How To Pray In Secret

aug 1

If you want to pray, enter your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Abba in secret, and your Abba who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6:6

Let me share what this means to me as related to centering prayer.

(this post may contain affiliate links)

Enter Your Inner Room:

I enter my inner room when I find a quiet place.  My objective is to block out the exterior noises I might hear.  Centering prayer can be practiced anywhere but it’s sometimes best to find a quiet place to return to each time you sit.

My morning sit is in the quiet of my basement on the couch.  At work, my afternoon sit is in the quiet parking lot in the driver’s seat of my car.

As you become more experienced with the practice, you will find you will be able to practice it anywhere:  busy airport lounge, train ride, on a bench in a crowded park.

Close The Door:

During centering prayer I let go of all emotions, thoughts and physical sensations.  With the use of my sacred icon, I mentally visualize my intention to open to the presence and action of God within.  Each time I find that I plan my day or follow the path to where a thought leads me, I let it go and ever so gently return to my sacred icon.

I visualize a sacred picture in my mind.  You can also use a word such as Jesus, Love or God to ever so gently return you to your intention to open to the presence and action of God within.

Pray In Secret:

This is wordless prayer.  When I sit with a friend, no words need to be said.  Many times, my wife and I just sit in a room together.  We do not need to talk.  We enjoy each other’s company.

During wordless prayer, I simply sit with God.  I trust that God acts within me at a level much, much deeper than my emotions, thoughts and physical sensations.  I let the Divine fill me with whatever the Divine feels is needed.  I let God pray in me.

The Reward of Prayer In Secret:

This is revealed in our daily life.  We enter centering prayer with no expectations.  Paradoxically, centering prayer seems to open us to the gifts of the Spirit.

I have noticed that I am calmer.  I seem to more often stop myself so that I do not make a statement out of anger that I will later regret.  I seem to be more open to listen to other perspectives.  I seem more productive at work.  I think you too will notice gifts that the Spirit will share with you as you continue your silent prayer practice.

Silent prayer is not meant to replace other prayer forms.  It complements them.  I encourage you to find a contemplative practice such as centering prayer.  Silence teaches us who we are.  Silence teaches us how to live.

Go Further:

Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening by Cynthia Bourgeault

The Path of Centering Prayer: Deepening Your Experience of God by David Frenette

Intimacy with God: An Introduction to Centering Prayer by Thomas Keating

Healing the Divide: Recovering Christianity’s Mystic Roots  by Amos Smith

Be Still and Listen: Experience the Presence of God in Your Life  by Amos Smith



Contemplative Discernment by Fr. Carl Arico, Pamela Begeman, Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler: A contemplative practice of discernment is not about decision-making, although this may be an eventual outcome. Rather, contemplative discernment is receptive in nature, a process of opening to receive clues about who we are in God. We focus on ever-deepening levels of relationship and trust in God’s will for us. We learn how to listen deeply to our motivations and sort through and purify any mixed motivations. As this relationship deepens, we learn to allow the love of God to motivate our actions and manifest through us. We discover what it means to truly pray “not my will, but Thy will.”

Embracing Living: The Welcoming Prayer by Contemplative Outreach, Mary Dwyer, Therese Saulnier, Cherry Haisten, Jim McElroy: The Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to events and situations in daily life. If Centering Prayer (or another daily prayer) is practiced for one hour of the day, the Welcoming Prayer is for the other 23 hours. It is a “letting go” in the present moment, in the midst of the activity of ordinary life.

Practicing the Presence of God by Pamela Begeman, Mary Ann Brussat, Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler, David Frenette: We live in a world of complexity, fragmentation, noise, and haste. We sometimes find ourselves overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of tasks, appointments, and commitments facing us. How can we experience God in the midst of the busyness, responsibilities, and activities of our daily lives? By practice. By living more in the present moment. By practicing the presence of God in the present moment.

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.

Following the Mystics Through the Narrow Gate – Three leading voices in the contemplative Christian tradition explore the mystic’s path: Richard Rohr, James Finley and Cynthia Bourgeault. Experience a very special weekend conference with teachings that guide us through the long mystical tradition from early Christianity to our own time. This view into our mystical heritage opens our hearts to the Divine Mystery in which we live and are surrounded. The mystical union to which we are all invited strengthens us to live our lives with compassion and gratitude.

On Encountering the Wisdom Jesus, this brilliant author and dynamic Episcopalian priest presents her first full-length audio course about rediscovering the Master of Wisdom. Twelve immersive sessions cover: the parables as wisdom tools; Jesus’s teachings about kenosis (or self-emptying: a path as radical today as it was 2,000 years ago); Jesus as tantric master; Centering Prayer, an approach to meditation as Jesus lived it, and much more. The early Christians, teaches the Reverend Cynthia Bourgeault, were afire with the spirit of Jesus, inspired fully by his teaching of a total transformation of consciousness. How do we reclaim that fire today?

Thomas Merton’s Path to the Palace of Nowhere:  The Essential Guide to the Contemplative Teachings of Thomas Merton – Now James Finley, who for six years lived, prayed, and studied with Brother Louis, as Merton was known at the Abbey of Gethsemani, shares with us the gifts passed on to him by this towering figure.

The Teachings of Meister Eckhart: An Invitation to Experience God in Every Moment:  The 13th-century mystic Meister Eckhart was the most brilliant Christian scholar of his day, but he was also legendary for the way that he opened listeners to the direct experience of God during his public talks. Today, his written wisdom remains alive as ever, ready to illuminate us. James Finley, one of today’s best-known teachers of the Christian contemplative tradition, invites us into Eckhart’s insights in the same way that this luminary teacher delighted in sharing them—through the spoken word.

“My experience—from the depths of depression to the heights of joy—has taught me that the path toward wholeness takes patience and passion,” teaches Parker Palmer. With An Undivided Life, you will receive his timeless wisdom and guidance to help you discern, trust, and follow your authentic self at home, in your work, and in the world. We all yearn for a life that is whole—where “soul and role” are aligned and our innermost wisdom guides us in our actions. Perhaps no one has explored this topic more deeply than bestselling author and distinguished educator Parker J. Palmer.

4 thoughts on “How To Pray In Secret”

  1. A few times I stopped praying centering prayer and had negatives take over my thoughts.I have found that if I stop praying the rosary that I will stop praying centering prayer. If I stop praying centering prayer I stop praying the rosary. I discovered that when I got rosaries and rosary booklets and pamplets on how to pray rosary I still could not pray rosary until I startered praying centering prayer then I understood instructions on how to pray rosary and started to pray rosary. Maybe the rosary is my complenmentary prayer to centering prayer..

    1. Thank you Gary for your comments! I often use a prayer rope after centering prayer. For me they are complementary to each other.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *