September 12, 2021
Today's Rambling is a bit short, and the next few may also be, since I am behind the scenes working on a new book project that I'll hopefully unveil soon.
But I still wanted to share something important with you. See, each Sunday, I and my family read, discuss, and do the exercises from one new chapter in the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Calhoun (for you or for your family, I can't recommend this practice highly enough if you want to become intimately familiar with all the spiritual disciplines).
This week's theme from the handbook was on the topic of “centering prayer,” which is derived from the ancient practice of contemplative prayer of the Desert Fathers of early Christian monasticism. I briefly address the topic of centering prayer in this larger article I wrote about prayer, but, as a type of meditation with an aim to be fully present with God during a time of prayer, it basically involves the following steps:
-Sit comfortably with your eyes closed, relax, and quiet yourself, focusing on connection to God, and preferably after you'd read a bit of Scripture or an encouraging devotional.
-Choose a sacred word, sentence, or passage that best supports your sincere intention to be in God's presence and open to His divine action within you.
-Let that word, sentence, or passage gently be present as a symbol of your sincere intention to be in God's presence and open to His divine action within you.
-Whenever you become aware of anything (thoughts, feelings, perceptions, images, associations, etc.), simply return to your sacred word, sentence, or passage, which serves as an anchor.
Anyways, when we completed this week's lesson on centering prayer from the handbook, one of my thirteen-year-old sons spoke up and said…
…”Dad, we do that every day!”
And it turns out he is right.
See, if you go read the article or watch the video here about the morning and evening meditation practice that I and my family engage in each day, you'll note that it begins—just as we are “dropping in” to our breathwork and meditation—with a reading of one encouraging or inspirational verse from Scripture, which we then spend the first two minutes of our meditation repeating, contemplating, and centering ourselves upon. Compared to one's own self-selected mantra or affirmation, I've found this to be even more powerful for beginning the day with peace, love, joy, and positive emotions.
So, quite briefly, I just had to share that with you to encourage you to try the practice of centering prayer (whether using the journal I use or whichever method works for you) for a week, and experience the uplifting daily results for yourself. Enjoy, and comment below if you try or have tried this, or what form of centering or contemplative prayer you employ in your own life!