Photo credit: Valerie Matyas]

Valerie Matyas, Educational Development Consultant for Visual Faith Ministries, shares about her experience teaching visual faith at the symposium here:

[Photo credit: Concordia Seminary]

[Photo credit: Concordia Seminary]

I had the opportunity and honor of leading a break out session. Visual Faith lends itself beautifully to the devotional life. As a Visual Faith Coach, I am able to engage, equip, and encourage people of all ages and professions in taking a creative, visual approach to the devotional life.

[Photo credit: Concordia Seminary]

[Photo credit: Concordia Seminary]

We discussed the struggles and obstacles of engaging in prayer and scripture in our devotional life. It is important to learn how to pause and focus. Visual Faith allows us to slow down and pay attention. It is both a practice and a product. It gives us a visual reminder for our remembrance and to equip us in reaching out to others. 

[Photo credit: Concordia Seminary]

[Photo credit: Concordia Seminary]

We used the tool of Visual Prayer with the application of “Secret Code Prayer” to force ourselves to slow our pace and deepen our connection in conversation with our Heavenly Father. It is the difference between speeding down a highway and walking down a highway. We see more, notice more, are aware of more, because the pace forces us to be readily observant.

Dr. Beth Hoeltke, director of the Graduate School at Concordia Seminary, is caught enjoying a moment of light-heartedness. [Photo credit: Concordia Seminary]

Dr. Beth Hoeltke, director of the Graduate School at Concordia Seminary, is caught enjoying a moment of light-heartedness. [Photo credit: Concordia Seminary]

I enjoy using humor in my presentations to lighten the mood on what is a common struggle for so many followers of Christ: How to remain engaged in prayer and scripture when our lives are full of distraction, disenchantment, and disillusionment?

  Our lives are sometimes messy, our prayer and devotional lives often disorganized and disarrayed. Having spiritual tools for our spiritual toolbox can help to make sense of the mess. It allows us a wider lens into how God is working in our lives and the lives of His people.

[Photo credit: Valerie Matyas]

[Photo credit: Valerie Matyas]

The room is always completely silent when participants are visually praying or reflecting creatively to scripture. Sometimes we need to carve time out of our day for such a practice. The creative, visual, tangible approach creates a hook that draws us back again and again. Allowing participants an opportunity to apply the techniques and experience the practice offers a better understanding for the potential impact on the personal devotional life. I tell people, “We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We cannot create time, lose time, or gain time. How we prioritize our time is up to us. It often takes discipline. Enjoying our time spent in prayer and in the Word helps us to want to prioritize that time.” We leverage the visual, linguistic, and kinesthetic practice of drawing, doodling, and creating to keep us accountable and engaged.

[Photo credit: Valerie Matyas]

[Photo credit: Valerie Matyas]

My Visual Faith presentations are often for lay women. Sometimes I have the opportunity to present Professional Development for the spiritual formation of Lutheran and Catholic School Teachers and Administrators. Every once in awhile I get to go into classrooms of Lutheran day schools and speak directly to students. It was a rare and special occasion to be able to speak to Ordained Ministers of the Word and church workers affiliated with the Seminary. It is the desire of Visual Faith Ministry for these tools to be used to further equip the people of God’s Kingdom. May it be to His Glory.

[Photo credit: Kyle Fittje]

[Photo credit: Kyle Fittje]

I wanted to thank Rev. Dr. David Schmitt, the Gregg H. Benidt Chair in Homiletics and Literature, for inviting me to speak. His involvement in this year’s Symposium and his passion for seeing the devotional life for more than just reading and meditating silently in isolation, opened the door for great conversations and insight regarding the multifaceted opportunities for devotional life.

[Image credit: Marsha Baker]

[Image credit: Marsha Baker]

I was abundantly blessed to have the founder of BlessInks and fellow Visual Faith Coach Marsha Baker attend my sectional. She beautifully and creatively captured my presentation using her unique style of sketch notes. Sketch notes are another example of Visual Faith, a practice that I enjoy using during Sunday Sermons.

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Valerie Matyas is a Visual Faith Classroom Coach joining a love for all things Visual Faith with the heart passion of an educator to forge new pathways into schools and congregational life. She is a graduate student at Concordia University - Ann Arbor, MI. pursuing a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Valerie is passionate about Parochial Education as well as supporting and encouraging professional church workers and laity in their personal devotional and prayer lives. She seeks to encourage God's people, of all ages, to literally draw closer to Him through creative reflection and loves to develop tools to open these faith-sharing doors for her family and others.

Visual Faith in the Congregational Setting

My name is Garet Ellis and I am the pastor of a new church plant, Christ Community Lutheran Church –Leesburg- and Leesburg Open Arms in Virginia.. I was recently asked to write about some of the ways we are incorporating “visual arts” into our worship and school communities.  Now, from the outset, I must say that it is hilarious that I am writing in a forum such as this. I have a great appreciation for the arts in all of their forms. But if I am being honest, I have zero talent when it comes to art. My stick figures are lopsided. My coloring is abysmal. And my ability to draw is as good as my ability to speak Mandarin Chinese; I can’t do either.  Now when we study the Scriptures, look at creation, and learn about God, we see that there is a rich creativity in the One who is the creator of all things. Consider the tulip. It is (in my opinion) one of the most beautiful flowers out there, a sure sign that winter is over and spring is here. Had I been tasked with creating the tulip, there would have only been one color. But God, in His infinite wisdom and beauty, decided to paint the tulips of the field with all of the colors of the rainbow.  But unfortunately, and I am guilty of this too, sometimes we take the creative beauty of God and hide it. Like my single-colored tulip, we sometimes don’t allow the full beauty of God to be expressed. We make God to be one dimensional and rather simple.  So knowing this about myself, knowing that I prefer to be a bullet-point teacher, and knowing that we live in a hyper-visual world, it is important to me to offer a variety of ways for people to see, hear, touch, and experience the love and grace of God. This, I think, is the fundamental role of churches and pastors. And so this idea plays out in a variety of ways in my personal and professional life. I’d like to highlight 3 ways that this has come to life in my new congregation and school.

My name is Garet Ellis and I am the pastor of a new church plant, Christ Community Lutheran Church –Leesburg- and Leesburg Open Arms in Virginia.. I was recently asked to write about some of the ways we are incorporating “visual arts” into our worship and school communities.

Now, from the outset, I must say that it is hilarious that I am writing in a forum such as this. I have a great appreciation for the arts in all of their forms. But if I am being honest, I have zero talent when it comes to art. My stick figures are lopsided. My coloring is abysmal. And my ability to draw is as good as my ability to speak Mandarin Chinese; I can’t do either.

Now when we study the Scriptures, look at creation, and learn about God, we see that there is a rich creativity in the One who is the creator of all things. Consider the tulip. It is (in my opinion) one of the most beautiful flowers out there, a sure sign that winter is over and spring is here. Had I been tasked with creating the tulip, there would have only been one color. But God, in His infinite wisdom and beauty, decided to paint the tulips of the field with all of the colors of the rainbow.

