For a few reasons, I almost wanted to do this one as a video. And, I suppose that we can someday if it would prove helpful to you.
If you know much about contemplative prayer, you have surely heard of centering prayer. If you haven’t, I would love to introduce you to it, and walk through it together with you.
Centering prayer is something that I like to do in the morning when my house is still quiet. It really does require a quiet, peaceful spot, and I can hardly find one in my home once the many inhabitants start to rise. Also, while it does quiet down again in the evening, I wouldn’t recommend Centering Prayer as a nighttime activity because it could actually bring you to a more alert state. Centering Prayer is a practice that is pretty much Christian meditation. It is a way to get ourselves into a habit of returning to God as the center. Here is a basic idea of how Centering Prayer is done.
(This is kind of funny, and one of the reasons I thought to do a video. I recommend that you close your eyes, knowing fully well that you actually can’t the first time that you do this because you are reading.)
Sit in a comfortable place. I have a favorite reclining chair in my living room. Quite honestly, while I do love it, it’s the one that doesn’t squeak.
Sit comfortably. Relax your legs, your feet, etc.
Close your eyes. Ok, now we are going to start with our feet and just kind of concentrate on our body, one thing at a time. So, think about your feet. Relax them. Breathe and feel your legs. Just kind of go upwards. It may seem different or awkward at first, but really all you’re doing is relaxing your body one step at a time. So, keep going. Relax your back, then your shoulders. Your arms, your neck, your head, feel it all slowing down and relaxing.
Now, once you are completely relaxed you are going to pick your word. This needs to be a special word that brings you closer to God. Some even call it your “God word.” As a Christ follower, this may be Jesus or Grace. It may simply be God. You may think of Forgiveness or Mercy. Tenderness or Compassion. Love. Just one word, though. Choose just one word. This will be your centering word.
As you go, you are literally clearing your mind. Just listening. Breathing. Then, when your mind starts to wander, which it will, say your word. (Not necessarily aloud. I don’t.) Each time you start to wander repeat your word. Some days your mind will feel so busy, and some days you will feel more relaxed. Each time may be different. But the idea is this:
Centering prayer is not to empty your mind, but instead to make it a practice to always return to God. It’s to come closer to Him as you learn to focus your thoughts on Him. It is essentially to “center” on Him. A practice of returning.
I would recommend that you give this about 15 minutes. That’s enough time to quiet your thoughts and return to the Lord for a few minutes of rest.
Need a recap? There are essentially three steps. 1. Quiet yourself. 2. Choose your God word. 3. When your mind wanders center yourself on Him, using the word you have chosen.
I would absolutely love to hear from you and share our stories. These fun ways of communing with the Lord and each other can teach us so much. Share with us what you have learned.