Centering Prayer is an effort to renew the teaching of the Christian Tradition on Contemplative Prayer. Centering Prayer is opening to God. The actual work of Centering Prayer is consenting to God’s presence. Centering Prayer is an exercise in letting go. That is all it is. The chief effect of Centering Prayer is to live from our center. — Father Thomas Keating
Centering Prayer is the contemporary name for the meditation practice Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount: “Whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.” (Matthew 6:6)
Who is this “I” that you imagine yourself to be? An easy and pragmatic branch of psychological thought will tell you that if you can hook up your pronoun with your proper name and declare that you are the bearer of that name, you know who you are. This, however, is not the “I” who can stand in the presence of God. If we enter into ourselves then pass beyond the inner “I”, we sail forth into the immense darkness in which we confron the “I AM” of the Almighty. — Thomas Merton
St. Gregory described Contemplative Prayer simply as “resting in God,” the opening of mind and heart — our whole being — to the Ultimate Mystery, beyond thoughts, words and emotions, in sheer silence.
We may think of prayer as thoughts or feelings expressed in words, but this is only one of its forms. St. John of the Cross wrote, “The Father spoke on word for all eternity and he spoke it in silence and it is in silence that we hear it.”
This ancient practice was renewed for our times by the inspiration of Thomas Merton and taught as Centering Prayer by Father Thomas Keating since 1976.
Taken principally from the insights St. John of the Cross and the fourteenth century Cloud of Unknowing, Centering Prayer is designed for today’s busy men and women who seek spiritual refuge in what T. S. Eliot called “the still point of the turning world.”
Whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. (Matthew 6:6)
Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers and shut thy doors about thee. Hide thyself as it were for a little moment. (Isaiah 26:20)
And He said unto them: Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place and rest a while. (Mark 6:31)
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee. (Isaiah 26:3)
In returning and rest shall ye be saved. In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength. (Isaiah 30:15)
For God alone my soul waits in silence. (Psalm 62:1)
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him. (Psalm 37:7)
Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)