But unfortunately, and I am guilty of this too, sometimes we take the creative beauty of God and hide it. Like my single-colored tulip, we sometimes don’t allow the full beauty of God to be expressed. We make God to be one dimensional and rather simple.

So knowing this about myself, knowing that I prefer to be a bullet-point teacher, and knowing that we live in a hyper-visual world, it is important to me to offer a variety of ways for people to see, hear, touch, and experience the love and grace of God. This, I think, is the fundamental role of churches and pastors. And so this idea plays out in a variety of ways in my personal and professional life. I’d like to highlight 3 ways that this has come to life in my new congregation and school.


The Illuminated Catechism   I have enjoyed this book by Tony Cook and Susan Spellman and used it in a variety of instances throughout my years of ministry. When I got to Leesburg, they would occasionally have a staff Bible study. I was able to teach it for a while, so I bought everyone who wanted to participate a copy of  The Illuminated Catechism . This became a fun tool to be able to teach them about God and for them to grow in their faith and knowledge of Him.

The Illuminated Catechism

I have enjoyed this book by Tony Cook and Susan Spellman and used it in a variety of instances throughout my years of ministry. When I got to Leesburg, they would occasionally have a staff Bible study. I was able to teach it for a while, so I bought everyone who wanted to participate a copy of The Illuminated Catechism. This became a fun tool to be able to teach them about God and for them to grow in their faith and knowledge of Him.


The Enduring Word Bible   We launched our new congregation on September 08, 2019. But before that, we hosted a “Back 2 School Bibles, Brunch, ‘n Bonanza”. We invited to community to come celebrate the start of a new school year and lift our students, teachers, schools up in prayer. And we gave away tons of Bibles.

The Enduring Word Bible

We launched our new congregation on September 08, 2019. But before that, we hosted a “Back 2 School Bibles, Brunch, ‘n Bonanza”. We invited to community to come celebrate the start of a new school year and lift our students, teachers, schools up in prayer. And we gave away tons of Bibles.


We gave away regular Bibles to the adults and  The Growing in Faith Bible Storybook  (I highly recommend this book) to all of our children. We also received a wonderful donation of unique Bibles and books to raffle off to the adults and children.

We gave away regular Bibles to the adults and The Growing in Faith Bible Storybook (I highly recommend this book) to all of our children. We also received a wonderful donation of unique Bibles and books to raffle off to the adults and children.

The number one hit was  The Enduring Word Bible . We are now looking into ways to give this Bible as a Christmas gift to our school administrator and staff who were all hoping to win one.

The number one hit was The Enduring Word Bible. We are now looking into ways to give this Bible as a Christmas gift to our school administrator and staff who were all hoping to win one.


“Create” center   I wanted the new congregation to spend the Sunday before our launch in prayer and praise of God. I wanted to offer a chance for us to bring our anxieties, worries, requests, and praises to God. But I needed it to fit our environment.  You see, our congregation is partners with Leesburg Open Arms, a Christian childcare development center. And so our space is a blend of coffee house and preschool. We have tables, snacks, and beverages for the adults and kids. And on any given Sunday, there might be children’s artwork on the walls. Children are present and participating in worship. And so to engage with prayer in this environment is a little different than it would be if we were in a cathedral.

“Create” center

I wanted the new congregation to spend the Sunday before our launch in prayer and praise of God. I wanted to offer a chance for us to bring our anxieties, worries, requests, and praises to God. But I needed it to fit our environment.

You see, our congregation is partners with Leesburg Open Arms, a Christian childcare development center. And so our space is a blend of coffee house and preschool. We have tables, snacks, and beverages for the adults and kids. And on any given Sunday, there might be children’s artwork on the walls. Children are present and participating in worship. And so to engage with prayer in this environment is a little different than it would be if we were in a cathedral.

I have used resources from the Visual Faith site before and I thought these would be cool to use again. And people engaged. People who weren’t there lamented that they couldn’t participate. So we decided to create a “Create” shelf. It’s a place where you can pick up different prayer cards, art pieces, and drawing tools and you are encouraged to bring them into worship with you. It has been a hit so far.  This has been an interesting journey so far. Engaging with art is not my “normal” in life. I appreciate it. I support it. I want to equip people to experience their faith in God in a variety of ways.

I have used resources from the Visual Faith site before and I thought these would be cool to use again. And people engaged. People who weren’t there lamented that they couldn’t participate. So we decided to create a “Create” shelf. It’s a place where you can pick up different prayer cards, art pieces, and drawing tools and you are encouraged to bring them into worship with you. It has been a hit so far.

This has been an interesting journey so far. Engaging with art is not my “normal” in life. I appreciate it. I support it. I want to equip people to experience their faith in God in a variety of ways.


Thank you for reading this. If you have suggestions or ideas you would like to share with me, I would love it.  I want to better engage our teachers and school staff with different visual faith pieces. I want to support our children in their faith life. So send your ideas to: pastor@christcommunityleesburg.org.

Thank you for reading this. If you have suggestions or ideas you would like to share with me, I would love it. I want to better engage our teachers and school staff with different visual faith pieces. I want to support our children in their faith life. So send your ideas to: pastor@christcommunityleesburg.org.

Sharing the Psalms in Latin America

Compartiendo Los Salmos

From Christel:  Growing up I often wrote down scripture and would paste it on a magazine ad, or better yet, find a magazine ad with a blank space and write there. I would send them off to friends or post them around my room. As I got older, for whatever reason, I lost this art. Years later I met Lizz Warren, who started lettering scripture and creating designs to put up on your wall, to print on cards, and to share on social media. My artistic side was rekindled!

 Lizz and I serve in Latin America, in particular, the Caribbean.  As a missionary and deaconess my service is often found among groups of women, children or the elderly. After learning about Visual Faith from my mother-in-law, Karen, and sister-in-law, Katie - and understanding that it’s not just all Bible Journaling - ideas have begun flowing!

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 I saw some Visual Faith Ministry prayer cards by Pat Maier and thought how great it was that not only can you create some art and pray but also share that with someone who may be in need of love and care.

I chatted with Lizz one day, probably on a very long voice message of rambling thoughts, and eventually the Compartiendo Los Salmos (sharing the Psalms) was created. We chose eight Psalms – Psalms of lament, ascent, and praise. These Psalms have been prayers that have been shared time and time again. Some were songs we would sing on visits and in services, some have been with us in very dark times, and some at very joyful times. This is the gift of the Book of Psalms — prayers written by people like you and me, going through this life like you and me, inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Spanish Prayer Cards created by Lizz Warren. You can find them on the Visual Faith Ministry website here:  https://www.visualfaithmin.org/spanishresources

Spanish Prayer Cards created by Lizz Warren. You can find them on the Visual Faith Ministry website here: https://www.visualfaithmin.org/spanishresources

Our goal was to have four cards that identify the Psalm visually. After a Bible study, a visit, or a devotion on this particular Psalm, the participants would be able to color, paint, and put color to the cards. They could pray while doing this or simply embrace the time together in the Word with their fellow believers. One or two cards could be given to friends or neighbors in need of prayer, one could be given as an invitation to church or a church activity, and one card to hold onto, to remember the promises that God has for each of us.

