"Prayer resides in our bodies, waiting to be unearthed in the gestures of everyday life. The deep mystery of the holy is embedded in the heart throbbing, the stomach turning, the chest expanding, the pelvis rising, the hands clapping. The life force is awaiting breath, and to be breathed. Our bodies are our words: the language of guttural prayer, the cries of the unknown heart falling into the act of being known by the one who designed the longings of our hearts," writes Celeste Snowber in this paperback that was originally published in 1995. She is a dancer, educator, and writer who has focused her work in the area of spirituality and the body for more than 20 years. Also the author of In the Womb of God, she is presently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia with an emphasis in dance and arts in education.
Children love to move: they skip, run, hop, and dance. They each have a body signature all their own. Yet as adults, we lose touch with this animated movement and the joy of our bodies. And down through the centuries, Christians have been especially guilty of not honoring the body created by God and blessed by the incarnation of Jesus into human form.
Snowber salutes the rich tradition of embodied prayer in the Bible and explains how "the inward grace of God [can be] made visible through the physicality of the body, from the sways of lament to the open psalms of supplication and the jubilant leaps of celebration." Since movement is a metaphor for the spiritual journey, we can enflesh the story of our lives through bowing, kneeling, falling prostrate, or dancing in wild abandon. In chapters on The Listening Body, Healing the Soul through the Body, Lament, and Dance as Celebration, Snowber captures and beautifully conveys the manifold riches of this practice. She concludes with concrete suggestions for embodied prayer.