The Painted Prayerbook

Thanks for opening the pages of The Painted Prayerbook. With original artwork by Jan Richardson, this blog explores the intersections of writing, art, and faith, plus a few other things besides. Its pages include a weekly reflection on a text from the lectionary (the three-year cycle of readings that take us through much of the Bible). These lectionary reflections emerge from a process of lectio divina (“sacred reading”), the ancient art of praying with sacred texts, including the text of our own life.

The art pieces that appear with the weekly lectionary reflections are painted paper collages that Jan creates as part of the process of doing lectio with the texts.

For more about The Painted Prayerbook, please visit this post.

23 Responses to “The Painted Prayerbook”

  1. Rev. Charlotte Hendee Says:

    I am so delighted to have found a link to this website! Thank you!

  2. Lujet McCullough Says:

    Wonderful work! I am a nut for art, paintings in particular, and dance. Your blog is stunning.

    Thanks for the inspiration of it.

    Lujet McCullough

  3. Mike Button Says:

    Thank you for your insight, both written and visual. My daughter is an artist who also explores the intersection of art and faith. Her website is



  4. Nancy Phipps Says:

    I just happened to see a link as I was reading something else. Yippeee! It’s wonderful. Thanks for the imaging both for the eye and mind. Blessings, Nancy

  5. Randy Lubers Says:

    Thank you for the gift of the triple spiral! I found your blog on this Monday after Pentecost… as I and many other pastors begin the week praying (pleading) for the Spirit to somehow make Trinity Sunday come alive for us and our congregations. Perhaps we should call it Journey-in-Community Sunday.

    Grace and peace,

  6. Diane Says:

    wow…thank you…

  7. Sheridan Hannah Says:

    I had finished my sermon but felt it lacked something – a lot – and then I read ‘the thin man’. Your comments about Peter still being in formation and Jesus seeing in him a habitation for the holy just came at the right time and I was able to rework the sermon. So thank you once again for your insight and beautiful writing. I am enriched each time I read your words. Such a precious gift thank you!

  8. Lesley Brogan Says:

    Leaning into the sermon for this Sunday and I’m aware that it is “holding a lot.” It’s All Saints. It’s the blessing of the pledges for this year’s stewardship season (no “words” for that, if you have any ideas). It’s communion. And last night i learned we’re also blessing the tent our congregation is sponsoring for Darfur. So more and more my (3 minute) sermon needs to be about RITUAL. Or maybe, as I’m writing I’m wondering about the image of vessels — or bowls.

    I’m all ears to your wisdom :) — and LOVE the “gathering of spirits” — have you sent a picture to Carrie?

    Be well and breathe deeply.

  9. Jan Richardson Says:

    Thanks, Lesley. Wow, that is holding a lot! Three whole minutes, huh? What a lot to weave together, but what a richness of images. I’m particularly intrigued by the fact that this Sunday includes the blessing of a tent that your congregation is sponsoring for Darfur. I find myself thinking of the “tent of meeting” described in Exodus 33.7-11, the tent that Moses would set up outside the camp, and in which “the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” The term “tent of meeting” also came to refer to the portable tabernacle that was built as a dwelling place for God during the Israelites’ sojourn in the wilderness. (The tent is described in rich detail starting in Exodus 25.) The tent/tabernacle became a powerful, liturgical reminder that the presence of God goes with us even in the deepest, strangest wildernesses.

    Exodus describes the creation of the tent/tabernacle specifically as an offering that God is calling the people to make; for instance, “And they came, everyone whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and brought the Lord’s offering to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the sacred vestments. So they came, both men and women; all who were of a willing heart…. All the Israelite men and women whose hearts made them willing to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded by Moses to be done, brought it as a freewill offering to the Lord” (Exodus 35.20-21, 29). That resonates for me with your congregation’s blessing and giving of the tent as an offering.

    Particularly with this being a Communion Sunday for you, it’s especially cool to note that the tabernacle was where the bread of the Presence was kept. But here’s the kicker, for me: in the Christian tradition, Jesus himself becomes the tent of meeting: we meet God in him. Hebrews 9-10 offers one perspective on this. Communion is a place, and a ritual, that powerfully and vividly reminds the Christian community of this—of the extreme hospitality that Christ extended to us in opening his own self to us. But Communion doesn’t simply remind us of this; it calls and compels us to participate in that hospitality. We are the body of Christ, called to continue his radical hospitality, in places near and far. Like Darfur.

