The Origins of Centering Prayer

But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees from the hidden place will reward you.
Matthew 6:6 – International Standard Version

This instruction from Jesus, reported in St. Matthew’s gospel, comes just before Jesus gives to His disciples the prayer we now know as The Lord’s Prayer. Centering Prayer is a way of finding that private space within us, opening that “hidden place” completely to God, inviting His presence and His action into every area of our lives.

A Prayer from the Origins of Christianity

Many saints, Church Fathers, religious and lay people have cultivated contemplative prayer throughout the millennia; such as the Desert Fathers, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Meister Eckhart and Thomas Merton.

It has had many names over the centuries such as Prayer of Faith, Prayer of the Heart, Prayer of Simple Regard and Prayer of Simplicity.

Centering Prayer seeks to renew the contemplative dimension of Christianity. Centering Prayer furthers the development of contemplative prayer by preparing our faculties to co-operate with the gift of contemplative prayer.

Lectio Divina 2

Resting in God

Centering Prayer helps us to move from more active modes of prayer: verbal, discursive or affective prayer, into a receptive form of prayer sometimes called “resting in God”.

It can allow us to become sensitive to the very subtle inspirations of the Holy Spirit. Centering Prayer doesn’t replace or exclude other forms of prayer, instead its purpose is to enrich and complement them. Centering Prayer is at the same time a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship.

Rooted in Holy Scripture, it was distilled into a simple method of prayer in the 1970’s by three Trappist monks, Fr. William Meninger, Fr. Basil Pennington and Abbot Thomas Keating at St. Joseph ‘s Abbey in Spencer , Massachusetts.

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