What Is Step 2 of Centering Prayer?

When you pray, go into your inner room, close the door,…..

Matthew 6:6

Last week I discussed Step 1 of Centering Prayer:  The Sacred Word.  (On March 19, I provided a summary of Centering Prayer if you need to take a peek to remind yourself.)

Today I will review Step 2: 

Sit comfortably, close your eyes and internally repeat the sacred word slowly and silently.

Image Credit: Terri Lynn Cook

Find a quiet place where you can sit alone.  It might be in your room, family room or basement.  If the weather is nice it can also be outside.

If you are not home, perhaps you sit in your car.  While I am at work, my second sit is in my car.  This quiet area is your special place where you will sit with God.

You can choose to sit in a kitchen chair, living room chair or couch.  Some people like to use a cushion and sit on the floor.  Feel free to choose what is most comfortable for you.

Let me also make a comment about our hands.  Feel free to lie them on your thighs or gently place them together in a prayer gesture.

I have a herniated disc in my neck.  My first sit of the day is often on my back.  I place my neck in a traction machine that I use to help release the pressure on the nerves.  If you have a similar situation and or a bad back, you might not be able to sit upright.  Feel free to lie down.  God is always pleased that we take this time to sit or lie in silent prayer!

The purpose during this sit is to be awake and alert.  We sit in the presence of God.  During this time we consent to the presence and actions of God within.

We begin centering prayer with Step 2:

Sit comfortably, close your eyes and internally repeat the sacred word slowly and silently.

My last meditation discussed Step 1: The Sacred Word.  Feel free to refer to it if you need to.

If you recall, we begin our prayer with a sacred word, sacred image, sacred glance or even our breath.  We need to choose what is most comfortable for us.  Over time we might change our word or even change from the sacred word to the sacred image for example. I found I was attracted to a sacred image and have stuck with it for now.

Next week I will discuss Step 3:

When you become aware of thoughts, emotions and physical sensations, return ever so gently to your sacred word.

I hope you will continue to join me over the next two weeks.

Go further:

A “Secret Weapon” of Centering Prayer by Marc Thomas Shaw

David Frenette, The Path of Centering Prayer

Cynthia Bourgeault, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening

Cynthia Bourgeault, The Heart of Centering Prayer: Nondual Christianity in Theory and Practice

Thomas Keating, Open Mind, Open Heart 20th Anniversary Edition

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One on One Coaching with Rich

Does this sound like you?

“I am bored with my life?”

“I am not doing the things that I want to do in all areas of my life:”

-career, personal, family, community.

I feel unfulfilled, like I am just going through the motions everyday.

I have dreams and goals, but I am afraid to show up and take action on them.

I don’t want years to pass and be disappointed when I look back on my life.

Integrating Centering Prayer practice with your everyday life addresses all of these thoughts.

Do you want to obtain the freedom to become your true self,  the person I’m created to be?

How do I create a long lasting and sustainable centering prayer practice?

I am currently taking on clients for Centering Prayer One on One Coaching sessions.

I will work with you to setup a program designed to meet your specific needs.


Centering Prayer as a Way of Life  by Contemplative Outreach, Pamela Begeman, Mary Anne Best, Julie Saad: In this, the third offering of this year’s trilogy on Centering Prayer, we will explore how the practice of Centering Prayer evolves into a surrendered life of inner peace and equanimity despite the busy and often tumultuous circumstances of daily life in the 21st century. As the inner room begins to expand its walls beyond the twice-daily practice of Centering Prayer, the Spirit takes over our life more and more, and we begin to accept ourselves just as we are, God as God is, and all reality as it is. From this disposition of true humility, enlarged under the influence of God’s grace, we live in the Kingdom of God here and now, which is a state of consciousness ever-attentive to the presence of God in the midst of ordinary life.

Centering Prayer as Practice and Process by Contemplative Outreach, Pamela Begeman, Mary Anne Best, Julie Saad: If you are new to Centering Prayer or wishing to renew your practice, this retreat will assist you with deepening your relationship with God. We will focus on teaching and practicing the method of Centering Prayer; review its place in the Christian tradition, its conceptual background, and psychological process; and share insights into establishing Centering Prayer as a way of life.

Lean In, Lighten Up and Let Go Practices for a Deeper Commitment to the Contemplative Life by Contemplative Outreach, Mary Dwyer: This retreat encourages a life of prayer and practice, both “on the chair” and in daily life. It will support you in making a deeper commitment to your relationship with God, and strengthen your ability to live the contemplative life through dedication to prayer and practice, all within the normal routines of everyday life.

Sounds True has titles by teachers and authors such as Thomas Keating, Cynthia Bourgeault, James Finley, Richard Rohr, David Frenette, Parker Palmer , 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.

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