Returning to Center: an Embodied Prayer


embpryretThis is an embodied prayer I created for the Art of Spiritual Direction retreats at which I teach. It is based on the Lakota Native American Four Directions Prayer.

Participants stand in a circle, facing center, where a large cross is placed. You can also Create a Sacred Space like the one pictured at right and use that as your central focal point.

Featured above is a picture from a YogaFaith training where a beautiful pool of water was our focal point. Serendipitously, we ended up with our hands on both of our neighbors shoulders (at the part of the prayer where we prayer for the person on our left and right). It became a powerful symbolic action of unity and solidarity of purpose.

Returning to Center: Embodied Scripture Prayer

Facing Center, we look to Christ Our Center and read from Luke 4: 

Jesus unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me (the Messiah),
Because He has anointed Me to preach the good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to announce release (pardon, forgiveness) to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed (downtrodden, bruised, crushed by tragedy),
to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord [the day when salvation and the favor of God abound greatly].”

Then He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all those in the synagogue were attentively fixed on Him.

Christ, you are our Center. Just as the people’s eyes were fixed on you as you read from your word, we fix our eyes on you as we read and learn from your word.

Facing East, we look to the rising sun and read from Lamentations 3:

This I call to mind, and therefore I have hope.
Because of the Lord’s steadfast love we are not consumed,
His tender mercies never fail. They are new every morning;
Great and beyond measure is Your faithfulness, Oh God.
“The Lord is my portion and my inheritance,” says my soul;
“Therefore I have hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him.”

The Lord is good to those who wait confidently for Him,
To those who seek Him.
It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. (Pause)

TSY Center prayerFacing West, we look to the setting sun and read from Isaiah 45:

I am the Lord, and there is no one else; there is no God except Me.
I will embrace and arm you, though you have not known Me,
That people the world over may know from the rising to the setting of the sun

That there is no one except Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other,
The One forming light and creating darkness,
Causing peace and creating disaster;
I am the Lord who does all these things.

Facing North, we read from Job 37:

Out of the north comes golden splendor [and people can hardly look on it];
God is surrounded by awesome splendor and majesty—far too glorious for man’s eyes.
The Almighty—we cannot find Him; He is exalted in power.
Justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate.

Facing South, we read from Psalm 126:

Restore us from our captivity, O Lord,
As the stream-beds in the South are restored by torrents of rain.
They who sow in tears shall reap with joyful singing.
He who goes back and forth weeping, carrying his bag of seed [for planting],
Will indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

Turning back to center, we fix our eyes on Christ once more. (Pause)

Now, place your hand gently on the shoulder of the person to your right and pray that they would stay fixed on Christ in both good and bad (silence).

Now, gently placing your hand on the shoulder of the person to your left, pray that they would stay fixed on Christ in both good and bad (silence).

Turn & face outward (pause as they turn):

Lord, we pray for those in the world who have yet to turn their hearts to you. We pray that their eyes would be opened.

Turn & face center (pause as they turn):

Again we return to you, Jesus, our Lord and Center, and we sing together:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face;  And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the Light of his glory and grace.

I am providing you with a printer-friendly .pdf file which will open a separate document for your use (permission granted with copyright information in tact at bottom).

Creative blessings, Jody


(c) 2017 Jody Thomae
God's Creative Gift by Jody ThomaeJody Thomae is the author of God’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You, a devotional book with Bible studies to nurture the creative spirit within and to serve as a resource for creative Christians, artists, musicians and worshippers. She has been involved in worship arts ministry since 1997, coordinating artistic involvement in church services and regional worship events through dance, drama, poetry and fine arts. She performs, teaches, choreographs, preaches, coordinates and leads workshops in the area of creativity, spirituality and embodied prayer. JodyThomaeCDcoverart_FA_printShe has also recently released a devotional CD, Song of the Beloved. Her passion is for the revelation of God to be made more real through the prophetic use of the arts in church and formational ministry. It is her desire to portray the message of Christ’s desperate and unfailing love for His people to help sustain the hearts of the broken and weary. Life scriptures include Psalm 27; Isaiah 50:4-7; and Zephaniah 3:14-17.

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