Tag Archives: Labyrinth

Prayer Stations at Home

During the period of Thy Kingdom Come, we are asking people if they can create prayer stations at home and send them to us (news@badshotleaandhale.org)

Here is one which Michelle Chapman has made – a finger labyrinth with instructions which we have reproduced below.

Praying with the finger labyrinth

  • Draw your labyrinth (start with the purple cross, then the red right angles, finally the dots. Start with the top of the cross and join up to the next line with a curve. Follow the pattern, I have made it easier to follow by using different colours)
  • There is only one way in and out of the labyrinth.

Once prepared

  • Sit quietly and take a few deep breaths, allow yourself to feel Gods presence.
  • When you are ready very slowly enter the labyrinth using your least dominant index finger and slowly follow the path to the centre. Allow your thoughts to surface, remembering that Jesus is with you all the way. Release all your thoughts and tensions on the winding journey.
  • When you reach the centre just rest a while with God and have a conversation. If you are finding lockdown difficult explain. Also think about the good things about lockdown and say thank you.

Coming out of the Labyrinth

  • When you are ready to exit the Labyrinth follow the same path joyfully. You can sing a song or hymn say a psalm or an uplifting poem or say the Lord’s prayer.
  • As you reach the exit give thanks and praise to God.

Prayer… but not what you might expect

Join us this weekend as we focus on prayer in many, varied and perhaps unexpected ways.

On Saturday, February 29th and Sunday, March 1st, the three churches in the parish of Badshot Lea and Hale will be offering opportunities to join in different sorts of prayer, ranging from eating pastries to going for a walk, from Welsh prayer, music and cakes to creativity in God’s presence.

The focus is on simply being with God and listening to God, trying to discern what God wants for our churches and community and what our part is in this.

There will be a labyrinth at St Mark’s, Alma Lane, GU9 0LT, and prayer stations in all three churches (St Mark’s; St George’s in Badshot Lea, GU9 9LD; and St John’s, Hale Road, GU9 9RP) and you are invited to call in and pray during the weekend*.

Then join in any or all of the following:

Saturday

9.30am: Pastries and Prayer – Join us for a prayer breakfast at St Mark’s and walk the labyrinth.
10.30am: Guided Mindfulness at St Mark’s.
3-5pm: Welsh prayer, Welsh harp music and Welsh cakes and tea at St John’s.
7pm: Candlelit service of prayer and a vigil at St John’s. Stay for as long as you want.

Sunday

2pm: Prayer walk, starting at St George’s. Walk between all three churches or join in at St John’s from around 2.30pm and St Mark’s from about 3pm.
3-4pm: Prayer and Art and Craft at St Mark’s. Create in the presence of God. Art and craft materials will be available but you are welcome to bring your own – eg knitting, crochet, clay etc
4.30pm: Come to St George’s and join a Benedictine Office of Readings with psalms, prayers, readings and meditation.
6pm: The weekend will finish with Taizé at St John’s.

 

*St John’s will be open from 9am on Saturday until the end of the Vigil and from 9.15am until after Taizé on Sunday. St George’s will be open on Saturday 9am-4pm and until after the Office of Readings on Sunday. St Mark’s will be open on Saturday 9.15am until noon and Sunday afternoon until 4pm.

 

labyrinth

Walk a labyrinth at St Mark’s.
Top picture by Chirag k, Unsplash

Walk the Prayer Labyrinth

What’s a labyrinth?

A labyrinth looks like a maze, except you can’t get lost in a labyrinth, there’s only one route through.  The large ones can be walked and you sometimes see smaller ones used as a decorative motif.

It looks a bit like a spiral, what makes it Christian?

The original labyrinths are pre-Christian and they are found throughout the ancient world.  A labyrinth becomes Christian through position, intent and use.  They were popular in Christian Europe during the middle ages and there’s a famous one dating from the 13th century in the nave of Chartres cathedral in France.  There has been a resurgence of interest in labyrinths during the late 20th century.

So what did Christians do with labyrinths?

Labyrinths may have been walked to symbolise pilgrimage, a journey through life, the inner journey to meet God at the centre.  They gave people a means of contemplation through walking.

Contemplation, what’s that?

Contemplation is a form of traditional prayer.  It’s a way of looking at things, through eyes and senses or the mind, to pass beyond the physical to an experience with God.  It is a way of coming to know God through prayer and listening, which is both simple and profound.

What about the context of the church today?  Are they relevant?

Labyrinths are part of a new tradition which has grown from the old.  Walking is one of the most accessible spiritual practices and it is as relevant today as it was in the past.  Relax, solviture ambulando (“it is solved by walking”).  Augustine of Hippo* did not explain what “it” might be, nor do we need to know what we want to gain from walking with God.

What happens, what do you do?

Think of a labyrinth in three parts: release, rest and return.  As you enter, start to focus on God and letting go.  What might you be holding on to which is keeping you from being close with God?  You might have the opportunity to pick up a stone, for instance, and drop it into a bowl of water, symbolically releasing all that hinders your journey towards God.  When you come to the centre of labyrinth, take time to be with God: stop, rest and listen.  And when it’s time to leave, walk back along the way and there may be the chance to reflect on new beginnings, new opportunities, planting a seed for the future.

Of course, not all labyrinths have activities, you may find that you walk the labyrinth in a group or in a group or in God’s company alone.

All this walking and praying sounds simple, does it work?

It is difficult to evaluate this practice, as it is with any other form of meditation or contemplation because it is highly personal.  The success and popularity of the      labyrinth at St Paul’s Cathedral has been cited by Sally Welch in her book Walking the Labyrinth as a reason why other churches are exploring the possibilities labyrinths offer for spiritual development.  It works for some people.

Just walk the labyrinth, walk with no expectation, no preconceived ideas and see what happens.  Listen to what God is saying to you.

How can I explore this tradition?

You could visit a labyrinth (check out http://labyrinthlocator.com/ which has a list of labyrinths world wide).  There are 117 labyrinths listed in England alone and they range from labyrinths set into the floors of churches, to outdoor ones made of turf , stone or wood.  Some are ornamental and some you can walk.

Or walk the labyrinth at St Mark’s during Holy Week – open on:

29th March 6:00-7pm
30th March 9:30-11am
31st March 9:30-11am
2nd April 9:30-11am
4th April 10:30-12noon

Adapted from a leaflet written by Lesley Shatwell