Centering Prayer

Lectio Divina is a comprehensive method of communing with God which begins with the reading of scripture. Reflection on the text moves easily into spontaneous prayer (talking to God about what you have read), and finally into resting in the presence of God. Centering prayer is a way of moving from the first three phases of lectio to the final one of resting in God.

Centering Prayer is a receptive, deep 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.

The source of Centering Prayer, as in all methods leading to contemplative prayer, is the Indwelling Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The focus of Centering Prayer is the deepening of our relationship with the living Christ.

Thomas Keating states, “Centering prayer sort of compensates for the lack of people’s ability … to go from lectio into contemplation . One who has already received the grace of contemplative prayer can deepen it by cultivating interior silence in a consistent and orderly fashion. It is with this view to cultivating interior silence that the method of centering prayer is offered.”

Method

Seek a solitary place. One that calms you. Naturally brings you to God’s presence.

Sit comfortably. Quiet all your senses. Breath deeply and slowly.

Choose a ‘sacred word’ to repeat within your heart. Jesus, Lord, Maranatha, peace.

Simply ‘be’ in the presence of God.

When distracting thoughts emerge return gently to your ‘sacred word.’

Remain for twenty minutes.

Pray this way twice a day.

 

Adapted from Open Mind, Open Heart by Thomas Keating, Continuum
Used with Permission.