Julian of Norwich was a 14th-century mystic, anchoress, and spiritual companion whose account of her life-changing mystical experience, The Revelations of Divine Love (also known as Showings), is a wonderful reminder of God’s love for us – as well as being a prime example of medieval English writing.
A form of body prayer has become popular that is known as the Prayer of Julian of Norwich. Some sources claim that Julian originated the prayer, but most say it is a contemporary body prayer that uses four key words from the Order of Julian of Norwich, which in turn come from Julian’s writings. The words are Await; Allow; Accept; and Attend. Each word has an associated body movement with it, which you may do either standing or sitting. However, you may also use those words – without the body movements – to pause and pray in a moment of anxiety or stress, in order to help you reconnect with God.
Richard Rohr offered this version of Julian’s body prayer in 2014:
AWAIT (hands at waist, cupped up to receive): Await God’s presence, not as you expect, hope, or imagine, but just as it is in this moment.
ALLOW (reach up, hands open, above shoulders if you can): Allow a sense of God’s presence (or not) to come and be what it is, without meeting your expectations.
ACCEPT (hands at heart, cupped towards body): Accept as a gift whatever comes or does not come. Accept that you are not in charge. Accept the infinity of God’s presence, present whether or not you are aware.
ATTEND (hands outstretched, ready to be responsive): Attend to what you are called to, actions that God invites you to from this stance of openness.
Then you may repeat the prayer several times in a row, so that the movements flow, one into the other, like a dance or yoga postures. A beautifully done video may be found here that demonstrates the body prayer.
May Julian’s prayer help you to find peace during this anxious and hectic time.
Learn more about the Episcopal Mental & Spiritual Health Crisis Ministry at njmindspirit.org.