Doug Pagitt’s new book, Body Prayer: The Posture of Intimacy with God, just came out, I was sent a copy, and I wish to record some brief thoughts.
First, the book has a short chapter that sums up the thrust of the book: the body can, and perhaps should, reflect the essence of what one is praying. So, the rest of the book is a combination of sketches, short explanations, and journal entry spaces — on thirty postures for prayer that express the kind of prayer being offered.
I happen to think the book has a wonderful idea. And I’m the sort of person who needs the idea, because I was nurtured in a disembodied kind of faith — the only physical things we did were walk forward, get baptized, take communion, and stand and sit.
I’m a theologian and so what I’d like, because I think we all need it, is for Pagitt to write a full book on prayer, or at least several long chapters on the theology of physicality as inherent to prayer. Pagitt has given plenty of thought not only to the forms of physical prayer, but also to its theology, and we could use his working that out a little more completely. BodyPrayer, then, would function as a wonderful summary and workbook.
In its favor, I will say this: those who “act out” each of these prayer postures will learn a theology of embodied prayer by doing so.