Selah Mode

What Is Centering Prayer?

Centering Prayer is a method of contemplative prayer that originated from the Christian contemplative tradition. It was developed in the 1970s by Trappist monks Thomas Keating, William Meninger, and Basil Pennington. Centering Prayer is rooted in ancient Christian practices of silence, meditation, and seeking a deeper connection with God.

Here’s an overview of how Centering Prayer is typically practiced:

  1. Choose a Sacred Word or Phrase: Begin by selecting a word or short phrase that holds spiritual significance for you. This word is used as a symbol of your intention to open yourself to God’s presence.
  2. Find a Quiet Place: Sit comfortably in a quiet and peaceful environment. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to relax.
  3. Repeat the Sacred Word: Silently repeat the chosen word or phrase in your mind. The purpose of this word is to help bring your focus back to your intention whenever your thoughts wander.
  4. Let Go of Thoughts: As you repeat the word, thoughts will naturally arise. Instead of engaging with these thoughts, simply let them go. If you find yourself getting caught up in thinking, gently return to the sacred word.
  5. Openness and Stillness: Centering Prayer emphasizes opening yourself to God’s presence rather than actively seeking particular experiences. It’s a practice of letting go and being receptive.
  6. Duration: A typical session of Centering Prayer can last anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. However, the practice can be adapted to fit your schedule and comfort level.
  7. Ending the Prayer: To conclude the prayer, gently let go of the sacred word and sit in silence for a few moments. Gradually bring your awareness back to your surroundings.

Centering Prayer is often considered a form of Christian meditation that aims to cultivate a deeper relationship with God by entering into a state of silence and contemplation. It shares similarities with other contemplative practices, such as mindfulness and Zen meditation, but it is specifically rooted in the Christian spiritual tradition.

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