Embodied Prayer


By Kara Lassen Oliver

As we begin this practice on Embodied Prayer, I want to invite you fully into this present moment by using all of our senses and reading a poem I wrote called, “Savor.” It’s about my own flawed attempts to be fully present where I am.

Let’s begin by taking some deep breaths. Imagine your breath coming up through the bottoms of your feet on an inhale, all the way to the top of your head and then back down through your body on an exhale, back out through the soles of your feet.

Breathe in for the count of four, inhaling up through your body, filling your body with ruach, Spirit. Hold your breath for a beat at the top of the breath. Then exhale, fully releasing the air and any tension for another count of four. Pause briefly at the bottom of your breath, before inhaling again for a count of four. Try that a couple of times…

Continue your breath as you read this poem.


My mouth is so full that I can’t

      taste the subtle flavors of life

The waft of honeysuckle barely

      registers as I run to the car

I miss the beauty of the stars

      as I turn on the electric glare inside

My children’s questions are God’s call

      to slow down

      but I don’t hear them as I chase the last to do

With my limbs splayed in four different directions

      in vain productivity

      I don’t feel the ground beneath me.


I long to savor

      to inhale

                  to gaze

                              to listen

                                          and to feel.


To be present.


I invite you to read the poem again and to notice your own surroundings. As one of my friends says, “to be where your feet are.”

Kara Lassen Oliver serves as Associate Publisher and Executive Director of Content at The Upper Room.

Photograph by Hannah Busing / Unsplash