Father Thomas Keating, the author of Manifesting God, put the term “centering prayer” into popular use and has devoted his life to promoting and supporting it. My prayer teacher, Sister Shirley, had read all his books and counted him her favorite prayer teacher. She recommended this book to all her students because she considered it the clearest expression of themes that appear throughout all his works – so if you only read one of them, she said, it should be this one.
Father Keating places a strong emphasis on the fact that contemplation is grace, not something we achieve or accomplish. Centering prayer is simply the practice of making yourself available to God so God can guide you and shape you in a way you may not consciously understand. For him, prayer is all about strengthening the relationship between you and God, making it more like the relationship between Jesus and his Abba. To be that close, that you literally feel God is as loving and available and necessary to you as a parent – that is the goal.
Centering prayer can seem kind of bizarre and uncomfortable, especially at first, so Father Keating’s emphasis on the point of it – creating a more loving relationship between God, Jesus, the Spirit, and yourself – has really helped inspire me to pray and sustain my prayer practice. I hope it will do the same for you.
Today’s 15 minutes of prayer: Conference room at work. Directing my mind to the truth that love is my real work, the most excellent way.