Centering Down


often practice what is referred to as “centering down” in the Quaker tradition. It is a contemplative prayer practice. Centering down consists of three steps. They are release, receive and rest.

During the release step you place your palms down. This is a symbol of your release to God. You verbally or internally release to God whatever it is that you feel you need to at this time. For example, you might release worry, anger, loneliness, depression, anxiety. It will be very specific to exactly how you are feeling at this very moment. These are things you need to get off your chest.

After the release step, you quietly pause for as long as needed before moving onto step two. Step two is the receive process. You symbolize this step by placing your palms up. You are signaling to God that you are open to receive whatever it is that the Divine wants to bring to you. Verbally or internally you ask God to bring you the Divine’s love, wisdom, strength, empathy, confidence, compassion. It is an open posture to receiving whatever it is that you think and more importantly what God thinks you need at this very moment.

At the conclusion of the receive step, you move into step three. Step three is rest. You do nothing more than sit with God. You are in God’s presence. You are a child of God. God loves you. Feel free to sit in silence for as long as the spirit moves you.

Let the spirit move you to practice centering down when you feel the need. It can also be practiced in community. Prayer in community is powerful.  Centering down is a beautiful practice that leads one into contemplative prayer, resting in the pure presence of God.

Go Further:

Holy Silence  by J. Brent Bill

Sacred Compass: The Way of Spiritual Discernment  by J. Brent Bill

Life Lessons from a Bad Quaker: A Humble Stumble Toward Simplicity and Grace  by J. Brent Bill

Celebration of Discipline, Special Anniversary Edition  by Richard Foster

Richard J. Foster’s Study Guide for “Celebration of Discipline”  by Richard Foster

Holy Silence: The Quaker Way by J. Brent Bill:  Quaker silence is not about stillness, as such, but rather about encountering God in a living and vital holy hush. This e-course encourages women and men to undertake a journey of spiritual silence. The destination is a quiet inner place where God teaches us directly. Friends (as Quakers are formally known) have been honing their take on silence for more than 350 years. It’s a silence that invites us to an immediate and personal encounter with God. That’s because Quakers believe that when we are silent, then the Spirit of God grants us insights, guidance, and understanding of spiritual truth.

 

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