Praying outside, wandering along a pre-set path makes me slow my pace, linger in prayer, and delight myself in the wonder and thoughts of the saints who have gone before me. For kids it’s a pre-set race path. Or at least the first time they see it and that’s okay. I rushed through lots of things as a child. That’s okay, too.

A labyrinth is simply a place to walk and pray or think. There is nothing mystical about it. It gives you the freedom to walk around while focusing your mind on God – and not worry about getting lost. A labyrinth contains a single walking path to the center and then back out again. Labyrinths are used world-wide as a way to quiet the mind, calm anxieties, recover balance in life, enhance creativity and encourage meditation, insight, self-reflection, and stress reduction.

I’ve always wanted one for littles and bigs to enjoy. Using a labyrinth we introduce a connection with the holy habits of saints of the church with our current students. Having one outside is perfect to enjoy anytime.

It took us a year to paint due to the weather, but an amazing servant leader with an art background helped us prepare a proposal to our church trustees to draw and paint a classical labyrinth in a distant corner of our parking lot. Drawn with a piece of chalk she attached to a long piece of PVC pipe, the outline was painted white and the inside path was painted blue with parking lot paint. The center was painted with our children’s ministry logo. The center can certainly be changed at any time. If some folks don’t want it in the future, time and constantly driving over it can fix that or painting over it in black will do the trick.

Since then, an Eagle Scout project filled in the lingering space with a box to hold laminated paperwork for teaching and practicing prayer, a bench, and some low-maintenance landscaping.

I’ve used it at our Fall Festival as a ‘station’, the first stop of a S’more Jesus Late Night, on Kid’s Bible study night when the weather was exceptionally beautiful, and as part of the Easter Story Walk on Palm Sunday. Many times I go out there to take a break on a long 10-hour on-campus day.

There have been some amazing prayer labyrinths making inside and outside spaces sacred. With tools as simple as a couple of strings of Christmas lights, stacking cans from a food pantry, or some painted on tarp-like material which makes it easily mobile, a labyrinth can happen almost anywhere. Here are a few to consider:

St. Johns in San Francisco with Christmas lights

St. Johns in San Francisco on a small patch of land alongside a sidewalk

Want to find a labyrinth in your area? Check out

When kids use a labyrinth, they’ll run through it like a maze. Be okay with it. The more we use it, the slower the pace becomes. It’s become a fabulous meet-up space on campus. Do you have a space on campus which can be turned into a prayer labyrinth?

“You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” Acts 2;28