Centering Prayer Basics:
If your doctor has told you to try meditation to lower your stress or blood pressure, this is the Christian equivalent of that spiritual practice. It’s also called contemplative prayer, or prayer of the heart.
Important assumptions: For this type of prayer, it is important to assume that God is all around us and deep within us. In this prayer we are resting in God, and undoing all that has taken us away from awareness of God.
What you do:
- 1) Find a comfortable chair and sit with good posture but relaxed. Close your eyes (it is easier to clear your mind without visual stimuli).
- 2) Choose a sacred word (Christ, Peace, Open etc.). Repeat that word gently in your mind. Give your attention to that word and allow it to push the other thoughts out of you mind. After a while you won’t need to repeat the word intentionally, or you will find that you are not repeating it.
- 3) When thoughts come, (and they will!) don’t get frustrated. Simply give some attention to the thought, hold it and then let it go. Return to the sacred word and begin the process over again.
- 4) Some people find it easier to focus on their breath than on a particular word. Go with whatever works for you.
Ultimately, this prayer isn’t really about doing anything. It’s about undoing, or simply being, resting in God’s presence. Some days I’m able to move into a centered place rather quickly, other days it takes me a long time to clear out my thoughts. In some sessions, I’m unable to slow down my thoughts at all. Regardless, this prayer is important for me because I need to remind myself that I can let go of all the stuff I have to do for a few moments. It’s important to attempt to reconnect with the Sacred center that I want to live out of each day. Over time, I trust that this practice is helping to shape me into the person God is calling me to be.