Advent heralds the beginning of winter, a time when many of us seek comfort and warmth inside our homes. This prayer invites you to bundle up and go outside for a little while. It’s a great practice for people who find they need to be doing something active in order to focus on God.
Mindful walking is a devotional practice in many religions. It is prayer in motion, walking calmly and confidently in God’s presence. It differs from your daily “power walk” in that you are not trying to walk faster, longer or more vigorously. You are not trying to get somewhere. You are just walking in the light of God’s love, listening to the gentle rhythm of your breathing, your stride, your heartbeat.
- Decide where you will be walking.
- Begin the walk with only one intention — to experience God in the walking. Express that intention to God and ask for God’s grace along the walk.
- Ask God to use the walk to communicate something to you.
- Keep your senses open to any sight, sound, smell or taste that you may experience. Be open and accepting but do not be anxious for this experience. Let it unfold.
- Listen to your breath as you walk slowly. How many steps are you taking per breath? Just observe. Do not control.
- Listen to your heartbeat.
- Listen to the sound of your footsteps.
- Listen to the environment around you.
- If you have a “prayer of the heart” that you want to recite, say one half on the inhalation and the other on the exhalation. For example: “Lord, in your grace” (inhale), “grant your peace” (exhale). Repeat this along the walk.
- When your walk is finished, stretch your arms toward heaven and say a prayer of gratitude for mobility, breath and life.
- If you wish, you may journal about this experience at the end. What was it like to pray in this way? Where did you experience God’s grace along the walk? Where did you feel God communicating with you? What did you notice? What part of the prayer was easiest for you? What part was most difficult?
For more about spiritual direction as I practice it, check out my website. Most of these prayer practices come from my book, “50 Ways to Pray.” If interested, it can be purchased here.