    And how cool that this falls around All Saints. When I think of saints, I think in particular of those who have extended this kind of hospitality to others across the ages and to my own self. We are called to shelter one another in all kinds of ways. You are one of the living saints who has done this for me.

    What a powerful image the tent is! Not only for all its scriptural richness but also for the basic fact that in that place and time, the tent was the common form of dwelling, as it continues to be in many places. To share one’s tent was, and is, a profound act of hospitality in a hazardous world.

    Blessings to you as you prepare for a wondrous Sunday. May you and your congregation find yourselves “standing in the center of something rare and fine” (as Carrie sings) as you bless pledges and break bread and bless the tent and remember the saints.

  10. Indira Says:

    This site is terrific. I will certainly keep coming back to it. Thanks for your efforts!!!

    Very best regards,

  11. Annie Heppenstall Says:

    Hi Jan, I just found your site while researching ready to prepare for a St Brigid / Imbolc / Candlemas celebration in a 13th century country church; your work is really inspirational and well organised and curiously similar to a lot of things I’ve been working on here in England for a while as a freelance writer / artist / worship leader – thought you might be interested in connections – I’ve got a couple of books on Christian spirituality published with Iona, 3rd on the way soon, (The Healer’s Tree) and we’ve just begun a website as a gathering of Christians exploring Celtic and earth-spirituality connections using ancient holy sites. Wondered if you’d mind us putting a link to you on our site?
    would be great to hear from you, thanks for all your wonderful creativity, Annie

  12. Diana Brune Says:


    During this Lenten season I have been richly and deeply touched by your writings and I thank you. For me it is deep calling to deep.

    In gratitude, I thought to share with you a few favorite books of mine that you might enjoy. Perhaps you already know them. You mentioned one of my favorite authors in your blog, J. Ruth Gendler. Her The Book of Qualities is a treasure.

    Becoming Bread, Gunilla Norris
    The Prayer Tree, Michael Leunig
    Life of the Beloved, Henri Nouwen
    Everyday Sacred, Sue Bender
    Joy and Strength, Tileston
    Jesus Son of Man, Kahlil Gibran
    –and anything by Brian Andreas

    Blessings to You and to You and Gary,
    Diana Brune

  13. Linda Says:


    Your work, together with your husband’s music, moved me to tears.
    Thank you for your expressions of beauty and grace.
    May the Spirit continue Her exquisitely lovely work through you.


  14. Michael Neils Says:

    When I “return to the Lord” I am always stunned by the welcoming grace. While I wanderwd, God remained faithful and waiting. Visiting your site for the first time was like returning home. I wish you blessings on the Lenten journey.

  15. Janie Royea Says:

    This story of the tent for Darfur, brought back a vivid mind picture of Yellowknife NWT in the mid seventies during a Northern Christian Women’s Conference. As I stood in line for the lunch, a group of Inuit women ahead of me were questioning and discussing this topic: “what is the need for so many churches to study God, when one big igloo would be enough”? They were talking about their own small area of experience. This picture and their question has remained with me ever since. rekindled by your e-mail today. Thank you, God Bless,Janie

  16. Paul Tomlinson Says:

    Thank you for your writing on “So That You May Know Hope” I resonate with it so much. The words of “hope” for the future after my wife, Nancy, died were well meaning. But I needed hope then. When people would say, “At least we know you will see her again someday in heaven” was a future hope. But my thought (unspoken) was “But I want to see her now – today!”
    I appreciate the thoughts of your writing.

  17. Carl Lund Says:

    Beautiful art and spirit filled reflections. Thank-you

  18. Bruce Giese Says:

    I am at a time that I appreciate other voices more and the taking of time to receive wisdom. Your poems, prose and art are like a stream of living water awakening me.

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Bruce, thank you so much! Your words are a gift, and I am grateful. Many blessings to you as Lent arrives!

  19. Beatrice LaFramboise Says:

    Blessings my dear friend. So many memories from the Gruenwald Guild. I received a gift for my 50 th anniversary as a Sister of Providence. It’s your book of Grace. It’s a treasure of memories. Peace Bea

  20. Linda Renaud Says:

    Nice to discover your site, The Painted Prayerbook. Blessings on you.

  21. Herman Greene Says:

    What are the copyright policies about use of your texts/poems on this site. I found something about images but not text?

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