Short Intro: Visual Prayer Experience
Visual Prayer Experience – A method of utilizing video that invites the viewer into an intentional space for a balance of education/awareness and prayer for a particular issue or organization. Moving from viewer to participant, rather than just visual consumption.
This video is the first of hopefully many Visual Prayer Experiences. It 100% finished, yet it’s a concept video. I’m looking for feedback and critique, but more so for the prayer experience than the visuals. Drop me a comment with how your responded to it.
The Long Version
We our a culture of consumption. In regards to TV, online, and mobile video, the average adolescent consumes an average of 4 and 1/2 hours of visual media each day. Very little of this content is reflectively engaging, and I’ve yet to see much that allows intentional space for reflection. A Visual Prayer Experience aims to bring about an interactive experience that engages us in spiritual formation by using “visual media” (Proctor) to guide our prayers. In the example video, there are 5 sections for prayer, each section is introduced with audio and video to provide a frame for which to pray though. The introduction is followed by a minute of visual silence, with an audio track guiding the time. Each prayer section has a pausing point for those who would want to pray for a longer period of time. It may feel like the video is “missing something” at first, but the planned space allows people to become participants, rather than viewers.
If I were to do a survey, I’d wager that the majority of people wouldn’t describe their experience watching TV and videos as sacred space. There are those rare scenes in movies, and videos to challenge us, but for the most part video can be rather neutral, if not all together destructive to our spiritual self. Which is a shame, because there is such great potential in the medium of video to be a space for spiritual development. VPE’s seek to reclaim moments on the computer, phone, and TV, and use them for the Kingdom.
The VPE example illustrates that there needs to be a balanced pedagogical approach to connecting deeply with people. There is always a level of cognitive knowledge that is passed along with just about any video. The depth of the cognitive domain really depends on the target audience. This VPE is designed for people who are already familiar with Rapha House and the issues in Cambodia, so the cognitive domain stays relatively shallow. But the more people understand, both mentally and visually, about the topic being prayed for, the more they will able to connect with the prayer experience.
The affective domain can often been overused in videos that strive to make an emotional right hook. The nature of the content sets the tone for the emotional structure in most cases, and with child sex trafficking the emotions are already elevated. This VPE presents the issues of prayer and the visuals in a way that lets the emotional processing of the participant to drive the affective domains impact through their time in prayer.
A “call to action” is frequently used in TV and video, and this lives within the behavioral domain. Whether it’s a commercial for deodorant, an advertisement for a non-profit, and a PSA about depression, there is always an intended result. A standard video about the issues of sex trafficking in Cambodia would call the viewer to donate, get more information, or become an activist. For VPE’s, the action is contained within the video itself through the guided prayer experiences.