A labyrinth is a path designed to provide space for one or more people to walk and pray reflectively. Beginning at the edge of a circle or other geometric shape, a person moves ever closer to the center along a circuitous path designed to take up a significant amount of space and time. The diagram below shows one possible labyrinth design:
Adele Ahlberg Calhoun discusses the significance of prayer labyrinths in her book Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us (InterVarsity Press, 2005):
In walking the labyrinth you leave behind the noise and hurry of life. Just as you would pack simply for a pilgrimage, you offer your load to Jesus as you begin your prayer journey. The prayer-path structure moves you slowly toward the center and toward God. At times you are close to the center, further along the path you may be farther from the center. This represents the reality of the spiritual journey. But as we keep moving, we are always getting closer to the center and to God, no matter how far away it looks in real space. At the center of the walk you can stop and rest in the presence of God, listening for his word to you. With his word in your heart you begin your journey back to the world (p. 236).
Sometimes people walk prayer labyrinths in silence, other times music accompanies the journey. Still other times, the “pilgrims” are led through the process by walking to stations along the labyrinth where guided spiritual direction is provided. It is important to allow enough time for each person to wait upon God in these moments.