The Welcoming Prayer
Consent on the Go
“What God arranges for us to experience at each moment is the best and holiest thing that could happen to us.”
Jean-Pierre de Caussade
“Deliberately dismantle the emotional programs of the false self.”
With these words, Fr. Thomas Keating instructs practitioners of Centering Prayer in his classic work on the contemplative dimension of the Gospel, Open Mind, Open Heart.
The Welcoming Prayer provides a method for living Fr. Keating’s teachings.
The Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to events and situations in daily life.
The purpose of the Welcoming Prayer is to deepen our relationship with God through consenting in ordinary activities. The Welcoming Prayer helps to dismantle the emotional programs of the false-self system and to heal the wounds of a lifetime by addressing them where they are stored — in the body. It contributes to the process of transformation in Christ initiated in Centering Prayer.
Freedom from the False Self
The practice of Welcoming Prayer is an opportunity to make choices free of the false self system — responding instead of reacting to the present moment. Through the action of the Holy Spirit, our practice empowers us to take appropriate action as freely and lovingly as possible in any situation that presents itself in our lives.
Mary Mrozowski, one of the founders of Contemplative Outreach, formulated the Welcoming Prayer. She based it on the 17th century French spiritual classic Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussade as well as Fr. Keating’s teachings and her own lived experience of transformation with its underlying attitude of surrender. The practice was so powerful in bringing about inner change that it soon spread throughout the Contemplative Outreach network.
“To welcome and to let go is one of the most radically loving, faith-filled gestures we can make in each moment of each day. It is an open-hearted embrace of all that is in ourselves and in the world.”
The Welcoming Prayer Practice
There are three movements of the prayer:
FOCUS, FEEL AND SINK INTO what you are experiencing this moment in your body.
Notice, observe, pay attention.
Feel what is happening in the body.
Sink into – do not resist- the body sensation.
Simply experience the energy.
“WELCOME” what you are experiencing this moment in your body as an opportunity to consent to the Divine Indwelling.
Welcome is to embrace what we find happening within.
Saying the word “welcome” interiorly is the action of embracing the Indwelling Spirit, whom we know by faith is always present, in and through our experience.
LET GO by saying the letting go phrases;
“I let go of the desire for security, affection, control.” “I let go of the desire to change what I am experiencing.”
The Welcoming Prayer is a prayer of unity. Through the healing action of the Indwelling Presence, practicing the prayer unifies our body, mind and emotions. It heals and unifies our unconscious into consciousness. It unifies our intention (will) and our actions. It heals relationships and divisions. Over time, we begin to feel a connection and oneness with people and creation. We begin to put on and manifest the mind of Christ.
“Welcoming Prayer is the practice that actively lets go of thoughts and feelings that support the false-self system. It embraces painful emotions experienced in the body rather than avoiding them or trying to suppress them. It does not embrace the suffering as such but the presence of the Holy Spirit in the particular pain, whether physical, emotional, or mental. Thus, it is the full acceptance of the content of the present moment. In giving the experience over to the Holy Spirit, the false-self system is gradually undermined and the true self liberated.”
Thy will be done on Earth As it is in Heaven. Matthew 6:10
The Welcoming Prayer is a
“powerful path for connecting the inner consent of Centering Prayer with the outer requirement of unconditional presence in daily life.”
“The divine action, although only visible to the eye of faith, is everywhere, and always present. There is not a moment in which God does not present Himself under the cover of some pain to be endured, of some consolation to be enjoyed, or of some duty to be performed. All that takes place within us, around us, or through us, contains and conceals His divine action.”
Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence
You can DOWLOAD a copy of the Welcome Prayer Brochure HERE