Continuing a Practice of Centering Prayer
Hanging in there!
For much of the time Centering prayer will be practiced by us on our own. However, a weekly sharing of the experience in a small group has proven to be very supportive as well as a good means of ongoing education. Sometimes just knowing that the group are meeting together each week is a great encouragement to keep going or an invitation to return to the practice of prayer if circumstances have prevented us from carrying out our commitment to the daily practice for a time. By sharing the experience of Centering prayer in a group our own discernment of the ups and downs of the practice are more finely tuned.
At Contemplative Outreach Ireland, St. Aidan’s Monastery we offer Centering Prayer afternoons, generally on the first Saturday of each month. These are open to anyone who is familiar with the method of Centering Prayer. The afternoon begins at 3pm with two periods of Centering Prayer followed by a short break during which we have some teaching input through the Spiritual Journey DVD series with Fr. Thomas Keating or a period of Lectio Divina. The afternoon concludes with a final Centering Prayer period. The afternoon concludes by 5:30pm.
Centering Prayer Retreats are also a good way to sustain and immerse us even more in the practice of the prayer and the Spiritual journey. They provide an opportunity to take a step out of the noise and activity of our busy lives and to simply rest in God’s presence for a time.
In everyday life Fr Keating also suggests the use of an active Prayer sentence. Pick a five to nine syllable sentence from Scripture or prayer and gradually work it into your sub-conscious by repeating it mentally when your mind is free, such as doing light chores, walking, driving, waiting for the bus or a phone call. Eventually it becomes part of you and maintains a link with your reservoir of interior silence built up during the periods of Centering Prayer. Some examples are:
My Lord and my God
My Jesus mercy
Sacred Heart of Jesus I place all my trust in you
Not my will but yours be done