A full prayer must draw from both breath and clay, from above and outside, and also equally from below and within. It must have both inspiration and embodied energy. We have emphasized the first up to now, but not the second.
Our first concept of prayer is usually top down, with grace from above and outer animation from a transcendent God “breathing” into us. This is a good start.
In asking for grace, invoking your Higher Power, through words, waiting for “the descent of the dove” as it were, still leaves God mostly “out there” and not also “in here.” This spiritual imbalance was balanced out by the Incarnation of God into flesh (John 1:14) and the gift of the Indwelling Spirit (Romans 5:5).
So if the Incarnation is true and we are the Body of Christ, then prayer is fully experienced when it is also from the bottom up, when we “pray from the clay,” at the energetic, cellular level too. Adam (and Eve!) must receive and breathe the breath of Yahweh for themselves. Only then are humans, composed of both breath and clay, “all systems go”!
We must hunker down into the “Body of Hope and Resurrection” (Philippians 3:9—11; 1 Corinthians 15:44) and pray also from below and from within, on a cellular and energetic level too — or the attitude of prayer does not last or go deep.
• You are not thinking your prayer as much as energetically feeling your prayer.
• You pay attention from the bottom up and from the inside out.
• Rest into the Body of Christ energy instead of trying to pull an Infinite God into your finite world.
• Your body itself receives and knows, and is indeed “a temple” (1 Corinthians 3:16—17) where God dwells in the Spirit.
• Walking meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises are all helpful here.
Body prayer actually works much more quickly and more naturally than thought prayer alone. Body prayer is what we have tried to do with inspiring music, body gestures, and all sacraments, so this is not a new idea. It is what many are seeking in tai chi, pilgrimages, prayer beads, chanting, repeating the Jesus Prayer until it prays itself in us and through us, and so on.
To “pray from the clay” will also move you to the shared level of prayer. You will know that “you” are not doing the prayer, but you are falling into the unified field, and the Body of Christ is now praying through you (Romans 8:26—27) and with you. It becomes “our” prayer, and not just my prayer. Now you pray not so much to Christ as much as through Christ, and you will know experientially that you are Christ’s Body too.
The resolution of the false dilemma of high Christology and low Christology now becomes an inner Christ consciousness, combining the best of both.
“Immortal Diamond,” By Richard Rohr, 2013, Pages 207-210