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From Lizz:  I have always enjoyed the process of creating art, even though I have never considered myself an artist or showed exceptional talent in art class growing up.  When I became a preschool teacher, my love of creating art was awakened.  I quickly understood that creating art was more about loving the process than a perfect piece of art in the end.

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 I am a homeschool mom and a missionary wife in the Dominican Republic; my husband serves as the Business Manager in the Latin America and Caribbean region for the LCMS.  Shortly after moving here in 2015, I began a new hobby of lettering. This quickly became my therapy and passion. I began making gifts for others and art for my own walls. As I kept lettering, my audience expanded, I opened an Etsy shop, and my projects began to increase. 

A year ago Christel asked me to help her with a devotion that could be shared while creating art.  She asked me to illustrate prayer cards that could be painted or colored.  These cards would serve as reminders of God’s Word as well as gifts to pass along to a neighbor.  I was excited and thankful for the opportunity to work with her and together we created Compartiendo Los Salmos.

As a missionary wife and mother, my opportunities to be out in the community are limited.  On top of that, culture adaptation has not been a smooth journey for my family. So I was humbled and grateful that Christel asked me to be a part of this project, and God could use my hobby of lettering for His work in the mission field.  What a joy to see the beautiful art women and men in different Latin America countries have created with these cards!

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Compartiendo Los Salmos: Around the Region

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In Dominican Republic, we had the opportunity to gather around God’s Word and paint cards with our local missionary women, seminary wives, and Spanish teachers.  We have also shared the devotion and prayer cards with our fellow missionary women across Latin America, and many of them have taken the devotion into their congregations and small groups.

Deaconess Caitlin (left) and her son Abraham sharing in visual faith with the women of Pueblo Nuevo.

Deaconess Caitlin (left) and her son Abraham sharing in visual faith with the women of Pueblo Nuevo.

Missionary and Deaconess Caitlin wanted to reach out to the women in Pueblo Nuevo, Dominican Republic. We promoted the event as an evening of devotion and “manualidades” (crafts). We had an awesome turn out which led to community building among women who are members and their neighbors.

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Missionary couple, Rev. Sergio and Yoxa Maita, led an evening Bible Study in their community of Ozama, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. After studying Psalm 4, we shared water-coloring techniques for the prayer cards, including masking and wet on wet application. Most of the attendees were women who work full time, are raising families, and are new to the church. Watercolor is not a common past time for adults, but after some initial hesitation the ladies began to embrace their creative side.

One woman even said, “I am so relaxed right now.” They ended up painting all four scenes (cards). Often times in our Latin American churches, we care for women who hold many (and often heavy) vocations. They are daughters caring for their parents, mothers caring for their children, the bread winners of their households, and more. These women, just like many of us, forget to take time out for themselves. We all need to allow ourselves to be creative and have a space to relax. At this Bible Study, we tried to provide that space in the Word, in art, and in fellowship.

As missionaries we have learned the importance of always being prepared. In Puerto Rico we had the opportunity to share Christ’s love through the Psalm cards with our Sunday School children! We had a theological education class at church which was structured for adults. One of our members brought her three children, and I remembered I had prayer cards and some water color tissue paper in the back closet. We ended up spending over two hours painting prayer cards that we passed out at the Divine service the next day.

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In Ponce, Puerto Rico, art is everything. Expression in art form is all around. Working off of this cultural understanding, we worked with a short-term team from Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, IN and did a series of three Psalm card studies at a housing project near our congregation. We had a short devotion, sang the Psalm, and then colored a prayer card. We were pleased to see so many from different backgrounds come to learn and create art together.

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The Word never returns empty (Is. 55:11), and as missionaries we often have to remind ourselves of that. We don’t always see the fruits of our labors. However, we do know with complete confidence that when the Word was shared, not only was it heard, but it was seen, it was read, it was painted, it was colored, it was prayed. That’s one of the reasons we love the ministry of Visual Faith. For those of us who appreciate and take in the visual and the tactile aspect of learning, Visual Faith allows us to “inwardly digest” the Word to a whole different level.

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Jesus comes to us in our Baptism, in His Body and Blood, and through His Word — this is the gift we have as Christians. Visual Faith ministry helps us share this gift with our community; we give a piece of artwork with His Word and that endures forever (Is. 40:8). This is our hope and prayer for these cards.  We hope they give opportunities to take in the Word, to pray it, and to share it.

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Christel and Lizz

Christel and Lizz

Christel Neuendorf serves as deaconess and missionary for the LCMS in Ponce, PR alongside her husband, James. She cares for the women, children, and elderly in her congregation and community, often times using visual faith resources. Christel often does not leave home without her coffee in her Saved by Grace, Fueled by Coffee tumbler by Lizz Warren. ( https://www.etsy.com/listing/555035058/christian-coffee-travel-mug-saved-by?ref=shop_home_active_1)

Elizabeth Warren is an LCMS missionary wife serving alongside her husband, Blake, in the Dominican Republic.  She has four beautiful daughters.  She is raising three here on earth and has one waiting for her in heaven.

She is a lettering artist with an etsy shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/myalabasterflask?ref=shop_sugg ) and excited to contribute art to the Visual Faith resources. She is grateful for the grace and love of a forgiving Savior. She records her thoughts, feelings, and lessons learned about mission life, grief, and motherhood on her blog: myalabasterflask.com.

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Thank you, Christel & Lizz for sharing this amazing story and for the privilege of seeing how visual faith works in a foreign mission setting. You inspire us to be aware of and reach out in our own mission fields, which are often in our own communities, down the block, or right next door! Spanish resources, including the Sharing the Psalms devotions and prayer cards by Christel and Lizz, are available for ministry use at no cost on the Visual Faith Ministry website here: https://www.visualfaithmin.org/spanishresources .



Prayers for My Students

We have a number of projects on the website created around a flip-chart Prayer Calendar. One of them is for teachers to pray daily for their students. Probably I have thought about that as something a teacher makes and takes to her classroom. Here is the story of a twist on just how that might happen.

Teresa Davis is a Visual Faith Coach in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has been inviting her grandchildren to join her in visual faith practices for awhile now. This past week was “Grandma and Grandpa Camp” and one of the things that she had planned and prepared for was the creation of the prayer flip-chart. Luca and Leighton were making them  for their homeroom teachers  in the Lutheran School that they attend.

