15 Mar 2008

Prayer Song-lines

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I am an instructor for a non-profit school that teaches nature observation, tracking and wilderness skills. One key concern we have for people particularly new to wandering in the woods is making sure that they don’t get lost. We teach several ‘lost proofing’ techniques. Among them is a technique in which you use a song-line to help you remember the landscape. As you walk along you identify land feature and weave a story out of those land features. For instance, you might see a very bent tree that reminds you of a little old man, and then a short distance to the east of it is a series of rocks that look like rabbits running away. So you might begin your song line, “There once was a little old man who one morning chased 5 bunnies into the sun-rise.” Then you would just keep adding characters and events to the ‘song’. The song becomes a map of sorts to get you back home.

A friend of mine is struggling with a form of prayer that has many pieces to it. He would like to internalize all of the parts so he doesn’t need a written guide. He is going to work on creating a song line. In his imagination he will come up with a series of symbols for each of the parts of prayer and will link them together in a story line of sorts. The story line will help keep him focus ed in his prayers and allow him to wander in prayer, but not get lost in distraction. This is a great blending of some of the dynamics of vital prayer that I shared in my previous blog. Blessings to you from the Practical Disciple, John

p.s. Oh by the way. For those of you interested in the outdoors, the school I am an instructor for is The Ozark Tracker Society. You can learn more about it at www.ozarktrackers.org

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