Using Art in Prayer

How the paintings of "The Journey" have been used in prayer

Peter Clare's 'Journey', a cycle of 42 paintings, is a sort of visual version of a modern 'Pilgrim's Progress' that uses the theme of a train journey from a provincial small town up to the big City interweaved with the traditional devotion of the fifteen 'Stations of the Cross'. Like Bunyan's original it is a pilgrimage through a shadow world of doubt, distraction and despair to a vision of the Resurrection and the recognition of God's unconditional and infinite love for all mankind.

Since its initial exhibition in St George's Church, Bloomsbury, London, in Lent, 1993, the cycle has since been travelling around Cathedrals and major churches across England, raising funds for CAFOD and Christian Aid projects directed at Street Children in Latin America and providing opportunities for meditation. Due to its popularity and the success of two closed residential retreats, (one for Vicars from a Deanery, the other for Christian artists), where the paintings were used as visual stimuli to prayer, it has been decided to run more residential Ignatian style retreats open to a more general public. The theme of 'The Journey'; God in everything, His love for us, Christ's sufferings and Resurrection, and our Christian commitment fit very well with the Ignatian Exercises. So using teams of trained and experienced Ignatian prayer guides led by Carol Clare, the artist's wife, residential retreats have been run in different parts of the country over the past few years.

The artist's openness about his own journey, the light and the shadow side, has stimulated many viewers to reflect on their own journey with God, to accept themselves before God, to feel his love and to respond to that love. The Journey pictures have touched the hearts of believers and non-believers alike and many have wished to remain longer with the paintings in prayer.

There are many creative retreats available around the country and some with art tutors on hand. This is different. Viewing facilitates ones own deeper awareness of Journey. One does not need to be artistic or even like the style of art used. Peter just encourages participants to stay with their own agenda and listen to their own God. Retreatants may wish to be creative, or go walking, swimming, etc., and many like to have scripture at hand. The retreat is designed, as are all Ignatian Retreats, to match the needs of the individual retreatant while retaining a corporate feel of people together in prayer. 

More information about planned retreats, etc., can be obtained by
e-mailing or by phoning her on 01547 530842. 

 The Clares are pleased to offer individually guided retreats using paintings from both 'The Journey' and the new 'St. Matthew' cycles. Also church groups are invited to book a day's retreat using art. 

Interested people should contact Carol Clare on 01547 530 842,
E-mail her at or write to her at:

2 The Quillets, Bucknell, Shropshire, SY7 0AL