“Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God’s presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship. Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer. Rather, it adds depth of meaning to all prayer and facilitates the movement from more active modes of prayer — verbal, mental or affective prayer — into a receptive prayer of resting in God. Centering Prayer emphasizes prayer as a personal relationship with God and as a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Him.” – From Contemplative Outreach International
“We do not know how to pray as we should, but the spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings to deep for words, and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” – Romans 8:26
Centering prayer is essentially letting go and resting in God. It is also the practice of “releasing” and “receiving” which is a powerful act and a holy pastime. Centering prayer is a deepening practice of surrender to the presence of God. Thomas Keatings described it as “10 thousand opportunities to return to God”.
Brief Guide to Centering Prayer:
- Choose a word (or image) as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within.
- Set a timer so you don’t have to think about the time (15-30 minutes as you wish)
- Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly. Then silently introduce you word as the symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within.
- When you realize that you have become engaged with your thoughts*, return ever-so-gently to your word as an anchor for your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within.
- At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence for a couple of minutes, with eyes closed, with a heart of gratitude.
Click on The Method of Centering Prayer for a more complete guide developed by Thomas Keatings and the Contemplative Outreach International.