Centering Prayer: Resting in God

Holy Wisdom Monastery Spirituality Articles 2 Comments

Imagine two friends sitting in silence, content to simply be with one another. They have a sense of calm and comfort in the ease of their relationship. Over time, centering prayer opens a door to such a relationship with God.

Part of an ancient contemplative tradition, centering prayer allows individuals to turn within and rest in God’s presence. The practice can be particularly rewarding for individuals caught up in the demanding details of daily life or caring for others. Through centering prayer you can connect with the inner peace of God and experience renewal.

Whether practiced individually or within a group, the rhythm of centering prayer can contribute to both mental and physical wellness.

  • Find a quiet place. Assume a comfortable sitting position, keeping your back straight and feet on the ground. You may find it helpful to set a timer to mark the prayer period.
  • Relax and quiet both your body and your mind. Follow your breathing. Close your eyes and gently become aware of your deepest center.
  • Choose a single, sacred word of one or two syllables. The word may be a name you call God (Lord, Jesus, Abba, Father, Mother) or a word that speaks to your understanding of God (Love, Faith, Peace, Trust).
  • Say your word inwardly and focus on God’s presence in you. When you become aware of competing thoughts, feelings or sensations, gently return to your sacred word.
  • At the end of your prayer period, remain in silence for a few minutes allowing a favorite saying or prayer to speak itself to you. Slowly open your eyes.

Centering prayer cultivates a capacity to be cared for and accept help more readily from others, as it attunes practitioners to Christ’s presence elsewhere in their lives. Over time, centering prayer brings a relationship with God from the awkward stage of acquaintance to a level of friendship where being in each other’s company, even in silence, is deeply satisfying.

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