Finding Jesus by walking in circles

I need to pray. I want to pray. But sometimes I just can’t sit still. There are days when I’m too worried or too excited or too scared or too caffeinated to go from 60 to 0.

What do I do?

I love to pray while I run or hike. I call this a moving meditation, and it clears my head and my heart. Often I have to be active before I can be still and know that God is above and beyond anything I will ever encounter (Psalm 46:10). But I can’t always hop in the car and drive to Sedona. And as much as I like the gym, treadmills and TVs usually don’t quiet my internal noise and help me connect with the Holy Spirit.

Where do I go?

Circle of Peace has a simple prayer labyrinth on our property. It’s made from desert stones and has a big cross in the middle. The history of prayer labyrinths is deep and wide, and Christians have used them for centuries. We built this one in 2004 as a way to help people pray. Anybody is welcome to use it at any time. Not only that, our labyrinth is located on a piece of land where we plan to build a larger sanctuary someday. It just seemed right to make it a place of prayer before it becomes a house of prayer.

If you want to use the labyrinth to pray, here are some practical tips:

Park anywhere. Look for the cross. Then look for the benches, that’s where the entrance is.
A labyrinth is not a maze, so you won’t get lost. Take your time and walk slowly. It’s a prayer, not a race.
It might feel awkward at first. You might hear or see traffic go by. Just keep walking.
Sometimes I like to read scripture (or recall a memorized scripture) while I walk. Sometimes I pray for a person or event that is weighing on me. Sometimes I sing in my heart, I especially like this song:
Sometimes I even bring a hammer, a nail, and a prayer written on a piece of paper. When I get to the cross in the middle, I’ll nail my prayer to the cross.
There is no shade, and we live in Phoenix where it’s hot. I think you can figure this one out.
None of this is magic. God won’t pay me greater attention because I do any of this. But know that I can pay greater attention to God if I can move while I meditate.

There is another lesson in this for me: Like the labyrinth, my life doesn’t always go in a straight line. There are twists and turns that make me impatient and confused. I lose sight of the cross. I feel like I’m going nowhere. But if I can remember that Jesus is the way (John 14:6), and if by God’s grace I can keep walking with him, I can find Christ’s cross, and God’s stillness, by walking in circles.