Teresa Davis is a Visual Faith Coach in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has been inviting her grandchildren to join her in visual faith practices for awhile now. This past week was “Grandma and Grandpa Camp” and one of the things that she had planned and prepared for was the creation of the prayer flip-chart. Luca and Leighton were making them for their homeroom teachers in the Lutheran School that they attend.

Teresa printed off the words and verses from the website and cut cardstock for the prayer pages. Fancy edge scissors, Washi tape, some Distress ink and assorted scrapbook pepper - and they were ON IT.

Teresa printed off the words and verses from the website and cut cardstock for the prayer pages. Fancy edge scissors, Washi tape, some Distress ink and assorted scrapbook pepper - and they were ON IT.

I think two of the teachers at Zion Concord Lutheran School in Bensenville, Illinois will be truly blessed with this beginning of school gift from these students. Visual Faith practices are truly adaptable, can be non-gendered and work for all ages to create. Thanks Luca and Leighton for showing JUST HOW THIS MIGHT LOOK.

I think two of the teachers at Zion Concord Lutheran School in Bensenville, Illinois will be truly blessed with this beginning of school gift from these students. Visual Faith practices are truly adaptable, can be non-gendered and work for all ages to create. Thanks Luca and Leighton for showing JUST HOW THIS MIGHT LOOK.

What Nehemiah Taught Me on My Summer Vacation

Educator and visual faith practitioner Elizabeth Valente describes for us the blessing of setting apart some vacation time for focused time in the Word …… we are grateful for her authentic and inspirational sharing!

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Like most educators, by the time May rolled around this year, I was ready for the end of another academic year. I was tired. I was weary. I still loved my middle schoolers, but we all were due for a break. I needed time to rest, renew, reflect, and reconnect. 

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Several years ago I discovered Bible journaling. I was intrigued - so I armed myself with a journaling Bible, some colored pencils, and an ever growing Pinterest board - and got to work. The perfectionist in me gave herself over to the experience, and I found myself interacting with scripture in a way I had never done before. I loved the fact that I was in The Word in a new and exciting way. I loved it so much that I brought it into my classroom, and weekly my students and I would take our morning religion time to read, reflect, write, and color in our Bibles. We all were using our Bibles in a new and unique way. It was beautiful to see. But....as this year progressed, my personal time journaling became less and less, pushed out by all the other things I “needed” to get done.

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The week after school got out, I sat in my quiet classroom looking at the empty seats and decided it was time to return to The Word. I immediately thought of Nehemiah. I desperately needed to rebuild my walls. I needed to renew my commitment to God, and rediscover what His Word had to tell me. Deciding that the double whammy of Word and prayer was necessary, I downloaded some prayer sheets from the Visual Faith website and got to work.

Here’s what I learned:

Nehemiah is one of my new favorite people - Jerusalem was broken and destroyed. It was a shadow of what it had been, and when Nehemiah heard this, what did he do? He mourned. He grieved for what was done to God’s city, but then....then he got up and got to work. Never doubting God, he got the king to grant him permission to go rebuild the walls, and he even convinced the king to get his buddies to donate materials to do so.

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When the time came, Nehemiah worked right along side the people, many times with a sword in one hand to fight the enemies that sought to stop them. He endured ridicule and conspiracies, all the while remaining faithful and strong in his convictions and God’s plan. He was generous with the people and made sure they were given what they needed for their bodies and their spirits. Oh - and he had no problem telling them when they’d messed up and to knock it off. In short, Nehemiah was pretty awesome.

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I don’t need a study guide - One of my problems with maintaining a regular devotional life has been that I didn’t quite know what to “do” with the Bible. That sounds ridiculous, coming from a synodically trained teacher, but there it is. I felt I needed a devotional or study guide to dig deeper into scripture. After all, I’d heard all these stories before, what more could I learn on my own?

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What I discovered was that I simply needed time to reflect, and the act of lettering and coloring gave me that time. I set myself the goal of reading a chapter each day and finding one sentence that spoke to me - one sentence that resonated. This was surprisingly easy to do. I discovered that this 21st century middle school teacher could relate to a 5th century BC cup bearer to a king. Just like Nehemiah, I need to be focused on the tasks God set before me, never doubting that He is in control and will bless the work I do. I too need strong hands, and a mind to work. I also need to be attentive to God’s Word and understand the work I accomplish is because our God is so very great. Over all of this, I should never forget that God is gracious, merciful, and abounding in love. These are the lessons God taught me as I pushed other distractions out of the way and gave Him my listening ear.

Visual prayer reflections from the first six chapters of Nehemiah, recorded on one of the “prayer spaces” - a free download from the Visual Faith Ministry website.

Visual prayer reflections from the first six chapters of Nehemiah, recorded on one of the “prayer spaces” - a free download from the Visual Faith Ministry website.

Prayer completed our exchange - Once I was finished in my Bible, I turned to my prayer page. By praying in color I was able to connect what I’d read to where I am. Much like the graphic organizers I use in my classroom, the sheets I used allowed me to focus what I’d read about and seek to apply it to my life. Right along with Nehemiah, I pleaded for God to hear me when I sang for joy and when I whispered His name. I prayed that He would strengthen me for the tasks He has called me to do, and I praised Him for His generosity and His omnipotence. Prayer is what solidified the timelessness and relevance of God’s Word.

Another example of “prayer spaces” used for visual prayer and praying scripture right into our daily lives!

Another example of “prayer spaces” used for visual prayer and praying scripture right into our daily lives!

I do have the time - As a woman who is a wife, a mother, and a full-time teacher, my time is not always my own. The excuse that I don’t have enough hours in my day, has been a favorite of mine for a while. Being on summer break removed that excuse, but I realized that no matter how busy my schedule is, “not having enough time” is a terribly flimsy defense. The time I’ve spent this summer wasn’t perfect; it wasn’t always uninterrupted time. There were moments when I’d put my headphones in to drown out the sounds of Peppa Pig or the five millionth repeat of “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin. There were plenty of instances when my reflections were interrupted by my daughter, who needed a hug or my help with something she was focused on. Sometimes I didn’t journal in my Bible and pray in the same moments. And sometimes, I missed days all together. And that’s okay.

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Despite all of that, God still richly blessed the time I did spend with Him. Before long, I found myself craving those moments, missing them when they didn’t happen. This is what, I believe, God truly wants from us in our quiet (and not so quiet) moments with Him. He wants us to hunger for what He has to share with us. He wants us to look forward to time with Him. He wants to shower us with His abundant love. As David so aptly described in Psalm 42, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.”  He wants to refresh us in ways we can’t even comprehend. For the first time, in a long time, I felt this thirst. It was marvelous.

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For me, Bible journaling and praying in color has become a touchstone, a way to feed my need to be creative, while reflecting on God’s Word and His many, many blessings.

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As summer quickly winds down, I am so thankful for the time I’ve gotten to be sill and remember that He is God. I will take the lessons I’ve learned from Nehemiah as I prepare for another school year and pray that God will continue to strengthen my hands for the good work He’s set before me.

