A prayer labyrinth is a circle with a path in it which you walk while you pray. It is not a maze. There is only one route through a labyrinth. The purpose of the labyrinth is to facilitate prayer.
They can be a little controversial as some people view them as a pagan or “new age” form of prayer. Prayer labyrinths can be found in medieval cathedrals in France and Italy, so they have been around for a while. But like praying the rosary, they can be misunderstood. People who are more movement oriented may find walking a labyrinth calming while praying. They can also be really effective for some youth with Autism or ADHD.
Several Catholic retreat centers in our area have prayer labyrinths on their grounds. They allow visitors to walk them when retreats are not in session. This can be a great family activity. It would also be a lovely youth ministry activity. Search the web for labyrinths in your area and find out if they allow visitors.
How to pray in a labyrinth? Begin by asking the Holy Spirit to guide you. Then try to clear your head of all of the noise. Slowly walk the labyrinth path, and see what comes into your head. If it seems like a distraction, try to let it go. If it seems like something God is calling you to think about, then focus on it and see where the Holy Spirit takes you.
It is important to be aware that if you are always clearing the same distractions out of your head during your prayer time, you might actually be called to explore these more deeply. Our loving Father speaks to us in the silence. If the same thoughts keep bubbling up, it might be time to pay more attention to them. Perhaps there is more there than first meets the eye.