Listening is simple but not easy. We all know that. Prayer is that way, too.
Centering Prayer was taught in a program I attended online this past month at the Priory of St. Placid in Washington state. Centering Prayer is a doorway to Contemplative Prayer (a way of self-healing and restoration that happens simply by listening in silence to the presence of God within you). It’s a lot like meditation, but there is a natural healing element to it as well, because the divine’s continual activity in the world is always slowly transforming and healing everything and everyone.
Prayer is simply relationship, of course. So, think of how our relationships with people tend to progress through the following phases. Very few people in our lives make it to the fourth one:
The presenter from the Priory compared these dimensions of relationship to the different kinds of prayer we have been gifted with to use in our relationship with God. Each of them are lovely, but there is a different time for each of them.
- vocal prayer
- reflective prayer
- responsive prayer
- contemplative prayer
Vocal prayer is the kind we use in church. Often open to everyone.
Reflective prayer is the kind where we ask personal questions within ourselves like, “Is God asking me to say yes to this new thing?”
Responsive prayer refers to the ways we live differently because of who God is in our lives.
Contemplative prayer relates to the level of intimacy. It is a self-opening and giving of all that one is and is aware of, while resting in the silence of one’s heart with God.
Would you like to learn more about Centering Prayer or Contemplative Prayer? Check out Contemplative Outreach at www.contemplativeoutreach.org for more information about this prayer form that is “as old as the hills” in the Judeo-Christian tradition.
May we, as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin says, “trust in the slow work of God” this day,