Questions: What do you see in this picture and scripture about the Life of Prayer?
1. What is life like, what are we like before we recognize the true presence of Christ?
2. How does Christ come to us?
3. How does God call us to come close to Himself?
4. In what different contexts do we recognize Christ?
5. What is our response when we feel our hearts burn with in us?
6. When and where does your heart burn within in you with the love of Christ?
7. What may He calling you to do?
The goal of centering prayer is:
- to be attentive to the presence of God within…centering all of your attention and desire on him (Not like eastern meditation where the goal is to empty yourself, and not like Christian meditation on the meaning of Scripture)
- to learn to dwell in this presence – that the fruit of the dwelling may show up in your everyday life.
- to consent to God’s presence and action within.
The purpose of centering prayer is not to get a word from God or any sort of divine revelation or experience…although experiences may occasionally happen.
The purpose of this prayer of silence is to bring the believer to a state of inner stillness before the Lord, trusting that in this stillness – in this communion with the Lord – we will be changed; He will work in our hearts.
There is Nothing………
There is nothing you and I can do for the Lord that He could not get someone else to do.He could raise up sons and daughters to Abraham out of the field stones and give them the talent, the inspiration, and the grace to carry out all out tasks.
There is only one thing that you and I can give to the Lord that absolutely no one else can ever give Him. He dreamed about it from all eternity when He thought of creating us. If we do not give it to Him, he will never get it. IN this he has made himself a beggar. For He truly wants what we have to give, yet He can only get it if we decide to freely give it to Him.
What is this one thing—the one thing necessary?
…It is our personal love. This is what God made us for; to lavish the joy of His love upon us, which can be received only with love, the love that returns to Him our personal love. No one else can ever give Him our personal love. If we do not give it to Him, He will never receive this particular love—which He wants!–M Basil Pennington
The GOAL of Centering Prayer…is…Love (not a practice), which overflows to serve…
Being with the One we Love, and Who loves us…
Being transformed into the character of the One we Love, and Who loves us…
Being the loving hands and feet of the One we love, who loves us and Who loves the world
1. Choose a sacred word or short phrase as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within.
The word or phrase should communicate God’s love to you or your intention toward Him.
Examples would be Lord, Jesus, Abba, Father, Love, Peace, shalom, rest, or phrases such as I receive your love for me, or the Jesus prayer.
2. Sit comfortably…
Don’t sit so comfortably to encourage sleep, (I have done this plenty of times!! – fallen asleep!! – LOL!)
… But comfortably enough to avoid thinking about the discomfort of your body during this time of prayer. Sit up straight & assume an open posture.
3. Close your eyes…
- Let go of all thoughts, tensions and sensations that you may feel
- Rest in the love of God who dwells within
- Gently introduce your sacred word or phrase
- As thoughts subside and you become restfully aware, simply let go of the word or phrase.
- Just BE in the stillness, trusting the God is with you and
- God is pleased with your offering.
4. as your only response to thoughts, questions, or any anxieties that may arise.
Your mind wander, and range far and wide. Don’t stress, just dismiss it like a river and quietly return to your intention to be with God using your sacred word.
- Emerge slowly from the silence – even if you don’t feel you need it. Take a couple of minutes to express thanks, worship, or praise to God, or recite the Lord’s Prayer.
Refrain from any analysis or judgment on your time…”It was good, or bad, or I didn’t feel anything”. Be satisfied that your one true desire is to learn to desire and be more in love with Jesus.
Conclusion Questions to consider:
- Did anything you hear tonight strike a spark in you?
- What does that spark feel like?
- What would like to take home and talk more about with God? Make note of that so you won’t forget.
- How might something you heard relate to your desires or fears to be involved in Jesus parable of the 5-2-1?
Conclusion & Class reflection: A Story is told……..
“The custodian of a church had the responsibility of unlocking the doors at 6AM each morning. On weekdays, his other duties were to tend to the necessary cleaning and maintenance of the church building and grounds.
Only occasionally did he see a parishioner enter the sanctuary for a few moments of meditation and prayer. One day he realized that each morning an elderly woman, obviously of modest means, quietly entered the church a few minutes after he opened the doors. She always sat in the back pew, and she unobtrusively slipped out of the church about 2 hours later.
After observing her for many months, the custodian, unable to contain his curiosity any longer, timidly approached the woman. He asked, “Pardon me, Madam, may I ask you a question?”
She smiled her assent.
“I have watched you come in here day after day, sit quietly in the same pew, and then walk out two hours later. What are you doing?”
She smiled mater-of-factly: “I look at Him. He looks at me, we look at each other.”