Continuous prayer in the fullest sense of the term is present when the motivation of all of our actions is coming from the Spirit.
– Thomas Keating
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I came across this quote while recently reading, “Open Mind, Open Heart” (20th Anniversary Edition) by Thomas Keating. I admit. I have struggled with what it means to pray without ceasing as Paul mentions. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
This quote helped clarify it for me. This is what my centering prayer practice helps me to do. My centering prayer practice teaches me how to pray without ceasing.
During centering prayer I open to God. I let go of all my thoughts, emotions and physical sensations. I let go of me and open to the inner actions of God. During silent prayer I do not know how God acts deep, deep within me.
God acts deeper than my thoughts, my emotions, and my physical sensations. God fills me with what only God knows I need. It is none of my business. I love God. I trust that God knows what to do.
The fruits of my centering prayer are the actions that arise from my practice. What actions has God prayed in me that will be revealed in my outer world? What have I noticed? Let me share a few.
I have noticed I have more patience. I listen to my child, my friend, a co worker without judgment. I want to see and hear things from a different perspective.
I have noticed that I react more calmly to situations when things do not seem to go as I hoped. I let the situation just be. What can I learn from the situation? Many times I do not need to take any action. It seems to resolve itself.
Lastly, I have noticed I do not seem to panic when I have multiple tasks that need to get completed in a short period of time. Some of the tasks really do not need to be done. Some of the tasks are simpler than I originally thought they were.
Life can be one continuous prayer. My centering prayer practice has taught me how to live. My actions are the fruit of silent prayer. Silent prayer and action must work together. God joins the two together. My job is to open to God and trust God’s process.
Open Mind, Open Heart 20th Anniversary Edition by Thomas Keating
Intimacy with God: An Introduction to Centering Prayer by Thomas Keating
Manifesting God by Thomas Keating
A Journey of Discernment with the teachings of Mary Margaret Funk and other contemplative voices by Contemplative Outreach, Mary Margaret Funk: This e-course explores the contemplative approach to discerning the small and large decisions in life, which comes from cultivating a life practice of unceasing prayer (whatever types of prayer that may encompass for you). Discernment means sorting our thoughts and following the impulse of grace given by the Holy Spirit. As Sr. Meg writes, “Since we are not our thoughts, we can observe them rising and follow the ones that are from God.” This is a way of coming more awake and discovering the spark of divinity burning in our hearts.
Poetry and Prayer from the Celtic Tradition by Carl McColman: The traditional Celtic people of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales wove prayers, blessings, poems, and songs into every aspect of their daily lives — using the power of language to blend a rich spirituality of presence and wisdom into the very fabric of their being. Many of these poetic invocations and charming poems were collected by folklorist Alexander Carmichael over 100 years ago and preserved in the book Carmina Gadelica — the “Charms of the Gaels.”
Celtic Spirituality At the Edge of Mystery by Carl McColman: Consider it a pilgrimage into one of the best examples of everyday spirituality. Celtic wisdom and poetry encourages us to recognize the holy all around us, honors and protects the sacred earth, gives inspiration to free our creative voice, and presents a holistic path that links the quest for holiness with an embodied sense of Divine love.
Sounds True has titles by teachers and authors such as Thomas Keating, Cynthia Bourgeault, James Finley, Richard Rohr, David Frenette, Parker Palmer , Adyashanti , Eckhart Tolle , Michael Singer , Jon Kabat-Zinn , Marianne Williamson to name a few.
Contemplative Light offers courses on contemplative practices (Christian Meditation, Centering Prayer, The Examen, Lectio Divina, The Jesus Prayer), the Christian mystics (ancient and current) and spiritual writing. Peruse their wonderful offerings.
Prayer-Bracelet: Authentic Orthodox prayer ropes and bracelets are handmade by monks in the Orthodox monastaries reciting a prayer for every knot they tie. Peruse their prayer ropes and bracelets that are all handmade, provided by several orthodox churches around the globe.