EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise, Day 4, Hands Together

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Postures of Prayer & Praise are
“outer representations of an inner reality”

Exploring: Hands Together – Prayer

Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Colossians 4:2 – Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

When we are anxious, our hands are wringing, but notice the attitudes of thankfulness and watchfulness that are to accompany our prayers. It’s not about what He can give us, but acknowledging and being thankful for what He has already given us and being watchful to see how He will answer our prayers, sometimes in ways we don’t expect.

Putting It Into Practice

Palms together or folded/clasped together is a posture we typically think of when we think of a posture of prayer. This posture has been used by many religions as a posture of prayer, and there are some that even postulate that Jesus learned this prayer posture from Buddhist monks during his time as a young child in Egypt.

Palms together

This posture can be done standing, sitting or kneeling. With palms together, thumbs can come to your heart or your forehead. As you can see in this photo, my friend Amy is both kneeling and has prayer hands at her forehead. Continue reading

Mirroring: You Know Me

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Attendees of Healing Care Ministries Essentials Seminar and HCM International Spiritual Direction Cohort often ask me for an outline of motions for a mirroring demonstration I do to the song “You Know Me” by Stephanie Gretzinger. I’ve been asked to videotape it but I hesitate because it is often a profound experience of the participant being felt and known by God. I feel videotaping is an intrusion of that experience.

Mirroring is done to face-to-face and is most powerful with high levels of attunement and empathy from the “minister” to the one being ministered to under the power of the Holy Spirit working through you. It is often used in Dance/Movement Therapy but I have found it to be a powerful tool in spiritual direction and in teaching embodied prayer.

Crotched Mt Continue reading

7 :: “My God, my God, why…?”

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“7” Last Statements of Jesus
Spoken from the Cross: Week 4

“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned (forsaken) me?”   Mark 15:34

M Durbin 2010 My God

Matt Durbin (c) 2010

Fear

I taste the juice of forbidden fruit

dripping from Adam’s mouth.

And in my hand, the dagger

that killed Cain’s brother. My arms

are sore from building Babel.

Abraham’s fear rolls in my gut.

I cling to Sodom as it burns, connive

for the birthright at Isaac’s bedside,

stand by as my sons slaughter a city,

hear the roar of weeping women Continue reading

EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise, Day 3, Palms Up

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Postures of Prayer & Praise are
“outer representations of an inner reality”

Exploring: Hands Extended Palms up – Receiving

Ezra 9:5-6 – Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the LORD my God and prayed: “O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.”

Ezra is asking for grace and mercy from God. Verse 5a indicates that he is in mourning because of his sin. As we seek forgiveness, we receive forgiveness from God. With palms open before the Lord, we can fully expect to receive what God so lavishly pours out upon his people. We can also receive from others by allowing them to be the hands and feet of Christ when we are in need.

I Peter 5:7 – Cast all your cares upon him because he cares for you.

When someone offers us a gift, we open our palms and extend our hands in order to receive the gift they offer. We can’t receive a gift with clenched hands—we must open in order to receive. As we cast our cares upon Jesus, we empty our hands so they are open to receive strength out of the glorious riches by the power of the Holy Spirit (Eph 3:16).

Psalm 141:2 – May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

As we lay (set) down those things that God has asked us to give up, it frees our hands to lift them up again in worship—hands that are empty. Not worshiping because of what He’s done, but simply because He is worthy of our praise. As we let go, we are free to worship without worldly hindrance.

Putting It Into Practice 

Palms upThis posture can be done standing, seated or kneeling. With palms up, the backs of the hands can rest on your legs, lap, the floor, or a table in front of you. In this picture, my friend Krystal is kneeling before God. What a beautiful picture—emptying her hands of her burdens, she finds rest in the peace of his presence. Continue reading

7 :: “Dear woman…”

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“7” Last Statements of Jesus
Spoken from the Cross: Week 3

[Jesus] said to [Mary], “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.”  John 19:26

M Durbin 2010 Woman

Matt Durbin (c) 2010

Mary at the Cross

I am not old. A bewildered mother

since conception who stored up

each moment. Now I will recall

the way you reached for me, a babe,

and only see your outstretched arms. Continue reading

EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise, Day 2, Palms Down

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Postures of Prayer & Praise are
“outer representations of an inner reality”

Exploring: Hands Extended, Palms Down – Blessing

Leviticus 9:22-23 – Then Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them. And having sacrificed the sin offering, the burnt offering and the fellowship offering, he stepped down. Moses and Aaron then went into the Tent of Meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people.

As God gives to us, we give to others—we extend our hands to give to and to bless others. As Moses and Aaron blessed the people, the glory of the Lord appeared—as we bless others, we reveal the glory of God through the generosity of our actions. We are the hands and feet of Christ.

Luke 24: 50-53 – When Jesus had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his Sacred Hearthands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

As the resurrected Jesus ascended to heaven, where he was seated at the right hand of the Father to rule and reign over heaven and earth, he extended hands of blessings to his followers to bless them. This blessing brought them great joy—joy that kept them continually in the presence of God. Continue reading

7 :: “Today you will be with me…”

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“7” Last Statements of Jesus
Spoken from the Cross: Week 2

“I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”  Luke 23:43

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Matt Durbin (c) 2010

Breath

Jesus, why are you

up here

with me,             why

is our blood

mixing                with dirt,

why do our lungs

heave out                as if

we have

the same spirit

in us

begging          to be            set free?

Why do we          keep

breathing,

                                            each inhalation,

                                                                                 a gasp.

All           I want             to do

is breathe out

a final                time. Continue reading