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Praying with All Your Senses

June 30, 2022 3:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Purple geoboard with yellow bands in the shape of a crossWhat gets in the way when you try to pray? We are born to pray, created in God's image and with a natural, innate longing to connect with the Creator. It should be easy to pray, and for some of us, sometimes, it is. 

But what about the other times? When we're overwhelmed — with grief, with anger, with injustice, with despair. Or when our nervous or excited energy is too much. Or, when we’re too busy, too distracted, or too confused about what we're even supposed to be doing when we pray. 

This past year our parish children have practiced prayer together. These amazing small humans never hesitate to ask "why?" and "how?" and "what is this?" so we needed to explore what prayer is, why we try, and how we can grow in our practice. Like with everything for children, a nice idea has to be played with, or it becomes just a random thing some adult (or teacher, or priest) made us do for a few minutes. 

Has prayer become for you just a thing some adult (perhaps you yourself) makes you do? How then can you become like the children, learning and enlivening, searching to make prayer your own?

With children, we easily admit that quiet is hard. And we love to remember that everyone connects differently. Everyone learns differently. Everyone expresses themselves differently. Everyone prays differently. What if we welcomed adults to admit that, too?

In the back of the church, as you come in the tower doors, you'll see a rainbow of bags. These are worship bags for the children, and they contain different activities to help them hear, feel, pray, and simply be during worship. In these bags are pieces of the prayer practices we worked with this year because we know that movement, our hands, our senses, our minds—these are holy gifts that sustain prayer, rather than derail it. 

Prayer dough: a soft playdough to roll, to hold, to squeeze, to smell, to shape as we pray. Prayer labyrinths: where we walk our fingers (and ourselves) in and out a long, calm path. Prayer color wheels: where colors, pictures, and words help us to find and name our feelings, and bring our true selves to God. Wax sticks, mandalas and colored pencils. There are many ways to enter into conversation with God. 

You, fully grown reader, are welcome to try these too. May you feel as welcome as the little ones to explore, to feel, to move, and to find the practices of prayer that unite you with God.

Bryn

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Phone: 781.729.1922
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