Centering Prayer... a form of meditation

God is at the center of my soul. Meditation is a journey to our center.
(Saint John of the Cross)

Centering Prayer is drawn from Christian prayer practices. It was made into a simple method of prayer in the 1970s by three Trappist monks.

Centering Prayer centers our attention on God by using a word or phrase (mantra) such as either of these:

  • Jesus I trust You
  • Come Holy Spirit

You can also use a single verse of Scripture.

The Benedictine priest John Main recommended Maranatha.

In Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, it means Come Lord Jesus. This ancient mantra was used by the first Christian monks, the Desert Fathers. Saint Paul ends his first letter to the church of Corinth with this word.

You may want to use this Opening Prayer of John Main:

Heavenly Father, open our hearts to the silent presence of the spirit of your Son Jesus.

Lead us into that mysterious silence where your love is revealed to all who call, Maranatha .... Come Lord Jesus.

or you may find this prayer helpful:

Holy Spirit I come to you in the name of Jesus.
When I pray, please help me block out all distractions
and to focus only on thoughts coming from You.
I thank you for this grace.

Sit comfortably in a straight chair, preferably with arms. Remember that God is near and that He wants you to come into His presence.

Relax, close your eyes and empty your mind of all distractions. Breathe deeply in and exhale slowly out.

Speak to God
Select a word or phrase and slowly repeat it to yourself. After a few minutes, stop thinking about the meaning and allow the mantra to lead you to an awareness of the Spirit that Jesus has sent into your heart.

Don't fight any distracting thoughts. Push them gently out of your mind and return to your mantra (your center).

Start with 3 minutes and build up to about 20 minutes.

Experience the Presence of God
Now we begin to experience the presence of the Lord. For Father Main, prayer was not talking or thinking about God, but being with God.

End your prayer
Thank God for His love and great care.

In Prayer of the Heart, don’t have any demands or expectations and don’t try to evaluate your meditation. Just be still and learn to wait on the Lord.

Try to have two periods of meditation a day, morning and evening.

For Parents and Teachers:

Teach your children to be in the presence of God. Children not only want to learn about Jesus and God, they want to experience God in their heart.

Use the regular method. Start meditating for 5 minutes adding a minute when your child seems ready for more silence, until you have reached your child's age.

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