Praying the Psalms using Mandalas
The psalms are prayers that express the heartfelt thoughts of the psalmists to God. Reading the psalms is a bit like reading the spiritual diaries of many different people during happy times, sad times, times of despair and times of sheer gratitude for all that God has done.
One way to pray using the psalms is to lead students through the process of creating their own mandala for prayer.
Mandalas have a long tradition of being used for prayer within the Christian tradition. Christian Mandalas were created by St. Hildegard von Bingen in the 1100’s, and today there is a growing awareness of how mandalas can be used as a tool for prayer. There are some examples of St. Hildegard von Bingen’s mandalas on the Facebook page in the reference list. June Mears Driedger provides a good example of someone using mandalas for prayer on her website, where she interviews Shelley Szoza.
Another useful resource is Color Mandalas as this website provides many different templates and a very easy way of “colouring” mandalas online with the click of a button. This is good for helping students to generate ideas and see the way that different colours can change the whole feel of a mandala.
IMPORTANT: Please do not provide students with a template for a mandala as the spiritual meaning of a mandala is that the circle shape represents the person’s whole life, so each student needs to fill in the details of the mandala in a way that appropriately reflects his or her own life at this point in time. No mandala is ever the same for that reason.
Apart from the bible, psalms can be found at the following places:
- The BibleGateway website which now includes the Catholic edition of the New Revised Standard Version of the bible, generally accepted as a very good translation to use with students.
- The lectionary for Masses with children is also a great resource. Look up the index at the back to find the particular psalms you are searching for.
The mandala images used on the activity page have all come from the Light-weaver website.
BibleGateway. Viewed 5 March 2013. <http://www.biblegateway.com>
Color Mandalas. Viewed 5 March 2013. <http://www.colormandala.com/>
Driedger, June M. Posted 24 August 2011. Praying with Mandalas: An interview with Shelley Skoza. June Mears Driedger: Exploring the intersection of faith and creativity. Viewed 5 March 2013. <http://junemearsdriedger.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/praying-with-mandalas-an-interview-with-shelley-szoza/>
Facebook page on St Hildegard von Bingen, viewed 5 March 2013. <http://www.facebook.com/pages/St-Hildegard-von-Bingen/106189626161122>
Click on the photo album St Hildegard and her Christian Mandalas.