Welcome to Spirit Lab! Saying Grace’s newest creation!
Ever thought about trying a new spiritual practice but didn’t know where to start? Meditation, confession, contemplative prayer? Fasting, yoga, hermitages?
Have a question on how to do it but don’t know who to ask? Should my eyes be open or closed? Should I be feeling something right now? What do I do with my hands?!
We’re here to help! At Saying Grace, we’re committed to trying these out with you!
From time to time, we are going to take on new spiritual practices. Through tutorials, interviews, reflections, and who knows, maybe a picture or two, we will help you understand where to start.
And the first experiment in our lab begins….May 1 with Body Prayer!
We will be basing our practice off of Doug Pagitt and Kathryn Prill’s book “Body Prayer: The Posture of Intimacy with God” (buy it here and follow along with us!) ‘Body Prayer’ may sound kind of exotic, but the concept is really simple. If you’ve ever kneeled while you pray or lifted your hands during worship, you’re already practicing body prayer! The idea is simple: put your body where your spirit is. The book suggests postures for certain prayer themes like “a prayer for an end to loneliness” (body hug) or “A prayer for courage” (reaching). The book is a helpful tool, but of course you can do body prayer on your own too: just position your body in a way that reflects your prayer.
For the month of May, the four Saying Grace writers are going to experiment with body prayer in our own prayer lives. There are only two rules we’re following:
1) try to do some kind of body prayer every day, and
2) report back at the end of the month.
Here are each of our initial impressions….stay tuned for the results and let us know in the comments if you’re joining us too – we’d love to hear how it goes for you!
“I picked this tiny little book up at a thrift store a few years ago, and have already had some pretty groovy experiences praying this way. I really enjoy any practice that engages my body as a part of my spiritual life (taking communion, kneeling at worship, remembering my baptism…) and this practice of taking a physical posture to deepen my prayer fits right in.”
“I’ve practiced mindfulness meditation in the past, including gentle mindfulness yoga, and have found it to be very helpful in quieting the mind and accessing the present moment. But I’ve never tried anything like this as a prayer. I think it will be a new and engaging way to connect with God, and I’m excited to try it!”
“Well, this should be interesting. I’m excited to try something new and appreciate that the book is structured so I can try a new pose every day! I am, however, a little skeptical that this will enhance my prayer life. But I’m excited to be proven wrong. Nothing looks too complicated but I’m thinking this may be a great excuse to invest in a yoga mat.”
“I’m not a very physically capable person, to say the least. I’ve done some yoga in the past, but all I learned was that I have terrible balance and wimpy arms. I do like the idea of doing a prayer method that feels more active and I think it might increase my engagement with what I am thinking and feeling. Hopefully God will still hear my prayers even with my wimpy arms.”