Another meditation from our fellow Maryknoller in Hong Kong, Fr. John Cioppa.
I like to walk. I like to walk with others. This provides a great opportunity to relax, talk and share views on life with a friend. But I also like to walk alone. I have found it is one of the best ways to pray and it's easy. For many of us as soon as we think of prayer, we think of folding our hands, kneeling in church or saying the Rosary. But walking can be prayer too.
I like walking in the country parks best.... But you can walk in the streets as well. Prayer walking is an attitude. If you can walk, you can pray-walk. The simplest way I call "strolling " with your soul. You just walk along in a relaxed and easy going manner enjoying nature, stopping to look at whatever grabs your attention: a flower, a tree, a pond, ball game or kids playing on the swings. You just admire and enjoy what you are experiencing. Perhaps it's the smell of the flowers or the sour odour of fermented leaves in the Fall. Whatever it is, we drink in and feel in our souls a sense of joy and peace, and thank God that we are alive and here. We bless all of creation and the whole world becomes our "temple".
Another kind of prayer-walking is more formal. We can consciously breath in the fresh air , count our steps, repeat a phrase that we like, e.g. Lord Jesus, have mercy on me; My God I place all my trust in Thee, or like what Thomas the Apostle said, " My Lord and My God." We can find a word or phrase in cadence with the walking. Some people like to say the Rosary. Don't worry too much about what you are saying, just keep up with the rhythm.
I prefer to use my own words and talk to God. Sometimes I praise Him for the beautiful day and the opportunity for quiet reflection. Other times I discuss with Him a difficulty I am having, tell Him about my mood. good or bad. Sometimes I talk with Him about the day ahead or discuss with Him future plans or ask His help with a decision I have to make. If I am alone and no one is in sight, I talk aloud to God. Sometimes I repeat a short hymn.
Prayer -walking is healthy. It involves the whole person, body and soul.
Prayer-walking is not for experts. It is for ordinary people with feet. If you have feet, you can pray.
Prayer-walking is right for our times. It is a combination of action and contemplation. It reduces stress.
Prayer -walking helps us to pray naturally and to form the habit of praying always.
Prayer-walking is enjoyable and easy. You can prayer -walk alone or with someone else, at day or night, in rain or shine, in the city or country , with music or quiet, for five minutes or five hours. Try it....