Stained Glass

Visio
Divina

For centuries Christians have connected with God through visual images such as icons, stained glass windows, artwork, and nature.  Visio Divina is a method for focusing on a visual image and allowing its beauty, symbolism, and movement of God to inspire connection with the Holy.  Our assumption is that God is in all things.  We are not worshiping the images, but simply asking God to reveal Himself in them as we pray with them.

Here are some steps that you might find helpful in focusing on and praying with images:
  • Find an image  or go with one that God is drawing to your attention – you might already have an image that you want to focus on, but if you don’t search the web (simply entering a scripture reference into Google and clicking on images can often bring up interesting pieces), walk outside into nature, walk into a church with stained glass windows, visit an art museum….  The images do not have to be labeled “Christian Art.”  Any image can speak to you of God’s presence.  Sometimes God can use disturbing images to speak the most loudly to our souls.  When your heart is drawn to an image, go with it.  Don’t over think the selection process.

  • Settle yourself before the image.  Reflection happens most powerfully in silence, but sometimes this is not possible (e.g. in an art museum or public space).  Closing your eyes, settling your spirit, breathing deeply, and asking God to speak through the image can prepare your heart to be open to God’s movement.

  • Spend some time looking at the entire image.  What is your first impression?  How does the image make you feel?  What are you thinking.  Close your eyes, take time.  Let God speak.

  • Open your eyes.  Notice what God draws to your attention.  Focus in on details.  Close your eyes and ask God to speak again.  What meaning do these details have in the message He wants you to receive?

  • Notice your feelings and thoughts.  Take your time with this.  Sit quietly and let God speak.

  • Talk to God about the experience you’ve had with this image.  Jot some notes in your journal.  End with a prayer of gratitude for the artist, the experience, and God’s presence.