How can I pray using the Labyrinth?
The links below offer a few suggestions for how to pray:
Choose a simple focus word for your labyrinth walk, such as ‘love’, ‘peace’ or ‘joy’.
As you begin your walk, let you mind rest as you become aware of your breathing. Repeat your focus word to yourself as you begin your walk.
If you feel your attention drift, or if distracting thoughts are causing you disquiet, repeat your focus word to yourself as you continue your walk.
Is there a hurt, disappointment or loss that has been with you for a while? Do you need help to recover from this, or to extend forgiveness?
Imagine that you are carrying this hurt or disappointment in your hands, but that your hands are open so that you can release this thing and be freed of its weight.
Imagine your inward journey to the centre of the labyrinth as your process of letting go. Rest in the centre as long as you need.
As you depart the centre on your outward journey, ask God to help you continue your walk free of that weight.
The Jesus Prayer is commonly used in the Orthodox Christian tradition. Its two lines work well as a prayer synchronised with your breathing:
(breathing in) Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God
(breathing out) Have mercy on me, a sinner.
Allow your whole self–mind, heart, breathing and even the motion of your body–to become part of the prayer.
Choose a short passage of scripture to help you focus during your prayer.
Read the text through one or more times before beginning your labyrinth walk so that it is fresh in your mind. As you walk, if your mind wanders, use the text as your anchor.
- Dwell on words, phrases or images that you find compelling.
- Where are you in the text? Where is God? Do you feel close or distant?
- Is there a message in this text that you need to hear today?
You might like to meditate on one of your favourite Bible passages or stories, or try one of the scripture suggestions below.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Parable of the Yeast
[Jesus] put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’
He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’
Jesus Stills a Storm
When evening had come, [Jesus] said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said
to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.
He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this,
that even the wind and the sea obey him?’
All scripture quotations from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Add Music to Your Labyrinth Walk
Quiet, ambient music can add to your labyrinth walk experience.
Some organ pieces, performed by our Organist Jack Oades, FRCO, and recorded in the cathedral:
Or you might like to try Live Ambient Improvised by Moby. It incorporates nature sounds with subtle piano phrases.