Why Visualization Might Help with Your Prayers (and How You Can Try It Yourself)


When we think of prayer, many of us think of simply speaking to God. We are taught the “formula” for prayer from a very young age. We often think of the words we should say when praying. But could prayer look different?

An advocate for meditation and its healing power, Brooke Snow believes there might be another way to stay present with Heavenly Father when we communicate with him: Visualization.

The idea of visual praying began one night when Snow had a thought to pray for the health of her friend by visualizing him receiving relief. She found that by engaging an additional sense, she was able to connect even more with her Father in Heaven.

“We talk about feeling and saying words. And we also talked about seeing. And when you bring in as many senses as you can into the experience, it's going to feel even more connecting to the Lord. It's going to feel more real because you're using more of your physical senses,” Snow explains.

In this week’s episode, All In host Morgan Jones talks with Brooke Snow about meditation’s power to transform our prayers and center our thoughts on Christ.

Read an excerpt from their conversation below or click here to listen to the whole episode. You can also read a full transcript of the podcast here.

The following excerpt has been edited for clarity. 

Morgan Jones: I think that visualization has always been something that I feel like I'm actually fairly good at. But I've noticed with this, you talk about writing down a vision for your life or for what you visualize happening in your life. And I think that I've struggled because it's almost like hoping for some things has become painful. What is your advice on that?

Brooke Snow: Let me back up just a little bit to talk about visualization.

Morgan Jones: Yeah, yeah yeah. Please.

Brooke Snow: Because this is probably going to be something that's really new for people. I know it was for me. Prayer was always just words. And then I remember one day, I felt really tired before going to bed [and was] like, “I know I need to pray but coming up with words is really hard right now.” And so, I actually had the thought come into my mind, “Could I actually pray with pictures? Could I actually just imagine in my mind what it is that I hoped for?" And there was a dear friend of ours who was really sick at the time. And I remember we had been praying for him every single day, that Phil would be able to get better. And instead of praying with words, I just imagined him. I imagined him in as much comfort as he could be in and all the people who are helping him being able to help him and I just imagined what it was that I hoped for Phil in the challenge that he was dealing with in his health at that moment. And it was so powerful. I had never prayed with a picture. And maybe other people do this, but my mind had not ever really thought about the idea of praying with pictures. And so that's a really important piece that I bring into meditation. We talk about feeling and saying words. And we also talked about seeing. And when you bring in as many senses as you can into the experience, it's going to feel even more connecting to the Lord. It's going to feel more real because you're using more of your physical senses.

Morgan Jones: Like anything. Yeah.

Brooke Snow: Yeah, for sure. …Visualization is a new thing. I would encourage anyone in their prayers to start experimenting with “What is it like to picture things in my mind?” And could you actually say a prayer just with pictures? It's a really interesting and fun thing to play with. But what you bring up, I think, is really important about hope. And one of the best guides on how to visualize, I remember, I was reading in this book, and the man was talking about how visualization is a tool that a lot of Olympians use to increase their performance. And he said, “So what do you think they're visualizing?” And it's like, do you think they're visualizing standing on the podium? They've got the gold medal around their neck, holding flowers, that national anthem is playing, everyone is cheering their name, he's like, “Do you think that's what they visualize?” Like, yeah, that's probably what they visualize, right? Like, that's the big goal. That's what they want. It's the final outcome. And he said, no, that's not what they visualize.

Morgan Jones: They're visualizing doing everything right. Like everything, the process?

Brooke Snow: They're visualizing their performance. So if it's a swimmer, for example, they're visualizing each stroke, what it feels like in their body, like they're improving the performance.

Morgan Jones: That is fascinating.

Brooke Snow: And so, for me, that was a really important distinction to make in visualization of “How can I bring this into today, something that I can do right now, bringing it into the present?” So, one of the examples that I share with my own journey of visualization is I've been on a weight loss journey. I've lost 60 pounds.

Morgan Jones: Congratulations! You look great!

Brooke Snow: Thank you very much! I could visualize, you know, in that journey, the future body that I want to have, and I'm healthy, and I'm fit, and I'm happy and I've lost all this weight. But that's actually not what I visualized. Similar to the Olympian standing on the podium, instead, on a day to day basis. I visualized Brooke drinking water in the kitchen. I visualized myself moving my body, going outside on my walk. I visualized myself making good choices in the food that I wanted to eat, because that's how anything that we hope for is created, is actually in the things that we choose to do today. So I mean, that's an example of something that we have personal agency over to be able to create.

And of course, there are many things that people hope for that we don't necessarily have that agency over. Maybe it's being single, maybe it's infertility, maybe it's a job that you really want or things like that, that other people's choices play into that. How can I bring that into the present? Who do I want to be when those things happen? What do I need to do today? And even the process of like bringing in your heavenly team.

I remember when I wrote a book, and I had a book proposal in and I couldn't make that choice. I couldn't be in that meeting where that decision was made. But I would visualize angels, my writing angels who helped me write my book. I'd visualize them in that room like helping to be where I couldn't be and do things that I couldn't do, influence in ways that I couldn't influence. I think that's a great way to bring in help in that like, in the ways that we're hoping to create things in our life in a way that honors our agency and what we have control over and also allows the Lord and His team to be able to help and influence in those things as well.

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