Praying in the Labyrinth




Alex Tang



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Praying in the Labyrinth

Dr Alex Tang

All of us adopt different postures when we pray. So of us prefer to pray kneeling, some prostrate, while others either sit, stand or walk. Prayer walk has become commonplace as we adopt the spiritual warfare teachings. However contemplative prayer walk is not. Walking and praying the labyrinth is a structured form of contemplative prayer walk.

The labyrinth has its roots in antiquity. However the Christian Church Fathers and Mothers had adopted it as a prayer form. The labyrinth is like a maze. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth does not have blind ends. One can follow the pathway of a labyrinth easily to the centre and then out again.

There are no fixed rules in how anyone is to pray in the labyrinth. We can imagine walking the labyrinth as a pilgrimage. We move slowly and prayerfully towards the heart of our worship. There we spend as much time as we want in His presence. After that, we retrace our steps slowly back into the world. We can stop as frequently as we want to stop, pray, meditate or read the Scriptures or some spiritual books. People normally stop at bends and curves of the labyrinth. The labyrinth is especially suited for praying the Stations of the Cross at Lent. Those who contemplatively pray walk the labyrinth found it a profound spiritual experience.

There are many designs of the labyrinth. The most well known is the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France. The Chartres labyrinth is an intrinsic design measuring 12.9 m (42.3 ft) in diameter. It has 11 concentric circuits which leads to a rose petal shaped centre. There are 34 turns as one journey in.

However, we are free to design smaller ones in our gardens or retreat centers. Many other religious traditions also use the labyrinth as a spiritual tool. However there are also people interested for health and other reasons.

The labyrinth can be a powerful means for contemplative prayer walk.



Soli deo gloria

|posted 30 January 2007|


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