Prayer Walk: An Excerpt From ’50 Ways To Pray’ – Patheos

The Prayer Walk is a physical prayer. If youre new to physical, body-oriented prayers, an introduction is in order.

Our perception of the world and our bodies change with each other, even if we dont know it. Our bodies react to stressful situations by increasing heart rate and breath, and sweating, even though were not doing any physical activity. We tend to unconsciously stand taller with better posture when were feeling confident, maybe in new clothes or after nailing a job interview. And when were in pain, we can feel more negative about the world.

Because every experience, including our experience of God, is filtered through some part of our bodies, we ought to involve our bodies in prayer now and then. Our post-Enlightenment world prioritizes the mind, so its sometimes hard to remember to do as Orthodox mystics did to allow our minds to sink deep into our bodys center and pray with movement, senses, and breath. In this exercise, we walk to pray.

Physical prayers are designed to call attention to the role of your body in communication with God. Forget about how you look or even how different these prayers are from your daily style of prayer. Focus only on your presence with God and using your body in all the different ways we pray giving thanks, praise, supplication, silence, and lament.

Mindful walking is a devotional practice in many religions; its prayer in motion, walking calmly and confidently with an openness to Gods revelation. This is not a power walk, because youre not setting a goal youre not trying to get through it, or even get somewhere youre walking in the light of Gods love, listening to the gentle music of your breath, your stride, your heartbeat.

The Prayer Walk

The Exercise

Tips

You may want to read more about mindful walking from Buddhist monk Thic Nhat Hanh. His book The Miracle of Mindfulness (Beacon Press, 1996) would be a good place to start.

While engaging in this prayer, if you are enjoying the awareness that comes from simply listening, watching and soaking in the environment, feel free to skip the step in which you begin to say a word prayer.

Looking for More?

If you like this prayer and are looking for even more ways to pray, you might enjoy my book, 50 Ways to Pray, from Abingdon Press. Youll find this prayer and 49 others to experiment with.

Want to try spiritual direction? I have openings in my schedule for new directees regardless of where you live. I can work by phone, Skype or if you live in the Phoenix metro area we can meet in person. Contact me at teresa@teresablythe.net or visit http://www.teresablythe.net.

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Prayer Walk: An Excerpt From '50 Ways To Pray' - Patheos

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