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Elizabeth Valente is the 7/8th grade teacher at Trinity Lutheran School in Jackson. She teaches and uses visual faith practices in her classroom - and even includes a journaling Bible on her school supply list each year! This summer, along with journaling in her Bible, she used the 12 Prayer Spaces resource created by Ruth Schian for visual prayer.

To use this resource for your own visual prayer time, find it on the Visual Faith Ministry website here:

https://www.visualfaithmin.org/print-color-pray/prayer-spaces-by-ruth-schian



A Prayer Card Artist - Pamela Bryan

Some creative practices have been around for a long time- like card making. What sets apart this artist is the time spent in prayer as she makes each card. Meet Pamela Bryan..

Here is Pamela in her studio- art room. She is very excited about a renewed enthusiasm about her card ministry. She prays over each card and the person receiving the card. She feels that card-making is a lost art and is especially blessed by the practice of creating prayer cards.

Here is Pamela in her studio- art room. She is very excited about a renewed enthusiasm about her card ministry. She prays over each card and the person receiving the card. She feels that card-making is a lost art and is especially blessed by the practice of creating prayer cards.

Pamela learned about Praying in Color and how the practice helps us to slow down, pay attention and deal with distractions. She began to instill these same principles in her card-making. She now has about 50 stamps that contain Scripture. The quiet time space allows her to listen for God’s direction and she is delighted with the joy that card,making brings her.

Pamela learned about Praying in Color and how the practice helps us to slow down, pay attention and deal with distractions. She began to instill these same principles in her card-making. She now has about 50 stamps that contain Scripture. The quiet time space allows her to listen for God’s direction and she is delighted with the joy that card,making brings her.

Pamela retires January 2020 and is looking forward to what she sees as her ministry calling. What if churches made their own cards for shut ins? and those needing a special touch of love and encouragement? In today’s world our greatest commodity is our time. A hand-made card signifies the gift of time. Pamela believes that the Lord has answered prayer for retirement time with both a hobby and a ministry. Sometimes Visual Faith isn’t really about adding in something totally new to your life in time and practice. Perhaps it is simply being open to the training of our own spirit, with the work of the Holy Spirit, with something you are already doing. The focus is different-so the result is different. Simple card making becomes prayer cards.

Pamela retires January 2020 and is looking forward to what she sees as her ministry calling. What if churches made their own cards for shut ins? and those needing a special touch of love and encouragement? In today’s world our greatest commodity is our time. A hand-made card signifies the gift of time. Pamela believes that the Lord has answered prayer for retirement time with both a hobby and a ministry. Sometimes Visual Faith isn’t really about adding in something totally new to your life in time and practice. Perhaps it is simply being open to the training of our own spirit, with the work of the Holy Spirit, with something you are already doing. The focus is different-so the result is different. Simple card making becomes prayer cards.

Pamela adds a Bible verse to each card she makes. There is the physical use of crafting methods, but something supernatural happens when prayer covers both the making and the sending. It becomes a blessing to both the maker and the receiver under the direction of the Holy Spirit. She may not hear how the card was received- but she is faithful in answering the call - to send.

Pamela adds a Bible verse to each card she makes. There is the physical use of crafting methods, but something supernatural happens when prayer covers both the making and the sending. It becomes a blessing to both the maker and the receiver under the direction of the Holy Spirit. She may not hear how the card was received- but she is faithful in answering the call - to send.

Pamela is a member of the Visual Faith Ministry Team at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  She supports the events there and is excited about a growing Prayer Card Ministry- right where she worships  and serves. She gives thanks for the partnership and encouragement from Visual Faith Ministry for opening doors to see how a passion can become a ministry calling.

Pamela is a member of the Visual Faith Ministry Team at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

She supports the events there and is excited about a growing Prayer Card Ministry- right where she worships

and serves. She gives thanks for the partnership and encouragement from Visual Faith Ministry for opening doors to see how a passion can become a ministry calling.

Teens and Visual Faith


Visual Faith Coach Laura Bauer explains her heart for sharing visual faith with teens:

As a teenager, I have very vivid memories of waking up in the morning and stumbling into the kitchen to find my father sitting at the table with his Bible open. At the time I did not think anything special of it, but looking back now I view this memory as a precious gift. My parents diligently took us to church every Sunday morning as many families do, but finding my dad sitting regularly immersed in the word of Christ throughout the week reaffirmed the knowledge that Christ and the Bible were not simply a program that parents dumped their children at once a week, but rather the place to find Truth in a world that felt tumultuous. My dad didn’t just give Christ lip service, Christ is his foundation and therefore spending time daily in the word was natural for Him.

Laura with two of her children - spending creative, meaningful time in the Word together.

Laura with two of her children - spending creative, meaningful time in the Word together.

Sitting at the table with my Bible and colored pencils is becoming a more common thing in my home and more often than not, when I am working on a journal entry or a page in my Bible, one of my four children will approach me and ask if they can Bible journal alongside me. My teens many times do not ask to join in, they simply grab some supplies and sit down.


Creative response to Proverbs 27:17 by Micah Bauer, 14.

Creative response to Proverbs 27:17 by Micah Bauer, 14.

Activities that are multi-generational and enjoyable regardless of your gender are very hard to find, but visual faith seems to be just that. We often joke that as adults we need an invitation to color, the same can sometimes be said of teenagers. So many teens have such amazing artistic talent and simply need an invitation to use it.

Visual faith responses by teens

Visual faith responses by teens

The great thing about visual faith is that it busies the hands which frees up the mind for meditation on a verse or even deep conversation with another individual. A teen may not spend time meditating on a verse alone or working on a journal entry by themselves. Many teens will be quick to jump at the opportunity to sit with an admired adult free of phones and social media and chat while illustrating a verse. As an adult and parent it is so easy to convince ourselves that our teenagers really do not want anything to do with us. In some cases this may be true, but for the most part I truly believe that most teenagers long to know that the adults in their life have time for them and a desire to spend that time with them.


An “accordian book” visual faith project

An “accordian book” visual faith project

At Redeemer in Interlochen, we have attempted to add visual faith periodically to our youth group lessons sometimes on their own and sometimes combined with adults. It does not take much encouraging to convince teenagers to grab some art supplies and illustrate a verse whether at home or at church!

During a lesson on learning how to study the Bible, we created accordian books and filled the inside with ideas and directions about where to begin. On one side the youth included questions to ask themselves when looking at a section of scripture: Are there other verses that apply to my understanding of this passage? Who was the author and the audience? What is the theme? Are there any key words or verbs? What people and places are talked about? When does this take place? What, if any, challenges are faced? How does this apply to me?


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On the other side, the kids came up with topics that they would be interested in studying, such as: anger, conflict, money, dating, love, animals, and friendship. The idea behind the accordian books is that it would be something they could use as a guideline when they want to spend time in God’s Word, but have no idea where to begin.

