Centering prayer is my new favorite thing. When I discovered it last year I found that I had been hungering for it for a long time. It’s a different type of prayer, an alternative or addition to the listing, processing, journaling I had been practicing since high school. After I had been practicing centering prayer for awhile it began to work its way into my therapeutic tool box and I began discussing it with my clients, especially trauma and abuse survivors.
How it’s done:
(for a very complete description visit contempletiveoutreach.org)
- Choose a calm place to sit.
- Choose one word that can serve as your symbol of focusing on being present with God. Mine is “love” or “God” – I’ve let myself have two!
- Sit quietly for a few minutes and just be present with God and yourself. When your thoughts start to wander to your grocery list or a conflict in your life just say your word in your mind and refocus on you and God, just sitting quietly together.
- The centering prayer gurus recommend 20 minutes once or twice a day, I am not there yet and I encourage people to just start with a few minutes at a time to get used to the activity. Don’t expect anything big to happen during the prayer time, it’s solely for the purpose of being present with God and it grows you from the bottom up.
What I mean by that is the benefit I have gained from this practice has been a deep reminder that I am more than, and my story is way bigger than, any painful present moment in which I find myself. I feel it cultivating my connection with myself, and God’s presence in my own gut, which I’ve found is the smartest part of all of us. I feel more often like I’m able to observe my own emotions without automatically reacting to them. Responding instead of reacting is a hallmark of a mature person, though no one gets it perfect.
So if you feel up for a little centering prayer experiment, try it for a few weeks and observe if you notice any changes in your ability to be present with yourself, others or are the tiniest bit more patient in enduring life’s trials.
Our Contributing Authors
The Last Battle Blog aims to provide meaningful tools and information about the issue of sexual violation. We offer a way to express yourself, as you engage in your own personal awareness and share your strengths with others. Our goal is to cover a variety of topics, stories, ideas, and to create a blog that is beneficial and honoring to those who read it. Last Battle’s contributing authors help make this happen.
Meet This Blog’s Contributing Author:
Kelley Gray, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor