Praying out of Seeing

The Practice of Visio Divina

Quote from the Book:

Lectio Divina is a way we pray the Scripture. Visio Divina, holy seeing, is a way to pray with the eyes. Anyone can be blind to God’s fingerprints on creation. But if we pay attention, oh what beauty can tell us.

In One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp writes, “All beauty is only reflection. And whether I am conscious of it or not, any created thing of which I am amazed, it is the glimpse of His face to which I bow down…Looking is the love. Looking is the evidence of the believing.: Visio Divina is a way to behold created beauty and lead us to prayer.

The Practice:

1. Choose for yourself an image. It can be a folded flower you cut from the garden, a leaf, a carved bird, a photograph, a piece of art (religious or otherwise).

2. Let your inside noise quiet, and put yourself in God’s presence. Invite the Holy Spirit to guide your prayer.

3. Gaze at the image with openness, and seek to see with God’s eyes.

4. Notice what stirs within you. What responses, memories and feelings does the image evoke? What connection does the image make with your life? Take your time.

5. Respond to God about what you are seeing and sensing. What do you want to take with you and remember about this time of prayer? Let the image continue to remind you to seek God.

Other Ideas for Visio Divina Spiritual Exercises:

1. Go for a walk in nature. As you walk, notice where your attention is being drawn. Stop. Let this speak to you about God, life, yourself, etc. Talk to God about what came up in you.

2. Create something beautiful – either on your own or with a group – collages, art work, photography, banners, etc. Let the process of creating draw you into prayer.

If you would like a picture to work with, here are two choices that I have been touched by and a few reflection questions to go with them.

First Picture: Mother on a bench with two children:

Reflection Questions: Which person in this picture do you identify with? What do you notice about who you have picked? (Posture, sense of person, what you think the person is looking at, how the person is relating to the other two people) What emotion is being evoked in you? What does looking at this with God stir in you? What part of yourself and/or your life does it press on? Is there an invitation from God in it?

Second Picture: Simeon discovering the Christ Child:

Reflection Questions: Who are you in this picture? Imagine yourself there as that person. What do you see, hear, smell, etc.? If you are not Simeon, what happens in you/what thoughts do you have as you see Simeon hold the baby this way. When you hear him tell God that he is ready to die now that he has seen the Saviour? Whether you are Mary or Joseph, or the prophetess, Anna, what emotion is present? Fear? Awe? Joy? Where does this attach to your present life? If you are Simeon, what does it feel like to have Christ revealed in this way? To hold Him? To lift Him up to God?

Pray out of whatever engagement you have chosen.

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