Year of Prayer April Prayer Practice: Body Prayer
As we continue through Lent and into the Easter season, in which we commemorate Jesus’ suffering, death, and bodily resurrection, we will be practicing body prayers. We often think of prayer as an activity of the mind and the spirit and neglect the role of our physical nature in prayer. Yet we are not disembodied spirits. Indeed the Incarnation affirms the importance of the material, as the Son of God took on human form in all its physicality: birth, feasting, fasting, suffering, death. We acknowledge the importance of the physical through our association of prayer with particular postures: kneeling, head bowed, hands folded. Body prayers take the unity of spirit and matter seriously, recognizing that if we are to let everything within us to praise the Lord, we must engage our physical selves. New physical practices can open our minds and spirits to God in new ways.
There are a lot of different forms of body prayer. We will be trying a number of them throughout this month. These include:
- Breath Prayer: Focusing on breath as a way of centering and feeling the Spirit within.
- Body Sculpture Prayer: Forming a particular bodily posture in response to scripture.
- Walking Prayer: Praying while moving, representing our prayer journey.
- Labyrinth: Using a patterned pathway to guide walking prayer.
- Praying with Beads: Using physical manipulation of a rosary to help guide prayers.
- Confession Body Prayer: Using body gestures to help intensify prayers.
Body prayers engage our whole selves in conversation with God. They can help give us different insights into our natures as children of our Creator, who formed us out of dust and continues to mold us like a potter
Lord, make us who you want us to be.
Susan Haddox, Lay Leader