Faces tell the story of an enjoyable visual faith experience!

Faces tell the story of an enjoyable visual faith experience!

As with any visual faith practice, the best way to encourage others to join is by doing it yourself in a visible fashion. When you exude excitement about an activity, that excitement becomes contagious and others naturally want to be part of it!

A few pages from Laura’s personal Bible.

A few pages from Laura’s personal Bible.

Give teens permission and encouragement to color and illustrate verses and you will find that the verses that they take the time to work with will work their way into a permanent spot in the teenagers mind and heart which will later be useful when the world threatens to distract him or her from Christ. The youth in your life whether they are your children, grandchildren or friends are watching you and learning how to be adults.

Painting by Rachael, age 16, who created this as a confirmation banner for a friend.

Painting by Rachael, age 16, who created this as a confirmation banner for a friend.

Most teenagers will never come right out and say it, but they long for deep solid relationships with adults as well as other teens. Visual faith can be a marvelous bridge between our youth, adults and even older members of the congregation.

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Laura is mother to four energetic children, wife of an adventurous LCMS pastor, and a baptized child of God. With background as a DCE (Director of Christian Education) and in Elementary education, she was introduced to Bible journaling in 2016 and has been amazed at the depth and richness it has added to her devotional time and prayer life. Creative - but not necessarily artistic - Laura enjoys working with groups of all sizes to share practical ways that even the “artistically challenged” can benefit from and experience the hope and peace that comes by spending time in God's word. She is also excited to share ways that families and youth can use visual faith to grow closer to each other and more importantly to Christ.

VISUAL FAITH at the Michigan District Youth Gathering

Visual Faith Coach Valerie Matyas shares about her experience leading a sectional on Visual Faith practices at a junior high youth event:

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Over 300 junior high youth from Lutheran churches throughout Michigan gathered in Frankenmuth, MI, May 31-June 2, 2019 for this year’s Michigan District Jr. High Youth Gathering. The theme this year was #TRUTH ~ “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) On Saturday, four breakout sectionals were offered on the campus of St. Lorenz Lutheran School in Frankenmuth. Each sectional ran for 45 minutes and was offered four times throughout the day. One hundred twenty-five youth and their adult leaders experienced Visual Faith in the cafeteria of St. Lorenz.

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Using index cards, sharpie pens, pencils, colored pencils and washi tape, participants took time to meditate on scripture through creative and intentional reflection.

We learned three different hand-lettered fonts to capture the word Truth. Taking time to draw helps the mind connect between its two hemispheres. Drawing helps us to remember, so that we can recall it later for our personal spiritual benefit or to share our meditation with others.

By placing the word ‘truth’ in the center of an index card, we were able to create physical and mental space to give thought to the Truth that Scripture describes, and how it differs from the half-truth society spins. We discussed being ever mindful of knowing the pure Truth of scripture versus the deceptive truth of the world.

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We had time to touch briefly on topics such as sex, marriage, money, and obedience. We discussed what society is trying to portray as truth, and what Scripture reveals as real Truth. Being rooted in the Word, seeking God with your whole heart, knowing that His Word is real Truth, offers us direction (curb), reflection (mirror), and information (guide).

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We also had an opportunity to create a Scripture Doodle (a basic illustration) of the theme verse.

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Everyone added their own personal touch. The purpose of a Scripture Doodle is to allow yourself time to linger longer in the Word. It gives your brain an opportunity to read, reflect, and respond, so that you can remember and reach out.

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Drawing helps us to remember. It allows scripture to sink deeper into the soul. Even the most basic of drawings allows a moment to slow down and think it through.

The sectional was hands-on, tangible, interactive, and reflective. It was a quick 45 minutes, jammed packed with opportunities to practice and experience Visual Faith processes. Participants ranged from 12 years old to 62 years old — it was time well spent.

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To find out what a junior high youth gathering might look like and see Valerie in action - you can check out the video here:

https://youtu.be/bPk1u_cGfUw

Valerie Matyas is the Educational Development Consultant at Visual Faith Ministry. As a Visual Faith Classroom Coach, she joins a love for all things Visual Faith with the heart passion of an educator to forge new pathways into schools and congregational life. She is a graduate student at Concordia University - Ann Arbor, MI, pursuing a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Valerie is passionate about Parochial Education as well as supporting and encouraging professional church workers and laity in their personal devotional and prayer lives. She seeks to encourage God's people, of all ages, to literally draw closer to Him through creative reflection and loves to develop tools to open these faith-sharing doors for her family and others.

Lenten Practices Roundup- Part 1

Lenten practices Roundup!

Deaconess Sally Hiller shares some of the visuals for her Lenten journey- which includes a devotional station, traceable Lord’s Prayer cross, and coloring calendars. Sometimes having the spot for meditation makes it “doable.”

Deaconess Sally Hiller shares some of the visuals for her Lenten journey- which includes a devotional station, traceable Lord’s Prayer cross, and coloring calendars. Sometimes having the spot for meditation makes it “doable.”

Part of the the encouragement of the Visual Faith Community is the sharing of the various ways practices are carried out, adapted, and invented for Liturgical Seasons of the Church Year. Here is a round up of some of the offerings from Visual Faith Coaches in our community. This photos shows the meditation words for Lent by Visual Faith Coach Faye Krans as a free-hand drawn page.

Part of the the encouragement of the Visual Faith Community is the sharing of the various ways practices are carried out, adapted, and invented for Liturgical Seasons of the Church Year. Here is a round up of some of the offerings from Visual Faith Coaches in our community. This photos shows the meditation words for Lent by Visual Faith Coach Faye Krans as a free-hand drawn page.

Visual Faith Coach Lisa Brass used a downloadable calendar designed by Rachel Hinz on our website to gather her words for prayer time.

Visual Faith Coach Lisa Brass used a downloadable calendar designed by Rachel Hinz on our website to gather her words for prayer time.

This shows part of the journey of Children’s minister and Visual Faith Coach Belinda Bost who shared the Lenten practice that was distributed in her church community in Conover, North Carolina. What a great way to add a dimension that is doable by a family system together.

This shows part of the journey of Children’s minister and Visual Faith Coach Belinda Bost who shared the Lenten practice that was distributed in her church community in Conover, North Carolina. What a great way to add a dimension that is doable by a family system together.

A subdued color palette evokes a Lenten journey on the Lent calendar designed and colored by Pat Maier.

A subdued color palette evokes a Lenten journey on the Lent calendar designed and colored by Pat Maier.

Small images and a word or phrase are collected to make meaningful stopping points in a Lent meditation.

Small images and a word or phrase are collected to make meaningful stopping points in a Lent meditation.

These calendars were shared by Visual Faith Coach Jamee Thieme that were meaningful to her this year in her devotional time.

These calendars were shared by Visual Faith Coach Jamee Thieme that were meaningful to her this year in her devotional time.

