Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Prayer Labyrinth

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16b

In this post, I wrote about how God was working on me in the area of prayer. I have been studying what fervent, effective prayer looks like. The definition that hit me the hardest was...

... that we we do not quit easily. It means we purposefully spend sufficient time in intercession. The word "sufficient" really, truly got me......sufficient doesn't have a time limit.

I have to admit, 95% of the time (or more), I have a time limit on my prayer......I have 30 minutes before the kids get up........I have a meeting at 9:00 and can pray till then, etc. I very rarely sit down to pray with NO specific time to stop allowing the HS to guide me.

As I have been starting my prayer journal back up, I realized that God is still working on me in this....basically praying till it is done. I don't believe we can do this all the time, but there are times we just need to remain in prayer till it is finished.

That is hard to do at home. There are so many distractions....and I am easily distracted.

So, I decided to try something new that a good friend of mine uses......a prayer labyrinth. There is a church in downtown Little Rock that has a prayer labyrinth open to the public and today I set aside the afternoon and went down there.

Now, there is nothing mystical or magical about a prayer labyrinth. It is just a tool that you use to really focus on God and your relationship with Him. As you step on to the labyrinth, the point is to hand over to God all the things that are coming between your relationship or hindering it......sin, fears, troubles, etc. Each step, you hand over one thing. You don't take another step until you can hand that item fully over to Him.

Somethings are easy.....some are not.....some happen fast.....some do not......some have to be visited several times.

Once you reach the center, you are hopefully fully open for the Holy Spirit to speak. It is the place to be quiet and let God speak to your heart. Oh my word, how wonderful this was.

When you feel you have heard from God, you walk the labyrinth backwards.....this time praising God for who He is, what He has done, answers He has given you, forgiveness, etc.

I stepped onto the labyrinth with a heavy heart......and some very specific areas where I needed direction.....

......I stepped off the labyrinth.......2 hours later........completely at peace. Knowing my God had met me there and spoken to my heart.

I think I am closer to understanding fervent and effective prayer.......


Deven said...

I haven't seen one of these around me, but I did see one at St. Kevin's monastery in Glendalough, Ireland. Neat prayer tool.

SmilingSally said...

I've never heard of this.

Palm trees grow just as slowly as other trees; it was a joke!

Goose Hill Farm said...


What a great post. How true we are often tied to a time limit on our prayers to our Heavenly Father. For me, it is not a nice feeling having to be rushed, and especially when we are bringing our burdens to the feet of Jesus.

Thank you for reminding me how important it is to slow down, and just pray till I am finished. I wish we had a prayer labyrinth here near us. Perhaps I will just use the path on our property instead!


Mel ~ said...

I love the idea of this. I am going to look around my area for one. If I can't find one, maybe I'll just create a makeshift one in my back yard. I need to work on the "time" issue in my prayer life, as well. Great post.

Lisa said...

I was hoping you'd touch more on what you are learning about prayer. I heard an incredible sermon years ago when I was in youth group that really stuck with me. It was about Jacob wrestling with the angel. Since, there have only been a few times that I've felt like I have "wrestled" in prayer with God, as you say, no leaving until we've completely worked through the issue. But wow, those times I've really come away KNOWING and at peace.

You've challenged me...I hope you will continue to share your heart on prayer.

What a very sweet post of your 25 reasons. You got a good one, for sure. Congratulations!

sara said...

Mel - If you go to labyrinthlocator.com you can put in your city or zip and see if there is one near you!!

Edie said...

Wow that is very cool. I have never heard of a prayer labyrinth before. Glad you were able to go deeper with God.

Much love!!

Beverlydru said...

How cool. I've seen one of these at a retreat center. I want to experience this! More Lord!

Debra said...

I will have to check this out for sure! Thanks for sharing more, Sara! Now I would like to ask you, my blogging buddy, for prayer. My heart has been very heavy lately and I have to admit I have been very stressed as I have been trying to prepare myself for my son going into the military. The marines to be exact!

As a mom I am very proud of my son for wanting to fight for his country, but I am also terrified! Please pray that he will make the right decision as to what job he will take in the marines. He will have to decide by Friday after his testing and physical etc. I'm trying to trust in Jesus and rely upon him to direct him, as well as calm my fears.

rita said...

I loved this prayer lesson and the labyrinth concept. I could use my woods. Getting out and walking or running is always a good setting for prayer--unburdening and listening.

Letters From Midlife said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Letters From Midlife said...

I like the Project 365 idea. I may try that for 2010.

It was interesting reading about the prayer labyrinth. As a Christian I personally am wary of them because of their origins in paganism and mysticism and how they are used in new age religions. I respectfully mean no judgment on anyone who uses them, they just give me pause as a believer. I haven't been able to find a Biblical basis for them.

sara said...

Midlife...thank you for visiting my blog and for your comment.

First, you don't have to wait till 2010 to start this project. A year can start anytime! We love having new people join us!

Second, I understand your concern with the labyrinth. However, I see it as a tool and a tool is neither good nor bad...it is what we DO with it.

Just like my prayer journal (also not scripturally based), it is something I use to focus my thoughts on God and God alone. If it became about the labyrinth or about the journal....then that would be where I would go wrong.

As humans, our tendency is to ritualize things and idolize things.....it's not about the "things"...it's about their priority in our hearts.

The labyrinth was so wonderful and really allowed me to focus and spend much needed extended time with God.

I hope that helps!

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

Sara - I struggle so much with getting distracted in prayer. I really think that I have never truly learned how to pray the way that God desires me to. You are really challenging me with these thoughts - thank you.

Jamie said...

"sufficient"...that really tugged at my heart. Thanks for this excellent post; it touched on a subject that has been big with me as of late.

And, thanks for your comment on my blog. I appreciate you thinking of me and checking in on me. I'll email you:)

The Davidson Den said...

Wow, Sara. What a blessing to have experienced such a powerful moment. I've never even HEARD of a prayer labyrinth. What church is it??

(PS-I've sort of been on a blogging hiatus, so I've missed your posts. I'm glad to be back to catch up with you.)