EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise, Day 1, Hands Raised

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

Exploring: Hands Raised in Praise, Prayer & Petition

I Kings 8:22-23 – Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven and said: “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.”

Solomon is 1st giving words of praise to God; 2nd witnessing in front of everyone; and 3rd remembering God’s covenant of love.

I Timothy 2:8 – Therefore I want people everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

Here we find hands raised in prayer, and note that it is to be without anger or dispute in your heart.

Psalm 28:1-2 – I pray to you, O Lord, my rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you are silent, I might as well give up and die. Listen to my prayer for mercy as I cry out to you for help, as I lift my hands towards your holy sanctuary.

In this prayer, the writer David is petitioning God to hear his prayer with arms reaching. He cries out to God, lifting his hands towards God in heaven.

Putting It Into Practice

hands upThis posture can be done standing, seated or kneeling. I like to imagine I am a young child, reaching my arms up to my Father God. As you experiment with lifting hands towards God today, start by letting go of any anger you have towards another. Second, remember scripture says your hands are holy. Next, think about literally lifting your praise towards him, and finally, lift your prayer of petition (request) before him. Might I suggest using Chris Tomlin’s song I Lift My Hands as you do: Continue reading

EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise

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

jodythomae.com

In Luke 10, when the lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test, he asked him how to inherit eternal life. Like a learned rabbi, Jesus turned the question back to the lawyer, who answered:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.

Jesus confirmed his answer as true, with a command and a promise: “Do this and you will live.”

When I teach on embodied prayer and worshiping with your whole self (including the often-excluded body), I am often asked where to begin. “EMBODIED” — a 7 day exploration of postures of prayer and praise — is designed as a starting (or restarting point) for those wanting to engage their bodies in prayer and worship.

  • Perhaps you have never used your body to pray or worship?
  • Or perhaps you’ve danced like David before the Lord and are looking for a new way to explore the movement of worship that flows freely from your sinew and bones?
  • Or perhaps you’re looking for an embodied way to spend an intentional week of prayer and worship before the Lord?

Whatever your reason, I’m glad you’re here. Continue reading

Reclaiming Yoga as a Christian Healing Tool

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For real change to take place, the body needs to learn that the danger has passed and to live in the reality of the present. ~Bessel van der Kolk, MD (pioneer in the field of traumatology) in The Body Keeps the Score

I have already written about my journey listening to the voice of God as I’ve explored yoga as a creative Christian practice. I also want to share another reason behind my exploration of yoga as I’ve sought the Lord’s will and wisdom in this somewhat tricky and controversial issue as a follower of Jesus Christ.

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I am deeply passionate about helping others find the healing power of Jesus through creativity, beauty, art, and worship. I am currently writing a devotional Bible study about that very topic. And more and more, as I am reading, researching and writing, God is leading me to connect this love of healing through the arts with my love for yoga and all things embodied. In the midst of my research and exploration of trauma, I quickly found the work of Bessel van der Kolk, MD, a leader in the field of trauma since the 1970s. In his own research he has more recently discovered that yoga and other embodied practices help those who suffer from PTSD and chronic trauma. Let me refer you to two articles and a recorded interview on his research and discoveries: Continue reading

Yoga as a Creative Christian Practice

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Shoulder to shoulder with my Jesus tribe I know that I am accepted and loved, that I belong and that I have found a group of people who have experienced the great love of Jesus Christ…. on a mat… a yoga mat.

Raise PraiseYou ask me how? How can a Christian practice yoga? I mean, isn’t it Hindu? Aren’t you worshiping the sun or Shiva or a weird looking elephant dude… or something? I could tell you that the movements we call yoga in America are actually more closely derived from the exercise regimens of Indian palaces than from the ashrams who adopted them (Science of Yoga, W.J. Broad), but I’m not sure you’d believe me. So I’ll tell you what God told me.

First, let me clearly state that I recognize that not everyone can or should practice yoga. There are people who have had negative experiences with yoga, and I agree 100% that yoga is not the best creative practice for them to adopt. However, that doesn’t mean that it effects everyone in the same negative way (proceeding with wisdom, discernment and caution). For I have experienced the love of God in such strong, powerful and healing way on the mat, that I cannot go along with the notion that a Christian cannot practice yoga. Let me tell you what Jesus has taught me along my journey into yoga…

Continue reading