Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How to Practice Centering Prayer

Centering Prayer is:

A relationship with God
The discipline is constantly at the service of this relationship
A movement beyond conversation with God to communion with God
Preparation for us to open the gift of contemplation
Not meant to replace other kinds of prayer
A connection to our source the Indwelling God
Focuses on a deepening of our relationship with God
Provides the Fruits of emotional balance, a sense of belonging, and fellowship
Centering Prayer Method - The Prayer of Consent

Centering Prayer is both

a relationship with God, a Power greater than ourselves
a discipline in total service to deepening this relationship
a movement from being self-centered to God-centered. Centering prayer is in the service of this action.

The Guidelines

1. Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within

2. Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently, introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within

3. When engaged with your thoughts, return ever-so-gently to the sacred word

4. At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes


Guideline 1

“Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within.”

Sacred word expresses our intention to consent
It is sacred only because of its intention (no inherent meaning)
Intention and consent are the heart and soul of Centering Prayer
What is God’s presence and action?

God’s presence is the divine life within us which affirms our basic core of goodness
God’s action is the grace of the transformation process
The Sacred Word

The sacred word is a word of one or two syllables

A few examples
God, Father, Mother, Abba
Faith, Yes, Let Go, Let God
Peace, Be Still, Listen, Shalom
Hope, Love, Breath, Home


Guideline 2

“Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly, and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within.”

Sitting comfortably … back straight
With eyes closed … as a symbol of “letting go”
Silently say your sacred word… as a symbol
of your intention and consent


Guideline 3

“When engaged with your thoughts, return ever-so-gently to the Sacred Word.”

“Thoughts” is an umbrella term for every perception, including body sensations, feelings, images, memories, plans, reflections, concepts, commentaries, and spiritual experiences
Thoughts are inevitable, integral and normal
“When engaged with your thoughts, return ever-so-gently…” — a minimum effort is indicated


Guideline 4

“At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.”

The additional time enables us to gently bring silence into everyday life
Minimum time 20 minutes
Practice two periods of Centering Prayer daily


Practical Ways to Deepen our Relationship with God

Practice two 20 – 30 minute periods of Centering Prayer daily
Attend the remaining six continuing sessions of this Introduction to the Centering Prayer Practice
Join an ongoing Centering Prayer group and attend 11th step meetings
Study Open Mind, Open Heart by Thomas Keating and other spiritual literature
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