Some years the Lent readings require the use of two calendars to collect the words and visual story. Visual Faith Coach Bev Wicher shares her journey with a 2019 calendar and an older version from the Visual Faith Ministry website that she used this year.

Some years the Lent readings require the use of two calendars to collect the words and visual story. Visual Faith Coach Bev Wicher shares her journey with a 2019 calendar and an older version from the Visual Faith Ministry website that she used this year.

The I AM statements were the focus for Lent for Ann Gillaspie- a Visual Faith Coach. She enjoyed doodling in t the negative spaces as she continued to contemplate what the I Am statements meant to her.

The I AM statements were the focus for Lent for Ann Gillaspie- a Visual Faith Coach. She enjoyed doodling in t the negative spaces as she continued to contemplate what the I Am statements meant to her.

Books, blog posts and short Lent devotional readings can all be the stimulus for collecting words and phrases for a calendar. The time spent coloring allows the space for the Holy Spirit to help make the application to our own lives. Thanks to Visual Faith coach- Eden Keefe- for sharing her images.

Books, blog posts and short Lent devotional readings can all be the stimulus for collecting words and phrases for a calendar. The time spent coloring allows the space for the Holy Spirit to help make the application to our own lives. Thanks to Visual Faith coach- Eden Keefe- for sharing her images.

We love when a visual faith practitioner shares their story and journey with us. Thanks to Stacy Obermueller for doing just that! There is  not  JUST ONE WAY to make these practices work. We thank the Lord that these are adaptable, evolving journeys that each person makes work for just who they are and where they are in their own spiritual formation. That is a real Easter blessing!

We love when a visual faith practitioner shares their story and journey with us. Thanks to Stacy Obermueller for doing just that! There is not JUST ONE WAY to make these practices work. We thank the Lord that these are adaptable, evolving journeys that each person makes work for just who they are and where they are in their own spiritual formation. That is a real Easter blessing!

Carla Kramer- Tangle Artist

Tangle Artist- Carla Kramer lives in Norman, Oklahoma. This former elementary teacher began exploring time in retirement with different quilting and sketching projects. During this time she ” happened “to stumble onto a book about tangling. She thought this would stretch her creativity with quilting. But, she started down a path of combining tangles with God’s Word. Her love of the Lord and His Word made it a natural way to witness to the gift of faith He has given her and to honor Him for who He is!

Tangle Artist- Carla Kramer lives in Norman, Oklahoma. This former elementary teacher began exploring time in retirement with different quilting and sketching projects. During this time she ” happened “to stumble onto a book about tangling. She thought this would stretch her creativity with quilting. But, she started down a path of combining tangles with God’s Word. Her love of the Lord and His Word made it a natural way to witness to the gift of faith He has given her and to honor Him for who He is!

Carla creates tangle Bible verse cards that we are calling Versicles for Visual Faith Ministry. A Versicle is a short sentence or verse said or sung- with a following response. These prayer cards are the invitation and your time in praying over the verse and /or coloring - is the response.

Carla creates tangle Bible verse cards that we are calling Versicles for Visual Faith Ministry. A Versicle is a short sentence or verse said or sung- with a following response. These prayer cards are the invitation and your time in praying over the verse and /or coloring - is the response.

The black pen images are intricate and provide thoughtful prayer meditation images just as they are designed.

The black pen images are intricate and provide thoughtful prayer meditation images just as they are designed.

The Bible verse images can also be finished with colored pencils or pens.

The Bible verse images can also be finished with colored pencils or pens.

They are also available in the resources on the Visual Faith Ministry website as an image with space to fill in your own prayer or Bible Verse.

They are also available in the resources on the Visual Faith Ministry website as an image with space to fill in your own prayer or Bible Verse.

Carla also offers a Bible Study on the Hebrew names of the Lord. This study has a brief devotion with a tangled image that depicts the Hebrew name.

Carla also offers a Bible Study on the Hebrew names of the Lord. This study has a brief devotion with a tangled image that depicts the Hebrew name.

Here are the images that go with the Name of the Lord study. They can be printed on cardstock with an attached O ring for a study review. The images would serve for a variety of Make and Take projects and creative applications. We give thanks for the artistic gifts of Carla as a new team Member for Visual Faith Ministry and are blessed that she shares her beautiful images with our community.

Here are the images that go with the Name of the Lord study. They can be printed on cardstock with an attached O ring for a study review. The images would serve for a variety of Make and Take projects and creative applications. We give thanks for the artistic gifts of Carla as a new team Member for Visual Faith Ministry and are blessed that she shares her beautiful images with our community.

Visual Prayer - Preschool Style

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Sara DeYarmond is a preschool teacher Our Savior Lutheran School in Lansing, Michigan. She herself is a graduate of Our Savior and returned to teach at her elementary alma mater. Sara and others from the Our Savior staff attended their church women’s retreat, called “Linger Longer”, where they learned about visual prayer. Excited about including visual faith practices in the classroom, Sara decided to use an Advent coloring calendar to help her little students focus on prayer in the weeks before Christmas.

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Sara printed off Advent coloring calendars from the Visual Faith Ministry website. There are many images to choose from under Seasonal Resources. This simple star image by Bev Wicher is perfect for young students. You can find it here: https://www.visualfaithmin.org/seasonal/advent-calendar-23-spaces-by-bev-wicher

Sara explains: “They pray out loud as they color and then we help them write the name of the person they prayed for in the box.”

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As part of this group process, Sara encourages her students to all pray out loud at the same time. Sara adds: “It’s a little crazy...and adorable. They have the option to find a quiet space away from the group if they choose.” Just imagine the sweet harmony of so many tiny voices talking to Jesus!

If you have experience with teaching preschool, or have had the chance to observe an early elementary classroom, you’ll probably agree that attention spans are limited and distraction is a given! Visual prayer corresponds with the skills of little ones who like to color and helps with focus and attention as they learn to pray. The children can “see” their conversations with God, go home to “tell” about them, and keep this new skill to use and develop as they grow in their faith.

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Visual prayer is for all ages. It’s for careful colorers, for those who color ouside the lines, and for those who might write words but choose not to color at all. It works for boys as well as girls, for women and men. Visual prayer has great impact on personal prayer time and, as in this case, lends itself well to the group prayers of even the tiniest of God’s people.

Thanks for sharing, Sara DeYarmond!

- Pat Maier

PREPARE YE THE WAY TO A MEANINGFUL ADVENT

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Visual Faith Ministry is excited to share some new resources available on our website to bless you, your family, and your ministry during this Advent Season of reflection and preparation.

The Advent season varies in length, starting on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day and always ends on Christmas Eve. The word “Advent” comes from a Latin phrase meaning “coming”. It’s important (as we struggle with hectic schedules, distractions, and expectations) that we remember the many years God’s people were longing for the coming of the promised Savior, give thanks that Jesus did come for our salvation, and anticipate the sure hope of His second coming. How do we do this with the distractions of holiday schedules, expectations, and to-do lists? How can we help ourselves to hear His “still small voice”? (1 Kings 19:12)

This year Advent begins on Sunday, Dec. 2 - it will help to have resources ready and on hand to bless your time with the Lord. Here’s what you will find on our website under Seasonal Resources.

