Saturday, June 24, 2006

Embodied Prayer

Prayer is our most overt expression of creatureliness--an acknowledgment of dependence on the One who alone is God. Yet we often approach prayer as if trying to transcend our humanity. We avoid distraction, resist sleep, and try to focus on spiritual things in the presence of God. Such things are not altogether bad, but we must not regard embodiment as an impediment to the practice of life with God. Rather, it is a central part of the human condition in which we have been created to glorify and enjoy God.

What might prayer look like when coupled with an appreciation of our embodiment? It may incorporate a wide variety of physical postures, as Doug Pagitt and Kathryn Prill prescribe in Body Prayer. It may also follow the rhythm of the day--something Christians have long expressed through the Liturgy of the Hours. We Protestants may resist patterns of prescribed prayer, but we often replace them with routines that are less creative and more sporadic. Try following the Liturgy for a few days. It will make you more conscious of life's cadence, especially with brief night prayers that mark the close of the day. "May the Almighty Lord grant us a quiet night and a perfect end. Amen."


Blogger Kelly Lee Stern said...

In the early church, especially in the east, prayer seemed to be more of a realignment of the human will with the divine rather than asking God to fulfill a personal agenda. Constant praying, then, makes a lot more sense. Every day our own sin and simply living in the world knocks us out of alignment so we constantly need to be in prayer to get us "back in line". With every pothole our car hits in Dallas (and there are many), I'm reminded that I am need of this realignment.

10:24 AM  

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