The Spiritual Fitness Path
Welcome to The Heartland Community Church Spiritual Fitness Path! We hope that you enjoy this space and use it to:
- Commune with God away from your daily distractions while surrounded by the glory of His creation.
- Meditate on Jesus’ love and sacrifice as you journey along the Stations of the Cross.
- Engage your body, mind, and spirit in prayer as you navigate the Prayer Labyrinth.
For more information, please click the links below
What is a Prayer Labyrinth?
The Prayer Labyrinth is really just a tool to help clear your mind of distractions and to focus on being in the presence of God. It’s a way to engage our whole selves in prayer – our mind, our spirit, and our body.
Physically, the Prayer Labyrinth is much like a maze. It is a path marked out on the ground that switches back and forth, leading us near to our goal before reversing direction and taking us somewhere completely unexpected. But unlike a maze, there are no wrong turns; only the one path marked out for us that eventually leads us exactly where we are supposed to be. As we navigate the twists and turns of the Prayer Labyrinth, it can be an outward physical expression of our inward journey towards Christ.
Our Prayer Labyrinth is approximately 40 feet in diameter and consists of seven concentric circular paths around a center interior circle. If you were to count every time the labyrinth’s path redirected you or turned, you might notice that there are four sets of three sections for a total of twelve sections of the path.
What is the origin of Prayer Labyrinths?
A Prayer Labyrinth is an ancient method of prayer and meditation. The first known Christian prayer labyrinth was built in 324 AD in a cathedral in Algeria. They became popular in the Middle Ages as a way for the faithful to make a “pilgrimage” without leaving their church community. The most well-known labyrinth is still in use in the cathedral in Chartres, France.
Today, prayer labyrinths are regaining popularity and can be found throughout the world in monasteries, seminaries, churches, hospitals, hospices, parks, backyards, and anywhere that people want to spend time communing with God.
Our Prayer Labyrinth was built with stones donated by many individuals from our church community from their own yards and gardens. It was also made possible through many other generous donations of materials, tools, finances, and loving labor.
How do I engage with the Prayer Labyrinth?
Have you ever had something that you wanted to think deeply about, to concentrate or focus on, or perhaps a question to answer, an experience to reflect on, or a problem to solve and found that it helped to engage your body in the task by going for a walk or mowing the lawn? Walking the Prayer Labyrinth allows you to engage your whole self (mind, spirit, and body) as you commune with God.
While there is no one right way to pray the labyrinth (no one right prayer or speed of walking) consider engaging in any of the following ways or one of your own:
- Take a pebble from the basket beneath the Prayer Labyrinth sign. Allow it to symbolize something that you want to give to God, to lay at the foot of the cross, or to surrender to Him. Leave that stone and the offering, thanks, concern, regret, or behavior that it represents in the center of the labyrinth as you leave it with Him.
- Once you are in the center of the labyrinth, ask God what He has for you to take back out to the world. Perhaps it’s a ministry that He is calling you towards, a person or a social injustice that He has put on your heart and is asking you to do something about, or maybe it’s just more patience, more mercy, or selfless love that He wants you to take back to the world as you walk in His image. Grab a stone from the center of the labyrinth and allow it to represent whatever it is that God has put on your heart and prayerfully carry that back out of the labyrinth to the world.
- The labyrinth is comprised of many 180 degree turns. These turns may remind us of our call as followers of Jesus to turn from our old way of living for ourselves and to live and love as Jesus did.
- Meditate on or recite a verse, passage, or hymn as you clear your mind and focus on simply being in the presence of God.
- Invite God to walk with you during your prayer journey. Ask for the grace to hear and respond to Him. Let your prayer unfold as you trust in God’s guidance.
- Release, Receive & Return
- Release (Purgation) – As you enter the labyrinth, open your heart, quiet your mind and let go of worldly attachments, thoughts, and distractions as you prepare to encounter God in an intimate way.
- Receive (Illumination) – As you reach the center of the labyrinth, spend time with God, center yourself on your relationship with Him and allow your spiritual tank to be filled as you spend time communing with God and just “being” in His presence.
- Return (Union)– As you leave the center of the labyrinth, retrace the steps that brought you here, but walk with Jesus as you return to the world and your ministry as His hands, feet, and heart.
Is the Prayer Labyrinth biblical?
The words ”prayer labyrinth” don’t appear anywhere in the bible – but neither do “church building”, “worship team”, or “bible commentary”. Like those things, praying the prayer labyrinth is simply a tool to help us engage with God in a meaningful way. The tool itself has no mystical properties, it’s just a tool.
Where is Heartland’s Prayer Labyrinth?
Our Prayer Labyrinth is behind the Worship Center at our Weymouth Campus at 3400 Weymouth Road in Medina, Ohio. It is beautifully set in the woods on a hill behind the church as a part of our Spiritual Fitness Path. If you were to exit the church by the fireplace in the Café, you would see a stone path leading up the hill to a playground, sand volleyball courts, pickleball courts, basketball courts, and a firepit. Just past the firepit is a sign for The Spiritual Fitness Path – a peaceful, secluded, winding wooded path. Along The Spiritual Fitness Path you will first encounter our prayer and meditation stations, and at the end of the stations, you’ll see a clearing in the woods and our Prayer Labyrinth.
What are The Stations of the Cross?
The Stations of the Cross are a series of images and bible verses that have been selected to remember “The Passion of Christ”, or the events leading up to and around Jesus’ crucifixion. They originated in Jerusalem along “The Via Dolorosa” once thought to be the actual path that Jesus carried his cross on the way to Calgary. For centuries, Christians made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to walk along the Via Dolorosa and pray The Stations of the Cross to remember Jesus’ sacrifice and the lengths that He went to demonstrate his unlimited, unequaled, and undying love for each of us.
Since not everyone was able to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, churches began placing replicas of The Stations of the Cross in cathedrals, chapels and monasteries so that the masses might be able to commemorate and remember the events and significance of The Passion. Today they are common in Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Non-Denominational Churches alike. They are most commonly engaged during Holy Week or on Good Friday.
There are nearly as many versions of The Stations of the Cross as there are denominations that engage them so the version that we have chosen to display may be the same or slightly different than a version that you may have encountered elsewhere in the past. No single version is “right” or “wrong”, they simply choose to focus on different aspects of those events. Ultimately, The Stations of the Cross are meant to be a tool to help you engage with and spend time in the presence of God.
How do I engage with The Stations of the Cross?
Engaging with The Stations of the Cross is a way to remember the incredible act of love and compassion that Jesus demonstrated in his journey to and death on the Cross.
As you come to each Station:
- Take some time to read the Scripture passage
- Pause and reflect on the image
- Close with a moment of prayer.
Take as much time as you need to process and remember each step of Jesus’ journey to the Cross and the lengths that He went to demonstrate His unlimited, unequaled, undying love for you.
Where are Heartland’s Stations of the Cross?
Our Stations of the Cross are behind the Worship Center at our Weymouth Campus at 3400 Weymouth Road in Medina, Ohio. It is beautifully set in the woods on a hill behind the church as a part of our Spiritual Fitness Path. If you were to exit the church by the fireplace in the Café, you would see a stone path leading up the hill to a playground, sand volleyball courts, pickleball courts, basketball courts, and a firepit. Just past the firepit is a sign for The Spiritual Fitness Path. The Stations of the Cross are displayed along this peaceful, secluded, winding wooded path.