These recent days have been intense and many of us have found ourselves battling stress, anxiety, information overload, boredom and restlessness yet have little capacity. Emma Timms doesn’t just talk about, but walks us through, a helpful prayer practice for times like this.
So I get a maximum of 500 words to talk to you, a few moments of your time as your scroll through your screen. I’m going to use those words to lead you in a practice.
Let’s linger in the sweet presence of Jesus together. I invite you to inhabit this practice fully and give 5 whole minutes of your time and attention to embody this moment.
Close all other tabs.
Lay aside and silence all your other devices.
Place both your feet on the ground and and wiggle your toes.
Take three deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Welcome and recognise the presence of God in this very moment.
GOD IS HERE.
Take 3 more deep, slow breaths, see how long you can linger over them. Repeat the Breath Prayer “God is here” with every breath.
Let go and release everything that’s come before this moment and everything else you have to do after.
Be here now.
Linger in this truth; GOD IS HERE.
Take three more slow, deep breaths, lifting your shoulders towards your ears as you inhale and dropping them back down as you exhale.
Movement and breath awareness during prayer bring focus. Whilst our thoughts and feelings can easily be rushing into the past and the future, our bodies are rooted completely in the present.
Undivided attention is rare and it’s not easy to come by. Take a conversation for example: sometimes you get the gift of being truly listened to – you can tell by the body language and a person’s gaze when they are really giving you their attention – and it feels good. Compare that to when you’re trying to share something with someone and they are constantly looking at their phone and distracted. Well, prayer is in its simplest form is a conversation with God, and it’s a skill we can learn to give Him more and more of our undivided attention – but it doesn’t always come easy! Movement and breathing help us to focus. In the Lectio 365 app with which I’m sure many of you are familiar, we are invited to ‘re-centre our scattered senses upon the presence of God.’ The short practice I just led you in above is a practical way to re-centre.
As well as our focus, the movements of our body can reflect and deepen the movements of our heart. Palms turned upwards can mirror a feeling of surrender. Palms pressed down can help us feel grounded. Kneeling can evoke humility, and arms lifted, worship. I teach Pilates and Contemplative Prayer and we explore all different kinds of movement and prayer practices. The focus and discipline we learn on our mats makes its way into our everyday lives and the fruit begins to show up all over the place.
Here’s a link to a 10 minute seated practice with movement to the simple breath prayer we used above: God is here.
I hope it blesses you and if you have any questions feel free to get in touch!
Emma and her husband Jon lead Discovery Church in Dunbar where they live with their 4 children and Barney the dog. Emma teaches Pilates and has recently been leading others in Pilates combined with Contemplative prayer practices, such as Breath prayer and the Examen. You will often find Emma pursuing her other great passion – wild swimming.