(For more on my Prayer Project resolution, go here.)
A few weeks ago, I printed out a handy-dandy finger labyrinth from The Labyrinth Society. If you need to keep little fingers busy and minds calm during a service or prayer vigil next week, this is a great resource!
If you’re not familiar with labyrinths, they’re an ancient Christian practice of prayerful walking. They can be in a variety of shapes but a circle or half circle that spirals inward is most common. They can even be a simple spiral shape. Although some purists argue that a true labyrinth allows you to go out without having to turn around, I’ve seen plenty of complicated labyrinths that break this rule. Plus, you know, whatever. Tomaaaato, tomahto–the overall point is that they’re a path for centered walking and praying. For some helpful tips about using a labyrinth, check out the Creative Prayer site.
I’d never experimented with smaller labyrinth versions but was intrigued by the idea of a finger labyrinth. These printable labyrinths are meant for tracing with your finger, making them more portable (but also obviously less of a whole body experience.)
The first try at a finger labyrinth was a little discouraging. My daughter mistook it for a maze, raced through it and declared, “I’m done!” Pretty standard kid reaction, I guess, but it left me puzzled about what to do next. (I would say that it’s worth taking a minute to explain the idea of a labyrinth to your kiddos. I thought she’d remember walking one but she could have still used the reminder about what they are, how they help us pray, etc.)
Last night I printed another labyrinth and sat down at the table with her. She announced, “I remember that!” and then asked me to remind her how it was like prayer. So I explained that it helps you get centered and calm to listen to God. She tried it again and smiled.
Then I announced part 2. “Tonight we’re going to do something different. We’re going to write our prayers along the labyrinth path.” She took out her pen and got going. Ranger, our cat who ran away last summer was first. He is always at the top of her prayer list. Then prayers for a good day at school tomorrow, a happy playdate and gratitude for a friend at school. Her prayers went only a little ways along the first path, giving me the idea to continue praying the labyrinth this way for the next week. The writing along the curvy lines is fun and she enjoyed the finger tracing, too. All in all, a happy re-do of an initially ho-hum experience with the labyrinth.