One of my favorite things to do is find prayer labyrinths and walk them while I pray. If you're not familiar with the concept of the prayer labyrinth, a labyrinth is a walking path that was used commonly in churches during the medieval period to develop the spiritual discipline of prayer. Below is the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco where Jamie and I used to go and pray with some friends.

A labyrinth is not a maze. There are no wrong choices, just one single winding path to the center and you exit the same way you came in. The suggested way to pray through a labyrinth is as follows: a) As you slowly walk into the labyrinth begin praying and dealing with any sin in your life that might hinder you from hearing God clearly. b) When you get to the center, sit or kneel and silently listen to God speak to your spirit. c) As you exit the labyrinth, thank God for his word to you in your prayer time and ask him to prepare you for re-entry into the world. It may sound hokey, but I've found it to be an extremely effective tool in focusing my prayer time. Depending on the size of the labyrinth and the speed in which you walk it, it can help you to pray for anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour +. It normally took me an hour to pray through the labyrinth at Grace pictured above. This is one of the reasons I believe it is so effective. It will normally take you 15 minutes or so just to clear all the clutter from your head and truly get into your conversation with God. I need to pray for long periods of time more often than I do.

The reason I'm posting on this is that I got to walk a labyrinth tonight. The church where Mollie has her Girl Scout meeting has one behind the building. You can't really see it from the street. We discovered it by accident several months ago. It's a smaller labyrinth and I had to wait on Mollie for about 20 minutes, so I spent some time in prayer. Even though it was a short walk, I was amazed at how focused my prayer was. I don't add that extra step of listening to God nearly often enough when I'm just praying on my own.

There is a great website that is a worldwide labyrinth locator. If there's a labyrinth near you, this is a great way to find it. It even lists the two labyrinths that are here in little ol' Lebanon, MO (the one I prayed at tonight and another in somebody's backyard). Check it out here: http://wwll.veriditas.labyrinthsociety.org/.

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