Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Posture of Prayer

It is a fine thing to think about, write about, and debate the ins and outs of theology - our understanding of the Creator and Creator's ways. It's a fine pastime, and it's even a fine vocation.

What I want to know is this: when and how do we move beyond the words and thoughts to the deeds and actions?

How do we transform our prayers into life in motion?

I think of prayer as being in communion with the divine, a sort of "talking with God." And I think of prayer more as a posture than as specific intention, although when I put words into prayer, that certainly does reflect specific intention.

There are traditional, classic words that we use in talking about the posture of prayer, like lifting up our hearts and pouring out our hearts. These words describe the characteristics of flowing movement in common, the unmeasured, continuous sweep from the depths of our hearts to an open-ended connection to the heavens and to the stream of humanity's needs.

Prayer, then, is about our deepest desires that seek to be satisfied and our unbroken connection to God who satisfies all needs.

In Christianity, our theology tells us that we are the hands and feet of Jesus. We are the earthly vessels and tools that embody the Creator's will for humankind. Creator sets the stage, and we are the actors.

We move about the stage, planting a field, serving a meal, patching a roof, sewing a wound, holding a child, embracing those who mourn.

Singing hymns of praise to the Creator and hymns of solidarity with the suffering and the joyful - something we have lost the habit of doing while moving about the stage of human existence - puts us into a posture of prayer, for the words serve to remind us when our motions have become rote and lost their connection to their deeper purpose.

I like the practice of the Buddhist monks who wear their 108 bead rosary (known as a mala) around their wrists and pray without ceasing as they go about their daily activities.

I strive to pray without ceasing as I go about my days, to keep one metaphorical foot in that liminal space that is connected to the divine even while the rest of my body and my intentions are grounded in the mundane.

No comments: