When I was little I prayed with my eyes open, barefoot on feather grass with glittered imagination. I knew God in everything, felt wind, a bird singing, the complexity of a human smile. Prayer was not a separate time or place, but was simply me being the created, beautiful child that I was. God was in everything, therefore every flower I smelt, tree I climbed, and child I played with was God befriending me. Saint Irenaeus said it well, “the glory of God is a human being fully alive.” At some point prayer turned from a practice of being to a practice of doing, urging me away from genuine presence.
Presence involves showing up, experiencing what’s happening within and around you. [TWEET THIS] Violence at a young age urged me away from being present, awake, aware. If prayer was about presence, and presence as I knew it involved fear, prayer was no longer safe to be felt and moved by, but rather controlled and predicted. Thus, my journey in prayer has and will continue to be the process of entering back into the presence of God.
One way of practicing presence for me has been through body prayer. I breathe and rock my body through confession, repentance, grief, and thanksgiving. When this prayer began I wasn’t interested in yoga or anything like that, I just wanted the madness in me to stop so I could hear God again. This body prayer was beyond confrontational, rocking and breathing down the walls I had been built to keep me from true, intimate connection. This connection is simply what yoga is about.The word yoga from the sanskrit is yuj, which literally means union. This union was what I was longing for, but was also terrified of. I was afraid that the more I surrendered to God the closer I would become to glory. Glory reveals. Glory reflects. Glory transfigures.
Body prayer began to change me. My mind, body, and spirit began to bust through all the religious boxes, where I could experience God’s love and glory through everyday life. Prayer began to be part of me, not separate from me, who I was, not what I did. When you consider your body as an act of prayer in everything you do, nearly every moment has potential to be a holy encounter, a chance at glory. [TWEET THIS]
How have you wrestled with prayer?
How has prayer impacted your life?
Have you ever practiced body prayer?