Centering Prayer is a receptive 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.
Guidelines for Centering Prayer with Sacred Word or Image (20 minutes, 2 times daily)
- Choose a sacred word or image as a symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within.
- Sitting comfortably with eyes closed settle briefly. Silently introduce the sacred word as a symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within.
- When engaged with your thoughts (which include body sensations, feelings, images, and reflections), return ever so gently to the sacred word.
- At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence for a couple of minutes to integrate this time of prayer into the rest of your life, your mind, and your heart. A bridge back to active life.
Centering Prayer Rooted in the Teachings of Jesus
- Jesus went off on numerous occasions and spent time by himself in solitude in the desert or on the side of a mountain as part of his own spiritual relationship with God the Father.
- When his disciples asked how they should pray (Matthew 6:5-14). He instructs them first not in a prayer of words, but to enter a room and pray in secret to their Father. After this, Jesus instructs them in a prayer of words, The Lord’s Prayer.
- 3rd and 4th Centuries – Desert mothers and fathers formed small communities and recorded the contemplative traditions of early Christian followers. These writings are still available today on how to practice and what to do with our thoughts.
Centering Prayer Handouts
- Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God, David Frennete (2014) (Audiobook)
- The Path of Centering Prayer, David Frennete (2017) (Book)
- The Heart of Centering Prayer: Nondual Christianity in Theory and Practice, Cynthia Bourgeault (2016)