Centering Prayer: A New Heart
“A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” —Ezekiel 36:26.
Thomas Keating and those who practice Centering Prayer, a contemporary form of contemplative prayer, believe that the daily twenty minutes of silence is not just prayer with God, but also divine therapy. During that time of quiet, God, the Holy Spirit, slips in and heals us of old and new wounds. Practitioners believe that silence may be the language of God, through which God can perform “open heart” surgery. During this time of silent prayer, God is transforming us into our true self, as we unload our over-identification with the “false self” that developed since birth, which enabled us to survive in an imperfect world.
Keating has written extensively about Centering Prayer. Best known among his works is the trilogy: Open Mind, Open Heart (Continuum, 1986), which is considered the handbook for his method of Centering Prayer; Invitation to Love (Bloomsbury Academic, 1994), about the stages of spiritual growth; and third, Intimacy with God: An Introduction to Centering Prayer (Crossroad, 2009), which describes more deeply what goes on psychologically during Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina. It also addresses the theological basis for Centering Prayer.
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