Centering prayer again
“1. Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within.
2. 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.
3. When engaged with your thoughts, feelings, images, and reflections, return ever-so-gently to the sacred word.
4. At the end of the prayer period (20 minutes), remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.”
Contemplative outreach, Ltd., www.contemplativeoutreach.org .
Reviewing and remembering the guidelines for Centering Prayer are worth repeating. This contemporary form of the ancient practice of contemplative or listening prayer has been written about by Catholic monks Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating, Basil Pennington and Quaker Richard Foster. It is drawn from ancient prayer practices of the Desert Mothers and Fathers, The Cloud of the Unknowing, Teresa of Avila, and St. John of the Cross. A friend from New York, Steve Standiford who is associated with Contemplative Outreach and has practiced centering prayer for over twenty years, reminded us at a retreat at our church of an old story about how to deepen our relationship with God and experience God’s presence and love in our lives through centering prayer. “A first-time tourist to New York City gets into the cab and asks the driver, ‘How do you get to Carnegie Hall?’ The driver responds, ‘Practice, practice, practice!’”