Sometimes I awake at 3 or 4 in the morning and just cannot sleep. I seem to be nervous or anxious about the upcoming day. That has always seemed to be my nature. I surmise that it is God who gently wakes me to hint that He wishes to sit with me now.
I quietly (I do not wish to disturb the rest of the sleeping family members) make my way downstairs to the living room, sit on the couch, set the Contemplative Outreach timer app on my iPhone for 20 minutes and begin my silent prayer sit.
God has quieted, dissolved and soothed my previous nerves and anxiety. I never seem to have difficulty falling back asleep for the next few hours until it is time for me to get up and begin the day.
When I awake, I count this earlier session as my first silent prayer sit and begin my day: prepare for the workday or relax with my wife and children if it is a weekend morning. (Normally my centering prayer sit is the first thing I do before I begin my day.)
My second sit is usually later in the early afternoon. I need this second sit. It refills my emptying reservoir. I do not like to miss it. It soothes and calms me. It helps me to continue my day.
I have learned to trust the gentle nudges and prompts of the Spirit. Some people need regular rhythms and times to do their daily tasks. I trust God will nudge me if my sit needs to be a few hours earlier than it normally is. God has reasons for me to sit with Him a bit earlier. So earlier it will be.
If I ask God about my anxiety and worry, I imagine He would answer something like this, “Richard, I love you. You can come to me whenever you are worried, anxious or nervous. It does not matter what time it is. I do not want you to lie awake and be restless. Come to me and I will give you rest. Let me love you, soothe you, calm you and hold you in my arms.”
I encourage you to trust the nudges and prompts of the Spirit. If God also wakes you up at 3 or 4 in the morning, trust Him. Gently arise. Head to a comfortable place where you can sit and begin your silent session with God.
God loves you and is delighted that you have chosen to trust that He too will calm your inner worries, anxieties and nerves.
Sacred Compass: The Way of Spiritual Discernment by J. Brent Bill
Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening by Cynthia Bourgeault
Open Mind, Open Heart 20th Anniversary Edition by Thomas Keating
Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life by Phileena Heuertz
The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth by Christopher Heuertz Free with your Audible trial
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Centering Prayer One on One Coaching
- What is Centering Prayer?
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*Amos Smith’s new book is out in kindle ($6.99), Be Still and Listen: Experience the Presence of God in Your Life
I recently added a new section to my Resource Page: Books on Sale that features great kindle books at low prices. It includes authors such as Nicholas Amato, Diana Butler Bass, J Brent Bill, Mark Buchanan, Daniel P Coleman, John Eldredge, Sharon Grussendorff, Christopher Heuertz, Thomas Keating, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen and Brian Zahnd.
I am currently reading The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth by Christopher Heuertz. Free with your Audible trial
Orthodox Crafts: Making the perfect Orthodox gift, or a personal aid in your spiritual struggle, our prayer bracelets are beautifully crafted to be kept for a lifetime. Strengthen your relationship with God by wearing these bracelets and praying at any time and place during the day. Enjoy my post, How I Use My Prayer Bracelet.
Feel free to peruse my Resource Page. I frequently update it with new information.
The Power of the Jesus Prayer: Learn a method practiced by Christian mystics for centuries to consent to the action and presence of God within.
Contemplative Practices: 5 Ways of Consenting to the Divine: Learn methods practiced by Christian mystics for centuries to consent to the action and presence of God within, including Centering Prayer, The Examen, Lectio Divina, Christian Meditation, and the Jesus Prayer.
Contemplative Perspectives: Frameworks for the Divine: For anyone who craves to deepen their contemplative process and more fully embody and integrate the the higher stages of the mystical path, Contemplative Perspectives offers an opportunity to travel through the various states of awakening and understand the territory. With the historic practice of The Jesus Prayer as a jumping off point, we explore the experiential aspects of the Purgation/Illumination/Union path of Christian Mysticism.
The Divine Transformation: Essentials of Christian Mysticism: This is a combined course of both Contemplative Practices and Contempative Perspectives.
Christian Prayer Methods: Prayer is a core Christian practice, but for many, this means “saying prayers” or asking God for various favors. In this course, we will review a variety of methods of prayer that have been used for centuries in Christianity. Whether you’re a beginner who is just learning how to pray, or a more mature Christian who has been at it awhile, this course will offer specific guidance, encouragement and support for practicing several time-tested methods of prayer.
The Way of the Wisdom Jesus: Going Beyond the Mind to the Heart of His Teaching – If you put aside what you think you know about Jesus and approach the Gospels as though for the first time, something remarkable happens: Jesus emerges as a teacher of the transformation of consciousness. In this online course, Episcopal priest, teacher, and retreat and conference leader Cynthia Bourgeault serves as a masterful guide to Jesus’s vision and to the traditional contemplative practices you can use to experience the heart of his teaching for yourself. It is based upon her book, The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – a New Perspective on Christ and His Message .
Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright. It is based on his book Simply Jesus. Enjoy an article I wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.
This course is a short course based on Prof. N.T. Wright’s latest book, Simply Good News. Tom Wright will guide you through the chapters of his book through videos that suggest what some of the main points are. You will instantly get into the heart of the idea of ‘good news’ as it was understood by the 1st Century writers of the New Testament. You will be brought into their world in order to make more sense of what ‘good news’ means in our world.
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David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners.
Centering Prayer is a silent prayer practice that can move you toward a profound relationship with the Spirit of God within. It is a way of praying that opens the door to the Divine Indwelling—the ground of our being. With Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating and his colleagues Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Father Carl Arico present the first online course in this method for deepening your intimacy with God and ultimately consenting to the presence and action of the Divine in all aspects of your life.
Since the time of the Desert Fathers in the third century, Finley begins, Christian mystics have practiced meditation as a way of opening to the direct presence of God in daily life. Legendary seekers such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Meister Eckhart explored how meditation can lead us beyond the closed horizon of the ego, to an interior and holy refuge that is always available to us. On Christian Meditation, James Finley offers a gentle introduction to this all-transforming way of life, and the ever-deepening realization of oneness with Christ it leads us to. (Based upon his book, Christian Meditation.)