Be Still and Know That I Am God: Centering Prayer at St. Luke in the Fields


By Richard Kigel, Leader, Centering Prayer Group, St. Luke in the Fields Church 

Enter through the gate on Hudson Street.  Follow the garden path to Laughlin Hall, the red brick building attached to the nineteenth century Church of St. Luke in the Fields in Manhattan’s West Village.   

Come any Tuesday evening and you will see a group of men and women sitting quietly, eyes closed, hands resting comfortably on their laps.  They do not move.  They do not speak.  Their faces, relaxed, restful, serene, show the peaceful power of interior silence. 

They are practicing Centering Prayer, 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) 

To the fourth century Desert Fathers and the fourteenth century author of the Cloud of Unknowing,this wisdom saying of Jesus helps us move beyond our ordinary level of awareness to reach deeper into ourselves.  As our spiritual practice matures, we find we are able to open to the Ultimate Mystery of the Divine Indwelling.  Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:21)

The ancient Christian tradition of Contemplative Prayer was renewed for our times by Thomas Merton and taught as Centering Prayer by Father Thomas Keating since 1984.  Centering Prayer offers a rare opportunity to lay aside all the troubles and tumult of everyday existence.  “By withdrawing the senses from their ordinary activity, you may reach deep rest,” writes Father Keating.   “We open ourselves to God and allow ourselves to rest in a silent place beyond thinking.” 

So come join us any Tuesday evening at seven.  Walk through the garden to Laughlin Hall.   Enter the inner room, sit with us and find the peace that passes understanding.   Discover the endless flow of Divine Life, Light and Love that comes from our own divine center.  Experience the reality of psalm 46: Be still and know that I am God.

All are welcome. If you have any questions please contact Richard Kigel (718.698.7514) or email:

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