Push, Play and Pray #1
Over the next few weeks we’re following a series of prayers I’m calling, “Push, Play and Pray”. Each week we’ll have a couple of prayers building from the energy of pushing and pulling. I’m inviting you to come along and push, play and pray with me.
If you’ve been around this prayer room for a longer time than it’s been on Substack you’ll have heard me talk about the sense of proprioception. Proprioception is my favourite sense. The Collins Dictionary defines it as the neurological ability of the body to sense movement and position. I only found out about this sense after I named the prayer room after the five well known senses of sight, touch, smell, hear and taste. But yes, there are other senses!
The purpose of any of our senses is to use our body to inform our brain about what to do and how to feel. Our senses have a direct impact on our emotions and our thoughts and therefore our actions and our speech. Sensory input is way more important than we might think. As well as the traditionally accepted five senses there are a few more. Maybe the exact number is not even yet understood. In scientific research the sensory processes of the brain have often been overlooked in favour of cognitive processes. This is changing and there are many new and exciting scientific studies recognising and acknowledging the huge importance our senses play in our overall health and wellbeing.
What does it even mean to have a sense that tells your body where it is in space, to notice to movement and be aware of position? I’m not going to cover it all here as proprioception is a big topic. Briefly though, I think of proprioception as a grounding sense. This sense supports our bodies and then in turn our thoughts and emotions into feeling calm and present. Proprioception brings us to a ‘just right’ state. We turn to spiritual practices to achieve similar outcomes of centering, being present in the moment, being calm, being at one with ourselves and being at peace with God. It’s intriguing to me how many wonderful spiritual practices from past centuries and across the Christian faith and other religions have involved some form of bodily movement which we’d now identify as proprioception.
The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a woman mixes a little yeast into three big batches of flour. Finally, all the dough rises. Matthew 13:33 (CEV)
The process of kneading dough is extremely soothing and satisfying. I never really knew just why I loved to make bread, but it’s been a passion since I was a teenager. I’d find the rhythm of ten minutes of kneading to be a time to think and to pray. I took bread making classes and every weekend I’d bake bread. Later, when there was a family and work, there was not enough time in my working week to make daily bread so my stepchildren bought me a breadmaker. This was when I found out that as much as I love the smell of bread baking and enjoy the taste and texture of freshly baked bread, the biggest thing I loved about making bread was the kneading. The breadmaker was eventually retired and I went back to random breadmaking and kneading when I had the time. Sometimes I just feel like kneading!
Our first prayer today begins with kneading pizza dough. The prayer focusses on persistance and patience. Every summer we holiday with friends who for years have had a piece of land with a pizza oven and shed. Three years ago we swapped from tents to the new house which has now joined the pizza oven and the shed. Ever since the pizza oven was in place I’ve been primary dough maker. This summer we calculated a rough estimate of 1000 pizzas made in the oven. Which means over the years I’ve made a few hundred batches of pizza dough! Even when I’m in a crowd I move into a head zone all of my own as I knead the dough. I’ve included my recipe for pizza dough. It works in a regular oven as well as a pizza oven.
Our second prayer today begins with cinnamon scrolls. The prayer uses the spiral and helps us focus on God’s involvement in our life. Same pizza oven, same routine, although cinnamon scrolls are usually only made once per single holiday week or weekend. Cinnamon scroll day is often determined by the departure day of the first person to leave the current gathered group. It’s one of those traditions that has just happened over the years. Occasionally I’ll make the scrolls at home in my own oven too and I’ve included a link to the recipe for you to make your own at home. You can adapt the prayer with storebought scrolls, but if you are eager for some kneading time, this recipe is a great one to try.
I hope you enjoy both the prayers below. Feel free to adapt and change them for your own circumstances and settings. In these uncertain times, my hope is these kneading prayers offer support.
May God be with you in your kneading and may God provide your current needs.
On the journey
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