Pray Naked

It is important to pray naked in front of a full-length mirror sometimes, especially when you are full of loathing for your body.  “Here I am.  This is the body-like-no-other that my life has shaped.  I live here.  This is my soul’s address.”

I’m reading the book An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor.  Each chapter discusses a spiritual practice for daily life.  Most are not as challenging as praying naked.

Like so many women, I have struggled since adolescence  with my feelings about my body.  Several years ago I realized my mother was probably anorexic most of my life.  She is the source of my continuing angst about my rear end.  I was awed by my body when I was pregnant and nursing.  I felt betrayed by my body when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at 35.  While my body has given me pain over the years, it has also given me lots of learning opportunities.  I know now where my daughter’s dogged determination and persistence may come from.  And no wonder my daughters are driven to be independent and self-sufficient.

Dogged determination has gotten me through numerous surgeries and frustrations.  My need to be self-sufficient has made it hard for me to ask for help easily.  I don’t want to share my vulnerabilities.  And I really don’t like that my hands and feet look weird and that I don’t always walk smoothly.  I don’t want my disease to show.  I want to control who knows and who helps and, God forbid, who might feel sorry for me.

My body is my soul’s address?  God thinks my soul can handle challenges, I guess.  I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today without rheumatoid arthritis.  Once in a while, I’m even grateful for the gifts of compassion and acceptance that I can share.  More often it is simply hard work–emotionally, physically, and spiritually–to be okay with my physical self.  I get tired sometimes.

So, pray naked?  I haven’t tried that yet.  But the idea has been stuck in my mind for days.  That usually means my Higher Power is nudging me toward something I don’t really want to do.  Which I will eventually do because it’s the next right thing.

How about if you go first and let me know how it was for you?

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I have prayed while taking a shower, which is praying naked, but not in front of a full-length mirror. The feeling I had/have praying in the shower is that there is nothing between me and God, no pretense, no place to hide. I felt humbled, open, and wonderful while praying naked.

    • What a great idea! And thanks for your honesty, Donna.

  2. “because it’s the next right thing.”
    LOVE that filter. i’m going to pay attention to that.

    another treasure of a post, Robin. THANKS!

    • Thanks, Lisa. And thanks for the reminder to just do the next right thing.

  3. I am always advocating for being comfortable in one’s body. I hate it when people complain about being exposed to someone else’s cellulite. I’m not advocating nudism here. I just think most people should be able to wear shorts and sleeveless shirts and even swimsuits even though they don’t have perfect bodies. Those with beautiful bodies aren’t the only ones that have a right to enjoy comfortable clothing and fresh air and sunshine. The only people who maintain practically perfect bodies as they age are the ones who focus most of their energies on doing so. I believe in keeping fit but not in obsessing over the appearance of one’s body. So by all means, pray naked. Clean house naked. Eat naked. Just be careful about cooking naked!

    • I advocate comfort in one’s body better than I practice it! Thanks, Susan, for your comments.

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