Sunday, June 08, 2014

Experience Embodied Prayer

The involvement of the body in worship has been de-emphasized to the point that the way we practice worship in many congregations is that prayer is supposed to be vocal or mental, in the head.  - Jon M. Sweeney, author of Praying With Our Hands: 21 Practices of Embodied Prayer from the World's Spiritual Traditions."
We sell ourselves short when we think of prayer only in terms of petitions to our Creator. We usually ask for a good outcome for ourselves or for someone else we know (or a situation nearby and far).  Prayer is a deep experience, a special space where we find that connection with the Creator. At times it involves songs and chanting, but even this puts us, rather than the Creator, in control of the experience.

There is another great way to pray, and that is with the full use of our bodies through embodied prayer.

"Embodied prayer is about awareness and listening, in this case to the body. If you are a spiritual leader committed to praying within the body that God gave you, begin by paying attention to your body," Daniel Wolpert says in Upper Room Daily Reflections.  Ask yourself: What is the state of my body? Is it healthy or ill? Do I love the body God gave me or do I hate it? What is the nature of my relationship to bodily activities — to eating, sleeping, sex, exercise?

And Jon Sweey tells you more in a piece written for BeliefNet

Embodied Prayer in Silver City
If you live in Silver City or a nearby community in Southwestern New Mexico,,Shirin McArthur offers you the opportunity to experience Embodied Prayer this summer. She already led a service on June 5, attended by six people. She invites you to join her at two other free sessions, one on Wednesday, July 5, and another on Thursday, August 6, at First Presbyterian Church, 1915 N. Swan Street, Silver City, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

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