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Food for Thought - Spiritual Formation

Barefoot Prayer

To The One Whom Jesus Loves,


As we continue our theme of creativity in spirituality that began last month, you are now invited to explore the prayer practice of barefoot walking. You will be invited to take off your shoes…if you are brave enough even your socks…and walk around inside and/or outside barefooted. The idea for this prayer practice flowed from the writing of a barefoot traveler included below. Read through this writing and then, if so moved, enter into the prayer practice of barefoot walking entitled Barefoot Praying, which is outlined below.



A barefoot traveler


unprotected toes

protruding in crowded places

naked tootsies treading

upon unexplored terrains

unshod feet transverse a path

smooth and jagged

shoeless feet experience

realities unknown to shoe wearers


All ground is holy

beautiful and vicious


lush lawns, sharp rocks

cushy carpets, broken glass

each step

brings new possibilities

joy

pain

delight

sorrow

happiness

anguish


All ground is holy

beautiful and vicious


barefooted memories from long ago

carefree summer days

pains pervasive presence

joy

delight

pain

sorrow

God: a step away


All ground is holy

beautiful and vicious



Barefoot Praying

This method of prayer can be done inside or outside…I leave that up to you. As you begin your barefoot prayer session, take some time to settle down and settle into the One who is always with you.

· Express to God your desire to be open and receptive to the leading and prompting of God’s spirit.

· As you are taking off your shoes, express to God your feelings about this prayer practice and your desires for this prayer time.

· Once you have your shoes and/or socks off, commit this time to God and ready yourself. It is time to begin.

· Before you start walking ask yourself: How do I feel without shoes (free, vulnerable, self-conscious, happy, uneasy)? Why? Share these feelings with God.


Now, start by walking slowly, paying attention to what you are sensing as you walk.

  • What feelings arise within you?
  • As you are walking over different surfaces (it is important to walk over a variety of surfaces; cold, warm, hot, rough, smooth, soft, hard, sharp, dry, wet, firm, squishy, etc.), how do your feelings change?
  • What surfaces are you drawn to? Why?
  • What feelings are stirred within you as you journey across the various surfaces?
  • Which do you enjoy? Resist? How is this like your life?
  • What is your sense of the reality of God in all this?
  • As you prance around practicing barefoot prayer, have your feelings about being barefoot changed?
  • Are you feeling more or less free, vulnerable, self-conscious, happy, uneasy, etc? Why have your feelings changed/not changed?

Now walk around with the awareness that all ground is holy ground. Walk slowly, listening for the still small voice of God.

  • Has keeping in mind that ‘all ground is holy’ changed your experience? Why/Why not?
  • What is God teaching you, challenging you with, and/or inviting you into through this type of prayer practice?
  • How does walking with the sense that all ground is holy change how you interact with your environment? Why?
  • Allow yourself to be moved to praise, thanksgiving, adoration, or intercession, prompted by the surfaces upon which you are walking. What surfaces give rise to what type of prayers? Why?

Spend time thanking God for the sense of touch, the gift of textures, etc.


Reflecting on your experience: what did you learn about yourself, God, prayer, and how you do life? What feelings do you carry with you from the experience?


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