This is Part II in a series on Centering Prayer. For Part I, please see Pastor Cheryl Lawrence’s guest blog post reflecting on her experience with this spiritual practice.
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Centering Prayer is a response to to the call of the Holy Spirit to consent to God’s presence and action within. It is based on the format of prayer that Jesus suggests in Matthew 6:6: If you want to pray, enter your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Spirited Life has offered Centering Prayer as a workshop activity for Group 2 pastors, as shared by pastor Cheryl Lawrence on her blog, and we have mentioned it a few times on this blog (here and here). It is a form of silent prayer using a sacred word to draw focus and attention to interior silence and an intention to consent to God’ presence and action within. For more information about the method, click here.
Several pastors have shared with us that they are offering Centering Prayer to their congregations, but developing the structure around this time can be challenging. Below is a liturgy for worship with Centering Prayer. This particular liturgy is written for ‘the height of this day,’ but could easily be tweaked for whenever your group gathers. We’ve also indicated a twenty minute sit, which is recommended by Contemplative Outreach, leaders in the Centering Prayer movement.
Each time you gather, you may use the same liturgy and alter the reading and the psalm. As for material for the reading, consider using a favorite devotional or the week’s Gospel lectionary. If you are interested in more contemplative materials, the works of Fr. Thomas Keating, father of Centering Prayer, like Journey To The Center, may be appropriate. Suggested psalms to use include 23, 46, and 62.
Worried about keeping time during the twenty minutes? Insight Timer has a free meditation timer app for both Android and iPhones. The app has a variety of chimes to both open and close the twenty minute time of prayer. To draw the group out of the time of interior silence, the leader may consider praying the Lord’s prayer very softly.
We hope this liturgy will be useful to you for your own centering prayer practice, for leading a group in your congregation, or to use with a group of clergy.
Centering Prayer Liturgy
Call to Worship:
One: The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
All: And also with you.
One: Blessed be the one, holy, and living God.
All: Glory to God for ever and ever.
Loving God, in the height of this day we pause to rest in you. Quiet our minds that they may be still, fill our hearts that we may abide in love and trust. Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
Holy God, open our hearts to the silent presence of the Spirit of your Son. Lead us into that mysterious silence, where your love is revealed to all who call, ‘Come, Lord Jesus.’
20 minute sit
Go in peace
Click here for a copy of this liturgy, ready to be printed, copied, and used with a group.
Image by flickr user ninjapotato via Creative Commons.