Spirit Lab Update: Body Prayer

This month, the Saying Grace writers have been practicing body prayer as our first ever Spirit Lab experiment. We started by reading Doug Pagitt’s and Kathryn Prill’s book Body Prayer: The Posture of Intimacy with God and have been practicing every day. (Well, okay, most days. All right, at least some days.)

Right after we started, we also got clued into Kalyn Falk’s new book, I Am Here: Six Postures of Prayer. So we’ve been using that as a resource as well. This is the first time I’ve ever attempted body prayer and it’s been a very engaging experience. More on that at the end of the month, when we report on our practice.

In the meantime, we’ve reached out to the authors of both books, and they’ve generously agreed to respond to questions/feedback from the Saying Grace writers and readers about the practice of body prayer! If you have a thought, insight, or question you’d like to share with the authors of both Body Prayer and I Am Here, leave a comment on this post!

And if you’re new to body prayer, here are a couple of practices you can try for yourself–one from each book.

Prayer of Hopefulness (from Body Prayer):

Stand or sit. Look up to the ceiling or the sky. Let the rest of your body relax while you feel the strain in your eyes. Contemplate the hope that comes from God: the hope that is unseen, yet eternally real.

I Am Here Prayer (from I Am Here):

Let your body relax and breathe deeply. Feel your body sink into the chair you are sitting in and allow the chair to hold you up.

Notice your breathing. Allow your breath to deepen and to slow down.

Acknowledge God’s presence and ask Spirit to help you be attentive to what needs attending.

Once you are quiet and grounded in your body, move through these four body positions:

  • Hands on lap
  • Hands at chest level, palms facing each other but not touching
  • Arms up in a “V” over head
  • Arms at chest level, crossed

With each movement, say one word: “I. Am. Here.”

“Here” will land in different places. Pay attention to what resonates for you. Repeat the actions until you feel like one of the spaces feels like “home” for you today and stay there for a moment of contemplation.

Notice what images or prayers come to mind. What associations you’re making. If there is an invitation for you to pay attention to. …

This is a prayer of location and grounding–if we can listen to where we are, we can invite God to join us in that space.

If you’ve been practicing along with us, keep us posted on your progress. And definitely share any questions/thoughts/feedback for Doug Pagitt and Kalyn Falk in the comments section below!

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