Week of Proper 8, Year Two[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]
Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 106:1-18 (morning) // 106:19-48 (evening)
One of the most surprisingly effective spiritual exercises that I’ve encountered is the simple practice of body awareness. Either as preparation for prayer, or as prayer in itself, we can gently move our awareness from one part of the body to the next. We can spend a few seconds noticing the sensations of our right foot, left foot, right leg, left leg, back, front, right arm, left arm, right palm, left palm, shoulders, neck, head, face.
It’s incredible to feel energy and warmth shift with our focus as we become present and alive in each part of our bodies. I often use this practice when I’m preparing to pray or worship, or when I’m stuck waiting for someone or something, or when I have a quiet moment to sit and just be.
I thought of this practice when I read today’s passage from Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Today, Paul encourages us to “present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness.” What a powerful reminder that our prayers and daily lives should involve presenting our very bodies to God.
Each part of our bodies can draw us more fully into life, and God can use each part of us to build more justice into our world. Body awareness is just one way to anchor ourselves in the present and to offer our whole beings to God. However we pray, let’s not forget to include our bodies in the selves that we present and offer to God and God’s kingdom.
Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.