Mara Measor: The Power of Prayer Doodles

A young woman emerges from depression with a book of prayers and drawings.

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Posted in , Oct 6, 2015

Mara Measor, author of Naked Prayers, who fought her depression with prayer doodles.

I love, love, love the Book of Psalms. No matter how you’re feeling–from dance-in-the-streets happy to sobbing-like-a-soap-opera-star sad–you can usually find a Psalm to match your mood.

Well, a few months ago, I met a real-life, modern-day psalmist. And just like David, she sings. She also doodles! Her name is Mara Measor. She’s a New York City-based singer, actress, doodler and author of the upcoming book, Naked Prayers: Honest Confessions to a Loving Creator.

The book chronicles Mara’s prayers from 2012 to 2013. At the time, Mara was fresh out of college. Her father had just had a series of health scares back home in Hong Kong. And Mara, far from her family in New York, found herself grappling with depression.

Mara had always thought of herself as a pretty strong Christian. She was the kind of person who put a positive spin on everything. But God was suddenly far, far away. And she was left lost, confused, frightened, like “a fish on land.” She searched for comfort, googled “Christians and depression.” Nothing helped. 

“Things got worse and worse,” Mara told me. “I still had a relationship with God. But why would He let this happen?”

Mara’s prayer journal turned very dark during this time. But also very real. In her book, Mara writes that she “hid from everyone, except God…He was the only one who could understand me. The only one who would not be afraid of the depth of darkness in which I lay.”

She often found herself doodling in her prayer journal, as a way to communicate without words.

Mara eventually sought help for her depression through counseling and is doing well. She decided to share her prayers and doodles from 2012 and 2013 as a way to encourage others and to shed light on the messier aspects of faith.

After all, not every story ends with “cute little polka dot bow.” But, looking back on her “naked prayers,” Mara can see God’s presence through every moment of her journey, in joy and pain.

One of my personal favorite prayers from the book is this one: “Tonight, I looked in the mirror. I cried, and I prayed: Make this beautiful.”

Mara says now, “I think God really answered that prayer. I don’t think I’m better looking! But He made this story beautiful. He really did.”

Mara’s book comes out this November. In the meantime, you can check out some of her honest prayers and artwork in the slideshow below.

Plus, I’d love to see your own honest prayers and prayer doodle photos in the comments!

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