Centering Prayer at St. Paul's

Tuesdays, 6:00 pm in the Chapel
Thursdays, 11:15 am in the Chapel

About Centering Prayer

“Centering Prayer is an opening, a response, a putting aside of all the debris that stands in the way of our being totally present to the Lord, so that He can be present to us. It is a laying aside of thoughts, so that the heart can attend immediately to Him. All prayer is a response. The Lord first knocks, beckons, calls to us.” 
                                                  ― M. Basil Pennington, Centering Prayer: Renewing an Ancient Christian Prayer Form

Centering Prayer is
Acknowledgement of an intimate relationship with God
Resting in God
Letting go of our agenda, our thoughts, our false-self
Being present in the now
Coming home

How to begin Centering Prayer

The spiritual discipline of Centering Prayer is the practice of being present to God. One continues to grow into the knowledge of God's presence just as one grows into other spiritualities like worship, the reading of scripture, sabbath time, leisure, and relationships. So start with short periods of time — five or ten minutes — once or twice daily and increase the time as you are able.     

A way to begin is to 

  1. Choose a sacred word or phrase as the symbol of your intention to be present to God.
  2. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed, settle briefly, and silently introduce the sacred word.
  3. When you become aware of, or distracted by, your thoughts, gently allow yourself to return to the sacred word.
  4. At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence for a brief time. Or you may conclude with The Lord's Prayer.

As you continue your practice you will find a rhythm that is meaningful to you and your sense of spirit. You may find that you desire more silence and stillness, so allow yourself to sit for longer periods.  The traditional time period for the prayer is twenty minutes. If you miss a period or a day, then give yourself permission to start over. When you return, God is still there.

The 4 R's of Centering Prayer

Resist no thought
Retain no thought.
React emotionally to no thought.
Return ever so gently to the sacred word

For more information about Centering Prayer, you may visit Contemplative Outreach Center of Colorado and explore their class list.