Saturday, 23 August 2014

Praying in the Landscape

I thought I would share this reflective liturgy as an idea or inspiration for others. You could adapt the prayers to suit a group if needed.

There are some lovely churchyards, gardens and natural spaces that invite the opportunity to appreciate the natural world, to pray and to rest. This was a day of reflection written for the surroundings of an ancient church near where I live. I'll describe each station as we go.

In this case, people came into the church space during the day. They were given a map of the stations, which they could visit at their own pace. There were places where people could sit and reflect. Each station had  prayer cards with the prayer poem and an image for the visitor to sit with and take away. The visitors were invited to start and end their journey with the prayer to the Sacred Three and to light candles in the church before they left, some people brought leaves or feathers as well. You could create a temporary shrine within the surroundings for this.

Prayer to the Sacred Three 

Sacred Three, whose love spirals the Universe
I ask you to guide my footsteps 
To open my eyes, to reveal your presence
in the world that is your gift to me.

May the blessing of the Father be in 
the depth of earth, the stability of rock, 
the turning of the seasons
to hold and protect me.

May the blessing of the Christ be in
the life that springs forth from the earth
creatures, trees and plant life
companions in my journey

May the blessing of the Spirit be in 
the eddying waters, the zephyrs of air
the breath of God's love 
to ward me and guide me.

Station - The Briar Path 

A overgrown part of the churchyard where the path needs to be negotiated with care

No-one said it would be easy 
But sometimes I wish
It would not be so hard.

Life sends me on many paths
The Way is not always clear
Light shines, but casts
Long shadows.
Darkness catches me 
Thoughts and words
Like briar thorns 
Bite into my heart.
Am I lost?

Be in my mind's eye
My heart's guide
My soul's friend
Lead me home. 

Station - Water

In a quiet corner a clay bowl of clear water, a jug filled to the brim and a scattering of smooth palm size stones.

Water of Life
Liquid light contained
In earth's cool hands.

Stars sparkling in mirrored sky
Reflection of what is 
What is not.

Love is deep
Life water, life-giving
Slipping through fingers

Feeding dry places 
Finding the way

Station - Forked Path 

A place where the path offers a choice 

With hindsight,
I would know
Which is right

This is the way
Or, not...
Who can tell?

Only this moment
Foot poised 
to step into mystery

Station - Boundary

A wall, hedge or fence - a place that defines an edge

There is no reason 
for being on the edge
Except that there seems
Nowhere else to go 
the 'somewhere else'
Seems too far.

Station - Groves

A group or circle of trees 

To be entwined
In earth and rock 
Deep in the One who gives me life

To stand tall 
encircled by life and time
With the One who gives me life

To reach up 
in joy and spirit
To the One who gives me life

Station - The Hearth

This could be a place of gathering, a fire pit, or altar

This place
A leaving
With love and courage
A returning
Longing and thanksgiving.

A place of 
Where love's fire
Burns through the brightest
and darkest of days
Feed my spirit
Guide the wanderer
Bring me home 
The prodigal
And the pilgrim
to the heart of God

You are welcome to use the ideas and prayers though I would ask that they are acknowledged as  mairie gelling 2014


  1. This is an extraordinary material, Word. Thank you! What a treasure...

  2. The Briar Path shimmers to me this early morning. It's amazing how often I'll be led to "just what I need" to soothe - or clarify. Thank you for being God's messenger.

  3. Thank you both, all blessings

  4. What a beautiful prayer path... thank you for sharing this... it took me back to Ireland and the Thin Places we visited...

    1. Interesting Michael - I have never made it to Ireland despite living 'across the water'. Maybe, one day - thank you