Still Small Voice 8: Drumming as Prayer

Submitted by SCM on Friday, February 18, 2011 - 11:32
in Prayer

Welcome to the 'Still Small Voice' blog series, a round up of blogs sharing approaches to prayer, suggesting ideas and thinking about how prayer and contemplation relates to action.

Alex shared a reflection on her blog about one of the workshops at SCM's annual conference. Here is her blog post in full...

Whilst at the SCM conference this weekend just gone by I took part in a drumming workshop. Using West African drums, Kara [Cooper], the workshop leader, led us through a new way of praying.

We each had a copy of a psalm, (86 I think) and whilst reading through it in silence, meditatively, we had to look for words or phrases that leapt out at us, and ponder those words. Very similar to Lectio Divina if you've ever tried that.

Then we had to drum out that phrase, either the rhythm of the words, or sounds representing those words, or sounds on how the words made us feel.

My words were "For To You I Cry" and as the session word on I drummed the rhythm, the shape, the sound of crying. Sometimes I just drummed a cry.

All the words and sounds of the group looped together. Sometimes there was a big sound, all in sync, and other times chaos and no rhythm. I sat quietly for a time and listened to the sound. And naturally, gently, it came to a close all together. When our prayer was done.

I found praying with my whole body like this, going over and over my cry to God as my hands were busy, my feet busy, my ears busy, so soothing, so easy The active me was occupied, and the rest of me could focus on God. It was grand to hear my prayer subsumed into the large prayer of the group.

This became a theme of the weekend, looking for ways to pray with the all, to keep focused on God. I taught some to knit, and some made knots and plaits of wool whilst praying. Some suggested praying with clay or plasticine in one's hands.

I've been diving in and out of prayer since coming home. Looking for the time for the subversive silence all through the day.

By Alex Tarling

You can find the other blogs in the Still Small Voice series here:

Tags: prayercontemplationcontemplative prayerresourcessubversive