Spiritual Practice: Praying a Labyrinth
As you may know, my newest book, The Retreat: A Tale of Spiritual Awakening, will be out in March through Harper Legend (pssst, you can actually pre-order it on Amazon). In anticipation of that, I invite you to join me on a journey of spiritual awakening as we try different spiritual practices together. Every two weeks, I will blog about a different spiritual practice; we can try it together and discuss how it is or isn’t working for you! Ready, set, GO!
Review: Wow, look how far we’ve come already! We’ve done The Examen, Silence and Solitude, Body Listening and Lectio Divina. I’m really enjoying using Jan Johnson’s book Meeting God in Scripture: A Hands-On Guide to Lectio Divina. Let me know if you practiced Lectio and how it went.
Today let’s talk about Praying a Labyrinth. This is a fun one and it’s quite profound. A labyrinth is not a maze where you can get lost, but it kind of looks like one. Labyrinths come in different configurations and can be found in interesting places. They are often found at spiritual retreat centers, and some churches have them, some churches even have portable roll-out Labyrinths.
But here’s the fun part: try googling “labyrinths near me.” Once I was walking in the desert and found a HUGE labyrinth. I have since visited it many times. Someone took the time to create and maintain it. Amazing. One of our local parks has a beautiful labyrinth. The most interesting place I’ve seen a labyrinth is under a freeway overpass!
So, when you find one, how do you pray it? Well, there are as many ways as there are people. You have to try a few ways and see what works for you. I will often pray out all the things that are bothering me as I wind my way toward the center of the labyrinth. When you get to the center, which takes a while, so don’t rush it, there is a God space. I think of it as the goal, or center, a place of unity with the divine. I like to try and leave my worries there. Then, on the way out, I think of all I have to be grateful for, for there are many things. This makes me a different person with a new perspective when I leave my burdens in the hands of someone bigger than me, and with gratefulness on my tongue.
Here are some other ways to pray a labyrinth adapted by Lana Miller from Soul Shaper by Tony Jones.
1.Ask God a question upon entering and then listen for an answer. For example: Ask God what he wants to tell you and listen for an answer.
- Pray for yourself on the way in, stop to experience God’s love in the center, and pray for others on the way out (or vice versa).
- Recite the Lord’s Prayer as you walk. (Instead, you may recite some familiar prayer or scripture. Repeat it as you walk.)
The interesting thing about walking a labyrinth is that just when you think you are getting closer to God, you move away. Isn’t that just like life? It’s a journey, a metaphor, a pilgrimage on the road less traveled.
Now, you try it. Track down a labyrinth near you and take a walk. Let me know what you think! Enjoy.