“When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.”Jesus Christ, The Sermon on the Mount
Centering Prayer is a simple Christian practice that helps us to locate and take refuge in our “inner room,” consent to the presence of God-in-2nd-person, and lead us into deep prayer, devotion, and contemplation of the divine. Largely popularized in recent decades by Father Thomas Keating, Centering Prayer traces its origin to the contemplative prayer of the Desert Fathers, the Lectio Divinia tradition of Benedectine monasticism, and to works like The Cloud of Unknowing and the writings of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. It endures to this day as one of the Christian tradition’s most powerful contemplative practices.
Listen as Father Thomas offers a short guided practice of Centering Prayer.
Take 20 minutes out of your day, and do the following:
- Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within (e.g. God, Christ, I AM, Love, Now, Faith, Amen, etc.).
- 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.
- When you become aware of thoughts, return ever-so-gently to the sacred word.
- At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes, before returning to the rest of your day.