Explore how the body can be a tool to help us pray and experience closeness with the Divine wordlessly.
Materials and Setup
Materials & Setup:
Find or create an open space large enough for everyone in the group to be able to extend arms and legs fully and not touch someone else.
How do we pray? There are many ways to pray, and many ways to come close to God, and they do not all require stillness. We’ll explore ways to use our bodies in simple movement and poses to lift up our hearts to God, and consider how we can pray in this way.
- Have participants spread out in the space so that they each can extend their arms and not touch anyone else.
- Lead the group in some gentle breathing; calm the energy in the space.
- To get started, invite participants to share a feeling, and a movement or pose that goes with it for them. Someone facilitating the activity might need to demonstrate their own examples, such as: “Help me” with hands lifted up; “Thank you” with hands together over heart.
- Ask the group to work in silence for 5 minutes to create an individual prayer that uses 3-4 movements or poses and expresses wordlessly their feelings at that time.
- Invite members of the group to share and lead the rest of the participants in the prayer they created. (Do not call on or make anyone participate in this sharing.)
- Gather the group (sitting in a circle) to discuss how this activity felt:
- I wonder what you liked best about doing it?
- How did the process of making your prayer, and practicing it, feel?
- What did you experience when you practiced using your body to pray without words?
Encourage participants to explore another kinesthetic practice of prayer before your next meeting. It might be a meditative walk, or finding a labyrinth to walk. It could also be using a finger labyrinth.
Invite participants to create one movement or pose that feels prayerful, and then in small groups of 3-4 have participants share these ideas and create a “group prayer” that incorporates all of their contributions. Discuss how this feels, and whether their experience of their own piece of the prayer changed when it was joined by others? How does this experience relate to their experience of corporate worship?
Credits: Melinda Wenner Bradley (PhYM), Exercise Author