Centering Prayer is one of the most profound forms of prayer I have experienced. It takes prayer beyond the place of talking, to a place of communion with God. It is an active, attuned, alert process of clearing the mind in order to discover God in a new and wonderful way. Deep communion happens in Centering Prayer as I pray with God without words. I am in God’s presence. God is in my presence. We reside together in a sacred space beyond words where communion between human souls and God occurs.
Father Thomas Keating and Contemplative Outreach describe Centering Prayer in this way:
“Centering Prayer is a method of silent 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.”
In his book, Sacred Breath: Forty Days of Centering Prayer, J. David Muyskens describes Centering Prayer as follows:
“You practice the movements of receiving and letting go when you engage in Centering Prayer. In stillness and silence you allow God to enter your consciousness. You consent to receive the love and grace of God. You let go of every obstacle and become one with that ever-loving Spirit. Then the love received flows outward. This becomes a way of life, prayer without ceasing- Christ received and Christ expressed.”
Centering Prayer Method:
This method is the one used at the Ruah Center and is adapted from Fr. Keating’s method and Contemplative Outreach.
- Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within.
- Sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Settle in for a few moments and then silently introduce your sacred word.
- When engaged with thoughts, bodily sensations, feelings, images, reflections, return ever so gently to the sacred word.
- At the end of the prayer period, typically 20 minutes, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple minutes.
A few words about the sacred word:
Your sacred word will be very personal to you and your faith. I suggest following your heart’s desire to enter into God’s presence as you choose your word. Your word may change over time and in different seasons of your spiritual journey. My sacred word is most often Jesus. For me, Jesus is the sacred word for all of humanity for all time.
Spiritual Directors are very helpful in establishing and maintaing a personal Centering Prayer practice.
Feel free to email me if you have any questions about Centering Prayer.
As always, blessings dear friends on the journey!