To expand awareness and insight in silent meetings for worship, Quakers are encouraged to deepen silences on their own, to train their minds through habitual silences.
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Centering prayer is my preferred method of training. In centering prayer we sit comfortable with back straight. Then a sacred word is introduced, which is a symbol of our intention to enter into silence in anticipation of God’s presence. The sacred word is a gentle reminder to return to our silent center. Whenever distractions arise during centering prayer, I gently and inaudible recite my sacred word to redirect focus to the pregnant silence.
This ancient prayer form has roots dating back to the third century. Centering prayer is made contemporary today by the work of Thomas Keating, Cynthia Bourgeault, and many others. The point of silent prayer in all its various forms is to achieve naked awareness/stillness of mind.
 My particular practice is Centering Prayer, yet there are other practices based on the same principles that go by other names such as Prayer of the Heart, so I don’t make the mistake of using Centering Prayer as a blanket term for all silent prayer in Christian tradition.
David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners, and then guides us experientially through core prayers and meditations.
How do we know that Jesus was actually raised from the dead in bodily form? This course with Prof. N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, examines the extraordinary claim that Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead in a bodily fashion to appear in person to people after his cruel death, crucifixion, and entombment.
Check out Simply Good News by New Testament scholar and author N. T. Wright. It is based upon his book Simply Good News. You will instantly get into the heart of the idea of ‘good news’ as it was understood by the 1st Century writers of the New Testament. It works well for group studies.
Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright. Enjoy an article Rich wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.
Check out Rich’s review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain.