What is Centering Prayer?

Centering Prayer is a Christ-centered form of silent prayer, a renewal of the ancient Christian practice of contemplative prayer presented in a contemporary form. Silent prayer, or contemplation, is a way to deepen a intimate relationship with God. It is complementary to all other forms of prayer, such as those which are a part of church services:  psalms, reading of holy scripture and recitation of oral prayers. Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other forms of prayer that people enjoy, but rather it casts a new meaning and depth on them. In essence, Centering Prayer is both a deepening relationship with God and a spiritual discipline to foster and strengthen that relationship.  

Centering Prayer, developed by Father Thomas Keating, is a very simple method for inner silent prayer. It is an ecumenical and interfaith practice. A guideline for practice period is usually 20 minutes. The steps are as follows:   

1. Choose a sacred word. The sacred word is a word that stands for one’s consent to the presence and action of God within, a symbol of one’s intention. It is a way of consenting to the gifts and action of the Spirit in the inner life and to form a deeper relationship with God. Examples of the sacred word are: Father, Lord, Jesus, Mother, Love, Peace, Stillness, Silence. It is a good idea to take a brief moment and ask in prayer for a word to be made known to you. 

2. Sitting comfortably, with back straight, and eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within. After you introduce the sacred word there is no need to repeat it over and over in your mind. As you sit in silence thoughts will arise. Just let them come into and gently leave your awareness.

3. However, when you become engaged in thoughts, return ever-so-gently to sacred word.  

4. At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.

Click here to hear Fr. Thomas Keating teach the method of Centering Prayer.

There are two ways that you can deepen your understanding and practice of Centering Prayer:

1. Attend an Introductory Program.  

2. Attend a Centering Prayer Group meeting at which time the group facilitator will provide you with basic instructions. You are strongly encouraged to also attend an Introductory Program whenever it fits into your schedule.  

What Centering Prayer Is and Is Not

It is not a technique but a way of cultivating a deeper relationship with God.

It is not a relaxation exercise but it may be quite refreshing.

It is not a form of self – hypnosis but a way to quiet the mind while maintaining its alertness.

It is not a charismatic gift but a path of transformation.

It is not a para – psychological experience but an exercise of faith, hope and selfless love.

It is not limited to the "felt" presence of God but is rather a deepening of faith in God’s abiding presence.

It is not reflective or spontaneous prayer, but simply resting in God beyond thoughts, words, and the emotions.

Would your group or organization like to learn more about Centering Prayer? You can arrange for a one hour presentation on the method of Centering Prayer that includes a brief experience of Centering Prayer. Customized or special presentations on the method of Centering Prayer can also be arranged.

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Contact Info

Co-Coordinators CONSD:
Sue Hagen 
Address:  908 Via Linda,
Escondido CA, 92029
Phone: 760-745-8860
Email address:  consd@cox.net  

Linda Dollins
Phone:  760-743-8297
Email:  dollinslinda@hotmail.com

To schedule a speaker on centering prayer for your group or organization Contact:  Sue Hagen:
Phone: 760-745-8860
Email:  sue.hagen@sbcglobal.net

To schedule an Introductory Program Contact either:
Linda Dollins
Phone:  760-743-8297
Email:  dollinslinda@hotmail.com

Gail Carr
Phone:  760-634-0398
Email:  carr.gail@gmail.com