Praying the Body Dimension

21 02 2011

by Kathy Shockley, Spiritual Formation Team

For many, prayer is a mental exercise occurring while the body is doing other things: driving, dishes, mowing, etc. But when we want to be completely at prayer, the body needs to be intentionally included, as well. Praying with all four dimensions of our being means giving God our undivided attention.

In Romans 12:1 Paul issues this challenge: “…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” In body prayers we present our bodies to God as a living prayer.

Smelling a rose can be a prayer if we do it in the spirit of prayer. In the same way, fixing a meal, walking, washing the car can all be an act of prayer. What makes an action a prayer is our attitude and intention. Our ability to see, hear, touch, taste, smell, move, and even breathe all have prayer potential.

The following prayer exercise uses movement and the senses to engage the body in prayer. You will need a small bowl of water and a place without interruptions.

Place your bowl in front of you, close enough to reach easily. In your mind, be intentional about preparing to pray. You are creating a worship space. When you have prepared your space, take a couple of slow, deep breaths. Reach out with your heart and soul to imagine purifying your space, including your bowl and water. They symbolize the Holy Spirit and the living water of Jesus’ teachings. Invite God’s presence.

When you are ready, dip some fingers into the water (do not use just one finger). Slowly and intentionally do the following prayer:

  • Touch your forehead, praying: “Help me love you with all my mind.”
  • Touch your lips, praying: “Help me love you with all the words of my mouth.”
  • Touch your heart, praying: “Help me love you with all the affections of my heart.”
  • Touch your wet fingers to your dry ones. Open your hands and hold them palms up, praying: “Help me love you with all my acts.”

Remain with your palms up for a few moments as you take in all you are feeling.

When you are ready, dip your fingers into the living water again. You will use the same motions, but this time substitute “Help me serve you…” for “Help me love you…”

Once again, after you complete all four motion prayers, remain with your palms up.

When you are ready, dip your fingers a final time into the water of the Spirit. This time substitute “Help me praise you…” for “Help me love you…”

Remain with your palms up and simply be in the presence of God.

These prayer exercises offer various forms. Embrace the ones that work for you and leave the rest behind. Go where God’s Spirit leads.



2 responses

24 02 2011
Leigh Anne


21 02 2011
Diana Hansen

Love it! Thank you!

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