Walking prayer, or walking meditation, provides a number of benefits. It can help us concentrate on our prayers. When we are tired or sluggish, walking can be invigorating. Walking prayer can be especially helpful after a meal, early in the morning or late at night, or after a long period of sitting. When we are distressed, walking meditation may be more relaxing than sitting.
Set a length of time for the prayer—fifteen minutes or more is optimum. Begin by asking God to guide your steps and direct your prayers. Remember that God’s heart is filled with a deep love and an intimate knowledge of each person or circumstance you will pray for.
Start walking slowly, listening for God with your whole being as you move. Pay attention to your breath, your body, your heart and mind. Whenever a person or situation comes to mind, hold that person or situation in your heart for a moment before releasing them to God’s loving care. At the end of the prayer, give thanks to God.
Another form of walking meditation is walking a labyrinth. Many churches and retreat centers have labyrinths available for those who wish to pray. There is no right or wrong way to walk the labyrinth. It can be used for prayer, discernment, and healing. As you begin, it may be helpful to ask God what you need to hear, and then listen for an answer as you walk.
On the way in: Pray for yourself. You may also pray the Lord’s Prayer or recite a familiar scripture. Release to God all that weighs you down or distracts you from the Divine path. The way in is a time of letting go.
In the center: Sit, stand, or lie down. Rest and receive God’s loving presence. Reflect on your relationship with God. Give thanks and praise for all God is doing in your life. Take as much time as you need.
On the way out: Return by the same path by which you came. This is a time of integrating whatever you received or learned, and returning to the world. Pray for others, that God’s will is accomplished in their lives. As you complete the labyrinth, walk back into ordinary life, knowing that God goes with you.
Joining friends at The Upper Room in morning prayer on Facebook Live has been an anchor in the storm during recent weeks. In the chaos of trying to figure out how to do ministry in strange and uncertain times, it was a compelling call to stop, breathe, listen, and be in community with those who gather "where the world meets to pray." Join us each day for morning prayer.