Centering Prayer

Mount Ngauruhoe

Centering prayer is not a way

of turning on the presence of God.

Rather it is a way of saying

“Here I am”.

The next step is up to God.

It is a way of putting yourself at God’s disposal;

it is God who determines

the consequences.

What is centering prayer?

 Centering prayer helps us cooperate with the activity that God is constantly initiating in our inmost centre. The desire to go to God, to open to God’s presence within us does not come from our initiative. We do not have to go anywhere to find God, because God is already drawing us in every conceivable way into union. It is rather a question of opening to an action that is already happening in us.


Centering prayer ::  is at the same time a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship;

It’s an exercise of faith, hope, and love;

it’s a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion,

and it habituates us to the language of God which is silence.

Selections from ‘Open Mind, Open Heart, pp32,43, and


What is the relationship between centering prayer and lectio divina?

Lectio divina is a comprehensive method of communing with God which begins with the reading (lectio) of a Scripture passage. Reflection on the text (meditatio) moves easily into spontaneous prayer (oratio), and finally into resting in the presence of God (contemplatio)

Centering prayer is a way of moving from the first three phases of Lectio to the final one of resting in God.

Open Heart, Open Mind, p.29

The Practice of Centering Prayer

  1. Choose a sacred word as a symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within, e.g. Abba, Amen, peace, trust, Jesus, Spirit, maranatha …
  2. Sitting comfortably, with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word. As you breathe naturally, the word anchors your consent and openness to the Holy One.
  3.  When you become aware of thoughts, return ever so gently to the sacred word, again affirming your choice to be united with God. Return to your word, whenever you are aware of distracting thoughts, images or sounds – consenting again and again to God’s presence.
  4.  At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.
  5.  Open your eyes. Stand and stretch, and move on with your everyday life.

Two periods of twenty minutes each day are recommended to sustain your connection with the reservoir of God’s love.


If you would like to find out more about centering prayer,

visit  or

read some of Thomas Keating’s foundational writings



 INVITATION TO LOVE           1992

… all published by St Benedict’s Monastery, Snowmass, Colorado


OR read


by Cynthia Bourgeault,

Cowley: Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2004