"Dancer and mathematics instructor MacBeth's charming book may be the first to combine the pleasures of doodling with a discussion of, among other things, lectio divina. Here, she shows how simple drawings-often hardly more than circles and lines with names or ideas or places sketched in and enlivened with color-can focus the praying heart, making prayer something better than a shopping list or a chore and helping the praying believer to carry the wishes and thoughts of the prayer through the day. MacBeth's book is not for unbelievers or those who do not pray; it is directed to those suffering something more like spiritual attention deficit disorder. Still, it is one of the most appealing books on prayer to appear in the last five years. Highly recommended."
Library Journal May 1, 2007
"Just as Julia Cameron, in The Artist's Way, showed the hardened Harvard businessman he had a creative artist lurking within, MacBeth makes it astonishingly clear that anyone with a box of colors and some paper can have a conversation with God. Frustrated by a laundry list of what she calls "prayer dilemmas," and the unfortunate situations of more than half a dozen friends and family members on her "critical prayer list," MacBeth, a math professor by trade, spent an afternoon doodling before she realized she'd in fact spent the afternoon in prayer. As she takes particular care to emphasize, this method most effective for intercessory prayer, but adaptable for other approaches requires absolutely no skill, merely a desire to connect with God. (Readers should therefore ignore any lingering self-doubt planted by a first grade art teacher.) Amid gentle personal anecdotes, MacBeth illustrates each step of the process, providing not just instruction but inspiration by sharing her own prayer pages as well as those of her students. She even includes a chapter on using one's computer for the process. Readers of all ages, experience and religions will find this a fresh, invigorating and even exhilarating way to spend time with themselves and their Creator." Publisher's Weekly January 31, 2007
"Sybil MacBeth, a mathmatics instructor by profession, and dancer by avocation, has written, and doodled, a daring devotional. Praying In Color: Drawing a New Path to God**** chronicles her 'experiments in intercession and challenges readers to take pens and paper in hand and, well, intercede. Although the daughter and granddaughter of artists, MacBeth was convinced by her own ugly artworkthat something "had gone awry in the tossing of the genetic salad." Her point: The absence of skill presents no barrier to an individual's discoveries linking doodling and prayer. That's because prayer involves trust and being real before God.MacBeth's doodling discoveries came from a crisis. About three years ago, a litany of cancers—lung, brain, breast —struck among family, friends, and colleagues. The suffering within her circle was overwhelming. Worry became her starting point—but not her stopping point. Even now, she writes, "worry invites me to prayer." As a teacher facing a summer off, MacBeth had no papers to grade but instead possessed what she calls a "critical prayer list." Going to the back porch, she doodled a random shape and wrote a name in its center. "The name belonged to one of the people on my prayer list. I stayed with the same shape and the name, adding detail and color to the drawing. Each dot, each line, and each stroke of color became another moment of time spent with the person in the center."When she sensed the time was right, she moved to another part of the page and drew another shape and put another name in its middle. She embellished it with lines, dots, colors. She continued drawing new shapes and names until her friends and family formed a colorful community of designs. "To my surprise," she writes, "I had not just doodled—I had prayed."MacBeth has been leading workshops in the U.S.about praying in color for two years. Her book contains balloons, labyrinths, vegetables, clovers, triangles, kites, quilts, calendars with prayer requests and names, and purposefully shaped squiggles. She recommends 15 to 30 minutes for the process, half spent in drawing and the other half in carrying the visual memories or actual images throughout the day.Instead of being a prayer warrior, she calls herself "a prayer popper," one who prays in fits and spurts with "half-formed pleas and intercessions, and bursts of gratitude and rage."MacBeth is transparent, accessible, and human. She exercises what she calls spiritual imagination as she works on, in, and through prayer.She trusts herself enough to experiment, mess up, and try again in prayer. She trusts God enough to guide her as she falters, succeeds, and grows stronger. Her book emboldens others to trust their instincts, too."
—Robin Gallaher Branch, professor of biblical studies, Crichton College Christianity Today January 28, 2008