I’ve just read a book about walking prayers: The Complete Guide to Prayer-Walking by Linus Mundy. In a previous post, I wrote about walking a labyrinth, but this is different, and you don’t need a labyrinth to do it. It has an added benefit to prayers said kneeling in a pew or sitting in a chair: The same time you are walking and communing with God, you are keeping fit. Walking prayers are simple.
You can walk through creation being aware of God’s ingenuity and love and letting your feet “kiss the earth,” an expression from Thich Nhat Hanh. The author recommends counting while you take steps and matching them to your breathing: inhale 1, 2, 3 exhale 1, 2, 3, etc. Walking is rhythmic and soothing. As you walk, pray a short prayer, repeating it over and over (a mantra). A collection of these can be found in my book Prayer Moments for Everyday of the Year (from Paulist Press or me, $9.95).
Prayer walking is a Catholic tradition. We have processions during the Mass; we have May crowning processions and Corpus Christi processions. Especially in Lent we walk the Way of the Cross. We make pilgrimages, even walking the daunting Camino de Santiago to the shrine of St. James in Compostelo, Spain.
Good places to walk are forests and beaches. But busy city streets can also do. We can also walk malls and halls. It is better to walk alone so as not to be distracted, but prayer walking can be done with a partner if silence is kept.
As for myself, I have quite a walk from my third floor apartment to my third floor office in the other building. I am going to try prayer walking as I go to and fro.
Remember that Jesus walked a great deal in his life. Then too there are those pithy words of the prophet Micah: “O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
Where is your favorite place to walk?