Eastertide is the 50 days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. I would like to invite you to a prayer practice that I find helpful for me during the 50 days of Eastertide. It is called Visio Divina.
Huston Smith was a mentor, teacher, scholar and friend. He wrote: “Without attention, the human sense of wonder and the holy will stir occasionally, but to become a steady flame it must be tended.” One way I tend the flame of wonder and holy is a practice called Visio Divina. It is also known as Sacred Seeing. It is similar to the prayer practice called Lectio Divina (divine reading), but uses visual forms instead of readings. I normally spend 15-30 minutes each morning doing this prayer. During the 50 Days of Eastertide I am going to post a photo of an icon, nature or painting and invite you to try this form of tending the flame of wonder and the holy.
Before you begin be sure you have the image ready to look at in some way; on your computer, phone or perhaps printed out ahead of time.
1. Close your eyes, breathe, clear your mind, and ask God to enter into this time of prayer with you and to speak to you through the image.
2. Open your eyes and look at the image. Let your eyes pause and focus on the part of the image that you are first drawn to. Gaze upon just that part of the image for a minute or two. Is there an emotion or word that speaks to you? Are there questions that come to mind? Then close your eyes, still seeing that part of the image in your mind.
3. Open your eyes and now look upon the whole image. Is there an emotion or word that speaks to you? Are there questions that come to mind?
4. Close your eyes again and rest in God as long as you need to.
5. Open your eyes. While looking upon the image, respond to God. Pray through the words, images, emotions, questions, and thoughts that are now on your heart. Continue to look upon the image as you pray.
6. Close your eyes and rest your eyes briefly.
7. Open your eyes and gaze again upon the image as you finish your prayer time. Reflect upon this prayer experience. Consider how you’ll take this into your life. You may choose to journal about your experience.