Be Still Know
Ephesians 3:14 NLT
‘When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father.’
Prayer is the means by which we make ourselves known to God. It is also the space in which God makes himself known to each one of us. We express our prayers in a variety of ways, including using our bodies.
Some years ago I taught ‘God Encounter’ on a course where one exercise invited delegates to work together in creating a series of movements that expressed the Lord’s Prayer. It was amazing how quickly they lost their way in presenting the prayer without words, using simply movement. The prayer, while so deeply embedded upon the conscious mind, proved elusive when expressed without words. The participants felt confused and stupid.
I am used to living among words. Indeed, words are images within my head. I see in words, as well as think in them. So it’s no surprise that I am dumb without them. When asked to express the love of God without words, I struggle to find ways to express what I know so well within myself. Hence, I have begun to learn the benefit of whole body involvement in prayer.
With the Lord’s Prayer for the expression, ‘on earth, as it is in heaven’ (Matthew 6:10, NLT), I prostrated myself completely on the ground. This touching the earth appeared relevant to me. Yet, more importantly the feedback my whole being received as my senses experienced the ground pressing back upon my body, the coldness of the floor etc was amazing. Suddenly I had a fresh experience when participating in the Lord’s Prayer.
While there is an outward sign of acknowledgement of God’s unique greatness in kneeling, standing, raising open hands in prayer, there is also a possibility of encountering God in new and fresh ways.
The lovely benefit of the Lord’s Prayer in body movement is that one can pray anywhere. As I acted out the Lord’s Prayer on a city riverbank, those passing might have thought this was a form of Tai Chi. They may not have realised I was praying for both the city and all those pedestrians passing me by.
QUESTION: Consider your own approach to prayer. How physical is it?
PRAYER: Lord, prayer need not be detached from who you’ve made me – teach me again how to pray.