Centering Prayer Practices
Contemplative Outreach offers these simple guides to Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, and the Welcoming Prayer to start you on your journey.
Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God’s presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship.
Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer. Rather, it adds depth of meaning to all prayer and facilitates the movement from more active modes of prayer – verbal, mental or affective prayer – into a receptive prayer of resting in God. Centering Prayer emphasizes prayer as a personal relationship with God and as a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Christ.
Lectio Divina, literally meaning “divine reading,” is an ancient practice of praying the Scriptures. During Lectio Divina, the practitioner listens to the text of the Bible with the “ear of the heart,” as if he or she is in conversation with God, and God is suggesting the topics for discussion. The method of Lectio Divina includes moments of reading (lectio), reflecting on (meditatio), responding to (oratio) and resting in (contemplatio) the Word of God with the aim of nourishing and deepening one’s relationship with the Divine.
Like Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina cultivates contemplative prayer. Unlike Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina is a participatory, active practice that uses thoughts, images and insights to enter into a conversation with God. Lectio Divina also is distinguished from reading the Bible for edification or encouragement, Bible study, and praying the scriptures in common, which are all useful but separate practices.
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 the ordinary activities of our day.
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.
Active Prayer Practice
Find it here
Join a Global Community of Prayer on Meditation Chapel. Pray in silence with practitioners from all over the world. Centering Prayer groups are practicing daily on this global video platform. It’s difficult to describe how profoundly connecting, expansive and intimate it is to see, hear and join in silent prayer with others from all over the world. You just have to try it.
Centering Prayer Mobile App
The Centering Prayer mobile app, made available for free from Contemplative Outreach, supports your daily prayer practice commitment. The app includes an adjustable timer, as well as opening and closing prayer options that may be read before and after Centering Prayer. An assortment of sounds and backgrounds allow you to choose the type of environment for the prayer time. Brief instructions for learning Centering Prayer are also included.
Just starting your Centering Prayer library? Here are three books by
Fr. Thomas Keating that we would recommend:
"Open Mind, Open Heart"
"Invitation to Love"
"Intimacy with God"