Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How to Pray with Your Body

By Mikaila Gawryn
Outreach Associate

A few weeks ago I blogged about my Lenten practice of praying with my body. I thought I would provide the basic structure of the prayer I have been using for others to try on their own. The fabulous thing about prayer is that each is unique to its speaker. In the case of a body prayer each is unique to the body that moves it. This is particularly helpful for me, because I've forgotten some of the exact phrasing of the prayer that I learned originally! Here is what has stuck with me.

I encourage you to follow along with these words and movements or practice your own. I've included a description of each movement in bold text with the accompanying words in italics.

A Body Prayer to Begin the Day

1. Begin by facing North. With eyes closed, open your right arm out to your side. As I begin this prayer I open my right arm in offering and appreciation for all that is human. All the gifts of human culture and wisdom, humor, love and weakness. With eyes closed, open your left arm out to your side, creating the shape of a T with your body. As I begin this prayer I open my left arm in appreciation for all that is more than human. I honor the creation, the heavens and our Creator.

2. Bend, reaching your hands to the ground and gather up the air at your feet, as if there were a small or large rock. As I face north I bend to gather up the wisdom of the earth. I gather up the gifts and the lessons to be learned. Hold the air to your body as you stand up, and then lift it above your head. I offer these gifts, lessons, and pieces of wisdom to the heavens. God, may you use them for your work. Release the air to the sky.

3. After your arms have settled back at your sides reach them once more over your head. Gather up the air above your head, as if you were picking leaves off of a tall tree. As I face North, I turn my face to the heavens and reach for the gifts of wisdom that God is offers me today. Hold the air to your body as you slowly bend and lay it on the ground. And I bend I hold these lessons and gifts. I offer them for the healing of the nations and the peace of all people.

4. Once you are standing again open your arms out in front of you. As I face North I open my heart and arms to the gifts of wisdom that come from the past and the present. Gather the air in front of you. Turn to the South and release the gifts by opening your arms to the new direction. I turn to face South, offering these gifts for healing in the future.

5. Repeat steps 1-4 facing each of the Cardinal directions.

6. When you have finished turn to face the brightest source of light. Take a few moments to consider what characteristics you want to embody or live into today. (e.g. Love, open-heartedness, trust, forgiveness) Now I face the light. Today I choose to take a step forward in Trust. Step forward, first with your right foot and then with your left. Today I also choose to take a step forward in Love. Step forward with your left foot, and then with your right foot. You now will be standing two full steps ahead of where you began your practice. Amen.

No comments: