Prayer is traditionally considered to be thoughts or feelings expressed in words. In contrast, Centering Prayer is a receptive mode of silent prayer. It is a method that prepares one to receive the gift of contemplative prayer – the experience of God’s presence within.
“Contemplative prayer is the opening of mind and heart – our whole being – to God… Through grace we open our awareness to God, whom we know by faith is within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than choosing – closer than consciousness itself” (The Method of Centering Prayer).
Centering Prayer is practiced by choosing a word or phrase that represents your attention and intention to remain in the presence of God. Sample words include Jesus, Peace, Rest, Holy Spirit, etc. This word helps you to return to your center throughout the prayer.
Any time that you become distracted by your thoughts, you are to say this word. The repetition of this word is to reaffirm your intention to remain in God’s presence and surrender your will to His. By using your word to keep your heart and mind centered on God, you attempt to rest in God’s presence and to allow God to speak and work in your spirit.
Benefits of Centering Prayer include:
- deepening of your relationship to the living Christ as a constantly renewed relationality
- familiarizing yourself with God’s first language, which is silence
- quieting of your mind while maintaining alertness
- building communities of faith, while bonding members in friendship and love
Links for further consideration:
A description of Centering Prayer: http://www.contemplativeoutreach.org/category/category/centering-prayer
Father Thomas Keating on Centering Prayer: http://www.centeringprayer.com/
VIDEO: Cynthia Bourgeault: Centering Prayer and the Foundations of Non-dual Awareness – See more at: http://www.scienceandnonduality.com/videos/centering-prayer-and-the-foundations-of-non-dual-awareness-cynthia-bourgeault/#sthash.upFFqmBF.dpuf