Jesse Tree Devotional Readings, Devotions, and Ornaments to Color

Jesse Tree Devotional Readings, Devotions, and Ornaments to Color

The Jesse Tree resource is a free download which comes in two parts and was created by Visual Faith Coaches Valerie Matyas and Katie Helmreich. Part 1 includes a listing of the complete readings and ornaments to cut out and color, and Part 2 is a Devotional Booklet that includes the readings plus a short devotion that can be read in addition to the reading and coloring of the ornaments.

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Use the Jesse Tree resources by setting aside a few moments each day to dwell in His Word. Meditate on His truth and promises for you as you color or decorate each ornament. Place the ornaments where you and your family will see them often and recall God’s goodness together. This project lends itself to personal study, family or classroom devotions, or as a multi-generational church gathering project. You can download this project here:

https://www.visualfaithmin.org/new-products-2/jesse-tree-readings-devotions-amp-ornaments-part-1-by-matyashelmreich

https://www.visualfaithmin.org/new-products/jesse-tree-devotional-booklet-part-2-by-matyashelmreich

Advent Devotional Calendar by Bev Wicher

Advent Devotional Calendar by Bev Wicher

An Advent Devotional Calendar is a visual faith focus tool that creates space in your busy day to record a prayer thought or image from your daily devotion. The printed page encourages daily faithful consistancy yet requires only a few extra minutes of time. After reading a short devotion or Bible reading, take a moment to ask yourself what word(s) or image might remind you of God’s Word for you this day. Add this to a space on the calendar - color is optional and can be added during later reflection if time is short. The end result with be a “selfie” of your time with God and help you remember the specific blessings of time in His Word.

Advent Calendar by Pat Maier

Advent Calendar by Pat Maier

Another fun option - which works well for families with older children or small groups - is to choose an Advent devotional series and challenge everyone to reflect and add a hashtag for each day. Pat Maier created a group text for her family and sent a picture of the devotion each day. As hashtags were texted throughout the day, they inspired further reflection or anticipation of the devotional truth in order to understand the hashtags! [Personal note: “Not all my children used the calendar, so the hashtag idea can stand alone. Whatever works!”]

New Advent Calendars for 2018

New Advent Calendars for 2018

These Advent Calendars are new to our website this year. You can download them, as well as others, under Seasonal Resources here:

https://www.visualfaithmin.org/seasonal/advent-calendar-23-spaces-by-bev-richter

https://www.visualfaithmin.org/seasonal/advent-calendar-2018-23-spaces-by-pat-maier

The Advent Calendar templates can also be used as a prayer focus tool by adding a different person or circumstance to pray for each day.

The Visual Church Year - Sermon Note Inserts for December

The Visual Church Year - Sermon Note Inserts for December

A final resource to bless your heart preparation this Advent is The Visual Church Year - available under the Worship Resources Tab on our website. It is a collaboration of many volunteer artists - and includes a sermon note insert and children’s bulletin. The images and text reflect the assigned gospel readings of the lectionary of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod each week. (If you belong to another church, many of the images will likely illustrate the Advent readings of your Christian church as well.)

The Visual Church Year -  “My Worship Notes”  Children’s Bulletins for December

The Visual Church Year - “My Worship Notes” Children’s Bulletins for December

“My Worship Notes” are engaging children’s bulletins which encourage children to participate in worship. This is a 4-page booklet style resource which includes the margin image of the corresponding sermon note insert as well as other images to color or fill in. Our hope is that it will encourage conversation within families during time together following a service and even into the week.

You can find The Visual Church Year here - the Graphics Only choice provides graphics for church offices to use as bulletin covers or to print within their own bulletins:

https://www.visualfaithmin.org/new-products?category=Visual%20Church%20Year

God bless you as you prepare to celebrate the birthday of Jesus, our Savior and King!

-- The Visual Faith Ministry Team

Scripture Doodles

Sometime a Visual Faith practice is about the obedience of moving in the same direction over a long period of time…. like a month or a year.

This is a Scripture doodle that Connie Denninger formatted to fit a Traveler’s notebook or journal. The calendar is cut into thirds and then added to the pages of a journal. All sorts of possibilities are open for marking the journey.

This is a Scripture doodle that Connie Denninger formatted to fit a Traveler’s notebook or journal. The calendar is cut into thirds and then added to the pages of a journal. All sorts of possibilities are open for marking the journey.

Patricia Maier has also been experimenting with calander pages and tiny billboard reminders of devotional readings.

Patricia Maier has also been experimenting with calander pages and tiny billboard reminders of devotional readings.

Bev Wicher- a Visual Faith Coach team member, also uses a Traveler’s notebook. Sometimes limiting color pencil choices to 4-5 a month allow for a color scheme to convey an over all journey. Images can be used and it can also be one word or a phrase. It is not about the artistry for this practice. It is about the heart meditation.

Bev Wicher- a Visual Faith Coach team member, also uses a Traveler’s notebook. Sometimes limiting color pencil choices to 4-5 a month allow for a color scheme to convey an over all journey. Images can be used and it can also be one word or a phrase. It is not about the artistry for this practice. It is about the heart meditation.

Visual Faith Coach Eden Keefe used a download from Little House studio and matched her thematic color choices to the image on the calendar page. Simple can be very effective.

Visual Faith Coach Eden Keefe used a download from Little House studio and matched her thematic color choices to the image on the calendar page. Simple can be very effective.

Adding in the Scripture references allows a return to the calendar for meditation and to see just where the readings have led Visual Faith Coach- Jamee Thieme. The calendar method can be used with ANY devotional or Scripture reading practice. The calendar is just a tool to chart the journey.

Adding in the Scripture references allows a return to the calendar for meditation and to see just where the readings have led Visual Faith Coach- Jamee Thieme. The calendar method can be used with ANY devotional or Scripture reading practice. The calendar is just a tool to chart the journey.

Here we see how Karen Hunter used the same resource— Portals of Prayer and it ends up in the margin in her Journaling Bible

Here we see how Karen Hunter used the same resource— Portals of Prayer and it ends up in the margin in her Journaling Bible

It is really about the story of a collaborative learning community using faith practices to walk together. They can have multiple applications, and a variety of process adaptations. But, the beauty of these stories? They make everyone an eager conversationalist about what they SEE the Lord is doing in their life. The makes us a witness to talk about His faithfulness as we grown in our discipleship journey.

It is really about the story of a collaborative learning community using faith practices to walk together. They can have multiple applications, and a variety of process adaptations. But, the beauty of these stories? They make everyone an eager conversationalist about what they SEE the Lord is doing in their life. The makes us a witness to talk about His faithfulness as we grown in our discipleship journey.