Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Posture of Prayer: Intentional Clothing for Devotions

 I love history. I love historical clothing. Anyone who knows me that my daily wardrobe has become almost exclusively that of the late 19th and early 20th century. Clothing in my mind is an underestimated force. It really shapes how the world sees us and how we see ourselves in relation to the world. Clothing can give us a basic understanding about a person upon the first meeting, making the old "never judge a book by it's cover", although still true on a deeper level, maybe not as true initially.

 In times of prayer, especially at night, I find myself sometimes distracted by my appearance. Often times when I arrive home late at night from work, I take my work clothes off and could throw on my tshirt and shorts, do my prayers and then head to bed. But, as someone who really feels that appearances matter, tshirts and shorts don't strike me as appropriate when entering in to a time of prayer and contemplation.

  I should note, that I am in NO way suggesting that God would not accept my prayers  if I wore a tshirt and shorts, however it is important to me to be intentional and reverent before the Lord.

 Since I started studying the early church I have always been very inspired by the monastic tradition and the dress of religious life. The intentional and simple nature of their monastic habits have always struck a chord in my mind.

 So, in my desire to create a posture of prayer and devotion I've adopted my own sort of prayer "habit" if you will consisting of a plain white linen shirt and a medieval hood. (see above photo)

 I think as I have mentioned, I am a lover of history and doing things in an old way. It's a strange thing for people to understand, but ever since I was a kid I've had this desire. A simple trip to the woods had to be carefully planned as I put on my 18th century clothing in imitation of my favorite movie "Last of the Mohicans". Now that I have matured and "living history" has become more or less my lifestyle, I end up relating this same intentional way of dressing into my prayer life. Like the clothing I wear for living history, the clothing I'm experimenting with wearing during my late night devotions helps connect me to the ancient roots of my faith while also presenting myself in a humble manner of dress.

 This may all seem silly, but these are the things I think about. I hope to do more research into what kinds of religious clothing options there could be for men in the laity who wish to create a more intentional posture of prayer.


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