A 14-Year Old's Ragamuffin Mentors
Last Things: Back to the. . . City

The Choreography of Prayer

"Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you" (1 Pet. 5:7)

Surely Linette Martin was right in speaking of the choreography of prayer. (See "Practical Praying: A Review," Post of August 21st ).  Some verses like this one seem to call for it.  How, after all, do you "cast" an anxiety?  It's a great help not only to visualize it but enact it.  This is one I used today.

I always thought this was a weird, mystical kind of thing, something a Quaker like Richard Foster might suggest (and I believe he did), but I've changed my mind.  When I've had difficulty sleeping because I had too many things on my mind I'd get up, commit them to paper, and then rest assured that they would be dealt with as they were all there on paper.  Maybe it's a bit like that, like handing these cares over to God, no, like sending them via a fast ball to his gut: "Here, you take these.  I can't handle them.  You can."  You see, then they're not mine anymore but His.  Cast them, Peter says.

Maybe that's why I like the walking prayer as well.  Looking up at the sky I can imagine a prayer taking off, or a care released, floating up and away.  I might even just say a word aloud, thinking of the sound waves that go on and on.  Looking down at my feet they seem to say persevere, keep on, one minute by minute, and I pray for strength for this and that and people who have little of that strength.  Looking at the people I meet coming toward me, eyes often averted, I can hold them up to God as well and say "Here, they're yours, help them," and even give a (very) little push with an open hand to emphasize the giving.

Well now.  All that sounds a bit flaky to me.  But honestly, a little imagination, a little choreography, and I pray better.  OK?