Nov 19, 2013 - 51-100    No Comments

The Sacred Walk

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I recently had the privilege of visiting Christ the King Retreat Center (off Van Maren), a sanctuary of peace in the middle of town.  On the beautiful grounds, there is a labyrinth that I enjoyed using as part of my prayer time.  There were new things God spoke to me while using this form.  It was also interesting as I walked the pattern, how at times it felt I was really close to the center and then the path would lead to an outer section, often how we feel seasons of closeness and distance from a “destination” and yet His presence is with us each step of the way.

I’ve adapted an explanation of the labyrinth and its history from The Surrendering Guide by Carlo Walth.  You can learn more about his ministry at www.mentoringsacredarts.com

The Sacred Walk is the ancient practice of “Circling to the Center.”  Labyrinths have been in use for over 4000 years.  Various traditions have used the spiral designs as a symbol of their search for meaning and guidance.

Meaningful Design:  The labyrinth is often divided neatly into four Read more »

Physical Expressions of Prayer, Part 8

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Art as an expression of prayer might be a new concept for many.  I’m no artist, but a few years back, when I had more time, I enjoyed painting the things that God was speaking to my heart.  I’ve found that it can unlock new understanding and expression of my prayers in a unique way.  Sometimes it related to intercession for other people, but often it had to do with things He was doing in me.  The physical expression in art helped to process what God was saying or my cry to Him.

One time, I felt like God was saying He wanted my “yes” to be bigger, wider, higher, etc.  I didn’t know what that looked like (on canvas or in real life), but I bought Read more »

Physical Expressions of Prayer, Part 7

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If you’re a dancer, you probably understand that movement can be an expression of prayer.  Though it may seem a little strange to those of us less use to it, dancing your prayer is simply a combination and extension of the various postures of prayer, raising hands, standing, bowing down, etc.

With or without music, there is something special about motion as you pray.  Its putting your whole body, soul and spirit into the process.

Worship and prayer are inseparable.  Much of worship is simply Read more »

Physical Expressions of Prayer, Part 6

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Imagine yourself sitting on a hillside overlooking a lake.  A light breeze rustles your hair as you soak up the sunshine.  Jesus sits beside you.  What do you want to say to Him?  What is He saying to you?

Sitting with Jesus in prayer can be a position of intimate friendship.  Relaxed. Restful.  We enjoy meeting with friends and engaging in conversation, getting to know one another more, a time to ask questions and to listen.

In 2 Samuel 7:18 it says, “Then David the King went in and Read more »

Physical Expressions of Prayer, Part 5

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“Come let us worship and bow down.  Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.”  Psalm 95:6

I loved to read as child and disliked being put to bed, especially if I was right in the middle of a good story.  One night, I got out of bed so I could try to read by the light coming in from under the door.  I don’t know how my mom knew that I was up, but she did.  She came into my room and found me on my knees by my bed.  She asked me what I was doing.  Trying to cover, I said, “I’m praying.”  She knew I wasn’t that devote or maybe it was the telltale book beside me.  She said, “Yes, you’d better start praying now” as she confiscated my book.

Growing up, kneeling for prayer was an Read more »

Physical Expressions of Prayer, Part 4

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Standing in prayer is often in Scripture associated with worship and praise.  “…to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord and likewise in the evening.”  1 Chronicles 23:30  In contrast, bowing down (kneeling) is more often associated with supplication, humility, and sacrifice.  (We’ll look at this more next week).

When we stand, we come from a place of confidence to exalt God and to lift Him high.  Those who know their own weakness, but also the joy of being covered by the blood of Jesus, come with boldness to the throne of glory, with assurance that their prayers are heard.  (Hebrews 4:16, Jude 24)

Standing is also associated with Read more »

Physical Expressions of Prayer, Part 3

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While last week’s blog was my least favorite expression of prayer, today’s is one of my favorites!  Praying in bed!  Growing up I was taught that it was not a good thing to fall asleep in prayer and so praying in bed was not approved of, since you might drift off.  However, I’m grateful for the freedom now to go to sleep praying and to wake up praying.

The Psalmist says “When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You through the night watches.” (Psalm 63:6)  Or even “Let the saints be joyful, let them sing aloud on the their beds.”  (Psalm 149:5)  God enjoys our worship and our prayers even in bed!

I love to review the day with God and meditate on His goodness to me as I fall asleep.  Sometimes I might use breath prayers (see previous blogs) if I’m needing to relax and stop Read more »

Physical Expressions of Prayer, Part 2

bowing low

One of the most challenging positions of prayer for me is laying face down, prostrate before the Lord.  I don’t find it comfortable or convenient and maybe that is where its power lies.  To prostrate ourselves before God is an act of humility, desperation and worship.

Moses interceded for Israel, 40 days and nights, fasting and crying out to God for them (Deuteronomy 9:18).  Some translations say he “fell down before the Lord” or “Threw himself down before the Lord.”  That is some serious praying!

After the defeat at Ai, Joshua fell down with his face before the ark all day (Joshua 7:6-10), crying out to the Lord for wisdom and strategy.

David spent the night with his face to the floor praying for the life of his child (2 Samuel 12:15)

Faced with unspeakable calamity, Job chose to worship, throwing himself to the ground and crying out, “….the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:20)

Prostrating oneself also demonstrates Read more »

Sep 25, 2013 - 51-100, Everyday Prayers    No Comments

Physical Expressions of Prayer, Part 1

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God made us with a physical body, a soul and a spirit.  Sometimes we tend to think of each of these things as separate entities and yet we are created as an integrated whole.  This means prayer involves our physical body as well as our soul (mind) and spirit.  We will be taking the next couple of weeks to look at ways we use our body in prayer.

Positions in prayer shouldn’t be sterile, routine or a “have to”, but should flow naturally as part of our worship to God.  How we position our body can enhance our prayers and give them greater expression and definition.  They can be a reflection of what is going on in our hearts.

One unique expression I read about recently is an old Quaker prayer in which you Read more »

Sep 17, 2013 - 51-100, Everyday Prayers    2 Comments

The Rosary

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This blog might surprise you, being written by a Protestant, however, I believe there are some interesting historical roots to the rosary and benefits from understanding this form of prayer.

Though there are differing opinions on the origins of the rosary, counting prayers dates back to the desert fathers and the Jesus Prayer (See blog on The Jesus Prayer).  In the ninth century there were monks who repeated the 150 psalms as a major part of their worship.  Keeping track of where they were necessitated some form of counting.  This was often done by putting 150 tiny pebbles in a small leather pouch and transferring them Psalm by Psalm to another pouch.  Since this could become troublesome, they began to use a thin rope with 50 knots in it and then counting through it three times.  As the Irish monks began to travel throughout Europe, they brought this form of devotion with them.

The specific prayers that were said evolved as well, from praying the Psalms, to a shorter Psalter, and beads replaced the knots.  The Psalters were divided Read more »