non-verbal prayer

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woman praying under tree during daytime

There is always a danger with prayer that it becomes too cerebral, word-based, even academic, so this page is a chance to think of other ways of praying, ways of using other parts of ourselves. We do not often get to know friends by talking non-stop: how do you grow in friendship? Adapt the same methods to communicate with God, to pass time with Him, even to waste time with Him!

Walking: why not take a walk with God? Go through the woods and praise Him for the beauty, go through the town and intercede for the people you pass.

Gazing: The first way of contemplating is to look at God, gazing in awe, wonder. It may be considered in terms of those who contemplated the Christchild at the nativity (shepherds, magi, the Holy Family, animals). It is opening the being to God whilst maintaining inner silence, taking time to be alone with Christ.

Painting/drawing: both looking at painting and doing it for yourself, either to encourage yourself to look at something fully, or to paint free style and to see what comes up. An example of looking at a painting: https://www.pathwaystogod.org/feast-all-saints?mc_cid=a9145f1b9e&mc_eid=a6924bfe19

Dance: westerners are often particularly bad at using their bodies in worship and prayer, but it can be very liberating, our bodies can express things our tongues cannot say. Find a quiet place, with no one watching, use music if you want, reach out to God.

Writing see elsewhere for journalling, but consider also poetry, free expression, writing a letter to God.

Music. The human voice is a wonderful instrument for prayer, but think also of percussion and other instruments, of non-Christian music. Could learning to play the clarinet be for you a spiritual discipline?

Audio – a simple option, but we take in Bible stories differently if we hear them. Many of the older parts of the Old Testament originate from an oral tradition rather than from the written word. So why not try listening? There are many audio Bibles (David Suchet’s NIV is I think the best known and very good), Bible Gateway https://www.biblegateway.com/  has some audio versions. You might like to sit back in peace, take your audio gear for a beautiful walk, knit, iron or carve wood whilst you listen! Keeping the hands/body busy can help the mind concentrate.

Christian massage – Letting a (trained!) fellow Christian touch you in a way that ‘restores, reconciles, reassures, forgives, heals” (Henri Nouwen).

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