The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


More praying

Reclaiming the tradition of orans

In case you don’t remember last month’s column topic, it was about praying—hence the title above. When we talk about worship we have to talk about prayer.

Prayer is the heart’s business. And the head’s. But it’s also an activity of the body. Genesis 32 tells us that Jacob’s prayers at Peniel literally turned into a wrestling match with an angel.

As the day began to break the angel wanted to depart, but Jacob wouldn’t quit. Jacob knew that to pray was to reach for, wrestle with and not let go of God. Prayer is something we do, as much as it is something we think and feel. In fact, the thinking and feeling of prayer may not even be possible if we don’t first do something—with our bodies. That is why in worship we walk in procession, stand and sit, bow and kneel. What we do with our bodies nurtures what is in our minds, hearts and souls. How do we know that we adore God if we never bow our heads or bend our knees before the divine?

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March issue

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