Each year I pick a spiritual book to work through slowly. This years’ book is Intimacy with God by Thomas Keating. In this work, Keating introduces a way of being with Jesus called ‘Centering Prayer.’ In his own words, “Centering prayer is not the suspension of all activity, but the reduction of many acts and reflections to a single act or thought to sustain one’s consent to God’s presence.” In other words, it is taking a break from everything in order to focus on God and God alone.
Contemplative prayer is not a new practice, but is instead a return to ancient ways of connection with God. In the sixth century, St. Gregory the Great called this type of prayer, “resting in God.” God himself tells us, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalms 46:10) For most of us, as soon as we sit down to be with the Lord, our mind kicks into overdrive. The method of Centering Prayer involves breathing deeply and picking a word like ‘Peace,’ ‘Father,’ or a phrase like, ‘Be Still,’ to return to each time the mind wanders. I have been doing this practice for 15 to 20 minutes a day for the past few months. Slowly my mind shifts into a calm state, and let me tell you, it is truly restful.
Give it a try, even if it’s for 10 minutes for the next 5 days. Find a quite place. Pick a word. Breathe in and out deeply. Do your best to be in the moment. The Lord will meet you in this place.