For centuries people have practiced centering prayer. But it took a few very special people to bring out to the public in a way that is accessible and practical. They are Fr. Thomas Keating and Fr. William Menninger. They gave us a practical and easy to follow practice of contemplation that was practiced by people like St. John of the Cross, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Theresa of Liseux. The list goes on and on. But now it is broken down for us in a way that makes it easy for us to practice it and pursue it everyday.
When we offer these programs at the House Of Blessings, we make sure the integrity of these original teachings are maintained and preserved. That is why this program given at the House Of Blessings is given by people like Dr. Catherine Crews and Dr. Nicholas Cole who are certified by the Contemplative Outreach.
What is Centering Prayer?
Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that helps open our hearts and minds to consent to God’s presence and action in our lives. In centering prayer we focus on the Word of God and we make them part of our daily life. We breath the Word of God in and we live that Word out and then we make it alive as integral, eternal and in union with Christ.
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 Him.
The source of Centering Prayer, as in all methods leading to contemplative prayer, is the Indwelling Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The focus of Centering Prayer is the deepening of our relationship with the living Christ. The effects of Centering Prayer are ecclesial, as the prayer tends to build communities of faith and bond the members together in mutual friendship and love. (Taken from the website: www.centeringprayer.com)
Many saints and mystics in the church have practiced this form of contemplative prayer in their lives. However they did not call it Centering Prayer. Because for a world that was not bombarded by consumerist mentality name recognition did not matter. But it does matter now. People know about things by the brand recognition and name prominence. What Fr. Keating did was to bring out an ancient and powerful method of prayer into a recognizable and easily adaptable form of prayer. He introduced steps, formulas, and methods into our prayer life so that we who are distracted by many things like Martha in the Bible, can focus better and practice easier.
Read more about Centering Prayer here.