We sit with God, our beloved. We do not sit with God for what we will obtain. We do not sit and expect a gift in return. “Lift your heart up to the Lord with a gentle stirring of love, desiring Him for His own sake and not for His gifts.” This is a teaching from the classic contemplative book, The Cloud of Unknowing.
We enter centering prayer with no expectations to receive the gift of contemplative prayer. Contemplative prayer is prayer in which we experience God’s presence within. We sit naked before God. It is God and us. Our whole being, body, mind and soul is in the pure presence of God. There is nothing between God and us. Contemplative prayer is a prayer of love without any ulterior motives. We pray because we love God. If and when God’s presence becomes known is not our business. Our business is simple to wait in silence and stillness, which are God’s first languages (John of the Cross).
Fruits of centering prayer… We do not enter this prayer for them. Each time we sit with God, we give God another opportunity to act in us. (I believe God also acts within us during our non-centering times.) We say, “Here I am God. Do with me whatever you want.” This time is unique for each person. God will do whatever God wants to do within you.
The actions that arise from my centering prayer practice are the fruits.
What actions has God prayed in me that will be revealed in my world?
I notice I have more patience. I am more willing to listen to my child, my friend, a coworker without judgment. I am willing to see and hear things from a different perspective.
I notice that I react more calmly to situations when things do not go as I had hoped. I let the situation be. What can I learn from the situation? Many times I do not need to take any action. It resolves itself.
I notice I do not seem to panic when I have multiple tasks that need to get completed in a short period. Some of the tasks do not need to be done. Some of the tasks are simpler than I originally thought.
Lastly, I have more compassion, excitement for life, inner peace and wisdom for daily
Again, I did not enter this time for these fruits. They were freely given to me by God as I waited in silence and opened myself. As you continue your practice, you too will notice how you have been blessed with fruits as a result of your daily sits.
Intimacy with God: An Introduction to Centering Prayer by Thomas Keating
Open Mind, Open Heart 20th Anniversary Edition by Thomas Keating
The Path of Centering Prayer by David Frenette
this post may contain affiliate links
I am currently taking on clients for Centering Prayer One on One Coaching sessions. I am happy to setup weekly, bi-weekly or monthly sessions with you over the phone or skype to help you go deeper into your centering prayer practice and integrate it into your daily life. Contact me for more information. The rate is $50 – $75 per hour. The first session is 1/2 off.
Feel free to peruse my Resource Page. I frequently update it with new information.
Learn how I use my prayer bracelet.
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.
Our friends at Contemplative Light are offering Contemplative Practices. This course examines in-depth traditional practices of the Christian mystics, including: The Examen, Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, The Jesus Prayer and Christian Meditation.
Contemplative Perspectives: Frameworks for the Divine: 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.
I am currently reading Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks by Diana Butler Bass.
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.
Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks – This is a great way to listen to books with your cell phone while you drive, walk or relax at home. I frequently listen in my car during my commute to and from work. I’m a proud affiliate.
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.)