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  • Beth Bradford

Centering Prayer

I reacquainted myself with an old friend this morning. I felt so cranky, wondering what reading would uplift me out of my bed. As I opened my phone, I wondered if there was a contemplative prayer app or something. Yep. Contemplative Outreach has its own app. It's similar to meditation apps in that it has a timer and some resources, such as how to do it.

I had learned Centering Prayer when I was living in Mississippi. I honestly don't know how I came across it. It somehow arrived on my doorstep. I remember very distinctly wanting to incorporate this into my routine, so I told myself that for Lent, I would practice it--or some sort of centering practice--each day. My other practices were Eucharistic Adoration or yin yoga. All three helped me quiet my mind and heart. They were really helpful in settling my mourning spirit. 

I had read Thomas Keating's books about Lectio Divina, and between that and centering prayer, I felt I was getting closer to God. When I was planning my move to Florida, I was looking into churches in Lakeland. I scanned the online bulletins of each, and I came across a Centering Prayer group. I knew that church was for me, and it was affirmed when I had visited the church during my spring break. That place, Church of the Resurrection, was my spiritual home for 11 years. 

It's actually pretty simple. You start by centering yourself, perhaps finding a passage from scripture. You then find a sacred word that indicates your desire for connection. The word should be free from an emotional attachment, and it's preferable to use a word that is not heard in your common language. Mine is "Maranatha," which essentially means "Lord, come." 

You say the word slowly, and as you sit in silence, repeat the word when you find your mind drifting. Sit in this silence for a chosen amount of time--I typically choose 20 minutes. After this time is over, you might speak words of thanksgiving or recite a Psalm. 

I've been looking for ways to reconnect, but I had forgotten that this way was just fine. 


Image by Shah Rokh from Pixabay

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