Silent Prayer’s Purpose in Christian Tradition 12-01-2016

Silent prayer is about what God does for us, not about our efforts.

Of course, to increase depth in centering prayer we need to maintain designated times for prayer and we need to leave behind our distractions, waiting for God in naked awareness. Yet, in centering prayer there’s no goal we’re working toward step by step, as with some spiritual practices. Centering prayer is an effortless/passive prayer form. To progress, we have to habitually show up for prayer (daily prayer has a cumulative effect). And we need regular time for retreat.[1] So we need to take initiative to show up. Then, after we show up, it’s up to Christ to transform us.

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The uniqueness of centering prayer is that for once both eyes are on God in complete receptivity. We’re waiting for God to come to us. We wait with every ounce of our attention. This is the fulfillment of the command to “Love God with all your mind” (Mark 12:30). We show our beloved our devotion by showing up for our prayer times or “heavy dates” and by giving our beloved our undistracted attention.

 

[1] People who do regular daily practice of silent prayer and periodic retreats are said to be a part of a contemporary movement, often referred to as #NewMonasticism

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.