Silent Prayer’s Purpose in Christian Tradition Part 2

There is an important distinction between Christian silent prayer and disciplined silences of other Eastern religions… Ultimately, in the Christian context, silent prayer can only be taught by the great teacher, which Augustine calls the Magister Internus (Latin): the Master Within. This is the Holy Spirit—the aspect of God available to us at all times, nudging us and prompting us into deeper and more consistent relationship with God.

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This Master Within is different from non-Christian eastern forms of meditation, where sometimes emphasis ultimately rests on one’s self or one’s teacher. In the Christian context emphasis may briefly be placed on one’s self or a teacher, yet the focus always returns to relationship with God. It’s not up to us or our teacher to “work” in centering prayer. It is God’s grace and presence that ultimately heals us.

Centering Prayer focuses on God, not our own effort. This is unique to Christian prayer and is in line with Paul’s theology of grace, not works.


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.