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This Week’s Lenten Practice: Centering Prayer
Daily Act: Practice Centering Prayer
Weekly Prayer Phrase:
I DWELL IN YOU AS THE SOURCE OF ALL LIFE.
By Katie Harmon-McLaughlin
The blessing is this:
That you may rest into God’s presence
That a still center will open within you
As a reservoir in movement times
As the source of movement when it calls
That the center will be
That when you feel clumsy
It will hold fast within you
That it will be the word you speak
That you didn’t know you had to share
That it will be a surprise reserve
The “more” sometimes required
When everything else feels emptied
That it will be the constant flow beneath your surface
A well that never runs dry
That it will beckon you inward
To discover how you are called to live
That it will be the place
Where you find
Who is the source
Of your life
(From the Community of Christ Guide for Lent)
Centering prayer simply uses breath and a prayer word to stay focused on God’s presence. The intent of this prayer is to spend time with God, seeking no answers but merely connection to the Divine. It is called centering prayer because one’s attention is gathered in and centered on being open to and receiving God. During Lent, centering prayer helps us dwell more deeply in the mystery of God.
Sit in relaxed, comfortable, but erect posture with feet on the floor, eyes closed, hands open in your lap. Gently enter a time of prayer with the expectation and permission to be guided by the Holy Spirit in this practice of opening and receiving.
Use your breath to create a sense of peace and letting go into God. Breathe deeply, slowly, calmly, allowing the deep breaths to release you of tension throughout your body.
Focus on breathing God in, breathing all else out until you feel calm and centered. Be aware that God is present and that you are in this space intending to love and be loved by God.
Listen for a word or phrase that comes to you, expressing the desire of your heart. Repeat it silently to yourself in rhythm with your breathing.
As you become distracted—and you will—bring yourself back to that centered place by using your breath and your prayer word. Let go of the thoughts that pull you away. Merely note them and let them go.
Continue in this pattern of focus and breathe for about 20 minutes, though you may want to begin with 5–10 minutes and increase your time with practice. Set a timer so you will not have to check the time.
When the time of prayer has elapsed, offer a prayer of thanks to God, take several more breaths, and gently return your awareness to your surroundings. Trust the time spent with God will continue to bless you deep within as you move through your day.