Deepening our relationship with God through the practice of Centering Prayer
For your personal meditation practice, using your cell phone or tablet, I recommend you go to the App Store and download the Centering Prayer app, as pictured below. It is free, and allows you to chose the intro and exit sounds, and set the duration.
During the COVID-19 time of social isolation, we are meeting online, by Zoom.
Contact email@example.com for more information.
Normally during winter we meet weekly on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Usually, after we meditate for 20 minutes, we pause for a short break for tea, cookies and chatting, followed by reading and discussion or watching relevant videos. We read books and watch videos about Christian meditation by people such as Father Keating, Cynthia Bourgeault, Richard Rohr, Henri Nouwen, and others. We also practice Lectio Divina, and the following variation:
Centering Prayer Bible Verse Exercise
– Inspired by Lectio Divina
- Choose a Bible verse or very short passage and have a printed copy available.
- The facilitator reads the passage aloud.
- Participants write the passage down on a piece of paper.
- After a short pause, everyone chooses a word, circles it on their copy, and those willing share their word with the group.
- Participants underline other words within the passage that they see as connected to their chosen word, and share the words they connect with their original words.
- Participants list words not in the Bible passage but that they feel are connected with their original word, and share those.
- Participants write out a sentence or a brief poem based on what they explored connected with their original word, and share, if they want to.
- We conclude with a prayer incorporating some of what has been discussed.
If you want to join us by Zoom, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A very helpful introduction on how to practice Christian Meditation
The Christian Contemplative Heritage
Fathers Thomas Keating, William Meninger and Basil Pennington began the Centering Prayer movement in the 1970’s to renew the Christian tradition of contemplation. This series, “The Christian Contemplative Heritage – Our Apophatic Tradition,” locates Centering Prayer in the mainstream of the Christian Contemplative Tradition which retrieved, reclaimed and reappropriated the classical inspirations of our apophatic tradition.
A Review of a book by Cynthia Bourgeault – https://silenceteaches.com/2017/04/01/heart-centering-prayer-book-review/
The spiritual discipline of contemplative prayer has an extremely long tradition in Christianity. Initially developed by hermits and monks, it has remained a sought-after method of experiencing the presence of God deep inside the self. One contemporary expression of this ancient practice is called Centering Prayer; you can experience it at Maple Grove United Church.
A video with Cynthia Bourgeault on The Welcome Practice and Waking Up – https://youtu.be/_bClyhR2ZPc
Richard Rohr Speaks on Christianity
THOMAS KEATING’S SUGGESTED ORIENTATION PRAYER FOR CENTERING;
Lord, we adore you
present in our inmost being
and among us.
Draw us inwardly
by the greatness of your love,
so that we may taste that peace
which surpasses all understanding;
and that, little by little, we might understand
what it means to be lived in by God
Heal the wounds of a lifetime,
body, soul, and spirit,
as we wait lovingly
upon your Presence
and healing action within us.
Prayer for Our Community:
O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world. [Please add your own intentions.] . . . Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God, amen.
If you’d like to understand how meditation works, here’s a short article:
Here is a summary of the contemporary practice of Centering Prayer – https://cac.org/centering-prayer-weekly-summary-2017-02-18/
To learn more about our practice, you can watch this video:
- A brief video by Cynthia Bourgeault with an excellent description of how to do Centering Prayer and why it works – https://youtu.be/1aQmQu4lufo
- Other videos by Cynthia Bourgeault – https://youtu.be/LaaA5hJAI0c & https://youtu.be/5ALAgUlzxX0
- A 9 minute video on how to practise Centering Prayer
- A video with Father Keating
- An interview with Cynthia Bourgeault, an Episcopal priest devoted to the contemplative path.
- The Centre for Action and Contemplation You can sign up for Rohr’s Daily Meditations on this site. I recommend them.
- Read about Centering Prayer on Wikipedia
- Or check out these resources – http://silenceteaches.com/resources/
One of the best ways to get to know what it is about is by getting in touch with a group
We open our awareness to the Ultimate Mystery
whom we know by faith is within us,
closer than breathing, closer than thinking,
closer than choosing, closer than consciousness itself.
The Ultimate Mystery is the ground in which
our being is rooted,
the source from whom our life emerges