In these dog days of summer, you might want to try a new spiritual practice ─ napping! To be sure, this is not what we typically think of when we imagine prayer practices. Our ideas may tend more toward kneeling or sitting quietly, reciting memorized or improvised prayers, praying one of the daily offices in our prayer book, or perhaps meditating to clear our minds. Maybe we enjoy a walking meditation, or saying a rosary, or reading scripture, or gazing at an icon. And these are all wonderful practices (though maybe not the kneeling if you have bad knees!). But napping?! Seriously?
I was introduced to this practice many years ago by Episcopal priest Barbara Crafton, who wrote an email meditation about it. She referenced the gospel story of Jesus napping on his friends’ boats in the middle of a storm:
Jesus napped. He was such an experienced napper that he slept right through a storm at sea that almost swamped his boat, rousing only when awakened by his terrified friends so that he could order the water to be still. Maybe he curled up again after doing that and caught another forty winks.
So then, good news: napping can be Christlike! I used to think that I could trust my body to do anything I wanted it to do. That was not quite right — I can trust my body. But my body is not my slave. My body is my partner. It has rights of its own.
Napping can be Christlike! And taking care of our body by napping just might be a revolutionary spiritual practice. So I invite you to try it some day soon.
Happy napping, and happy praying!
PS You can read Mother Crafton’s whole email meditation here.