Practicing centering prayer will change your life. Don’t let the word “prayer” throw you. It carries some baggage from all forms of institutional religion, but practicing it has provided a doorway to change in the lives of many people. It changed my life and brought me some unexpected benefits.
Centering prayer is closer to the eastern forms of meditation than some Christians want to admit. Like it’s sacrilegious to make the comparison. Years ago, the concept of “Christian meditation” was explained to me as the emptying of the mind so that it can be filled with the Holy Spirit, or something like that. Christians who don’t know deeper forms of meditation don’t want you to go to places where they haven’t gone, or fear to go, or don’t have time to go. Instead, the seed of paganism, eastern religion, is posited.
If you combine centering prayer with another form of Christian meditation, meditation on the Scriptures, then the definition I was given is true. Yet, there are many benefits to practicing centering prayer alone.
What Are The Benefits of Centering Prayer?
1. Inner peace. Do you find peace within when you watch television? Or the nightly news? Or as you try to look like the perfect people modeling in magazines and advertisements? Peace must be found within before you’ll find it anywhere else. Jesus said, “Peace I give you.” He couldn’t give it if he didn’t have it to give. The same is true with you. You must go within to find the peace that passes understanding. You will then possess it and be able to share with others.
2. Self-growth. I don’t know a better way of saying this than centering prayer enhances the process of maturity. I always wondered why the Old Testament refers to the nation of Israel as the children of Israel. They were adults in body and yet, children in the way they thought and acted. (Do you know any adults who still act like children?) We need to teach this form of prayer to our teenagers and confirmation students.
3. Faith-growth. No, I don’t mean faith as in believing everything the church, synagogue, or mosque has pushed into your brain. The Greek word for “faith” means “trust” or “full confidence” rather than blind adherence to ancient institutional doctrine. Many Bible verses tell us the Divine lives within us. Centering prayer can help you begin to trust the communication you receive from the Divine, who dwells within you.
4. Awareness of today. The kingdom of heaven is found in today and if you aren’t aware of that, you’ll miss the beauty and joy that is at hand in every moment. Centering prayer can help you to look at life like it’s a plate full of fine foods and a wineglass that never runs dry. It’s happening right now. Are you alert enough to enjoy it?
Future posts will go into more details about the benefits and the process of centering prayer. But you have to know the benefits before you’ll research the methods. Stay tuned.
What has helped you to achieve some of the benefits I’ve listed above?