Walking PrayerOriginally, when I heard about walking prayer, I thought it sounded like a great idea. I have a true monkey mind.  As much as I recognize the benefits of mental discipline, I also know myself well enough to know that I can do one of two things when I pray. I can sit and battle my scattered mind. Or I can move and focus.

Walking prayer sounded like a great way to concentrate so I Googled it.  Unfortunately, all that I found discussed walking a set path – as in a labyrinth or a path with stations. That’s great if you live near someplace that has one set up, but what about when I need to pray now and I need to walk to do it?

I didn’t find an official kind of walking prayer that looked like it would work for me, but I don’t give up easily. I simply started walking and praying.

As I start, I focus on my breathing.  When I do a cleaning breath in yoga, I am sitting and focusing on my breathing. I breathe in to a count of 5 and I breathe out to a count of 10.  This won’t work when walking, but I try for a 5 and 5 count.  This focus on something as simple as breathing, when paired with walking, slows my mind and stills those monkey thoughts.

If I have a prayer concern, I let my thoughts wash over this as I walk.  I say wash because I’m not trying for a hard focus.  This is a time to open my mind, not a time to focus on what I want.

If I don’t have a specific concern, I pray for whatever strikes my fancy as I walk.  When I pass the high school, I pray for the students and the teachers.  When I pass the Episcopal Church, I pray that they might serve God in the mission that He has given them.  I pray for whatever and whoever strikes my fancy.

Not only does this type of prayer help me to calm my mind so that I can pray, it also helps me be more aware of my neighborhood and what is going on in it.  Why not spend some time connecting to God and to your neighborhood by taking a walking prayer today?

–SueBE

 

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