Christian Meditation: A Centering Prayer

I’ve tried many … many … many kinds of meditation from the most common “focus on your breathing” yoga-style ones to Wim-Hoff breath-hold meditations to using apps like Headspace’s guided meditation and much more.

They’re all good and work in their own ways to benefit your mind and soul by teaching you how to stay focused for a period of time and not be a slave to your “monkey mind” haha.

Recently, since experiencing a slow, steady spiritual healing and renewal, I’ve started meditating in a different manner. One that is kinda like saying a prayer but still feels like meditation at the same time.

Its called the “Centering Prayer“.

I first came across this in the book Leaf to Life by Dr. Sebastian Liew. In it, he mentions how we can constantly connect to God throughout our daily life by saying a prayer or giving thanks in our minds and hearts throughout the day.

We don’t have to postpone prayer time for when we can find  spare time such as right before bed. The Centering Prayer is one such example of connecting with the divine whenever, wherever.

Also known as a contemplative meditation, it was taught by Cistercian monk Thomas Keating. It teaches one to let go of any stress, worry, judgements, grudges, ego or negative emotions as you reflect deeply on a virtue. In the process, we surrender to his grace and love. 

For me, practicing this form of meditation has truly brought me much release from any negative emotions I may have. I genuinely feel like I’ve surrendered my soul to God and each and every time I open my eyes after a session, I feel so light and relieved and at peace and bursting with bliss and content!

As if I were a child again! Happy, joyful … free! 

Centering Prayer ver 2
Second version haha. Been refining my practice 🙂

I don’t really have a set time each day to do this meditation. Nor do I make it a point to do it everyday. I just do it whenever I have spare time and feel like it is the best use of my time.

For example, I usually read a book on trains as a substitute to staying glued and reactive to every notification on my phone screen. However, there are some days when I’m just too mentally drained and I’d forget what I read as soon as I flipped the page!

Thats when I know there is no point forcing myself to continue reading. A more productive use of my time would be to meditate to relax and reflect or contemplate on life.

(this form of the Centering Prayer is adapted from Dr. Sebastian’s book and has evolved quite a bit since I started this)

Centering Prayer (ver 2)

I first begin in a comfortable position. Usually seated, back straight and relaxed.

I close my eyes and take a few slow breaths to calm myself down and get a rhythm going. Breathing in and out through my nose works best.

I then start by saying the following opening prayer:

(with every in-breath, I address the person(s) I’m praying to. With the out-breaths, the short prayer)

LORD, I glorify thee …
LORD, I glorify thee …
LORD, I glorify thee …

JESUS, come into me …
JESUS, come into me …
JESUS, come into me …

HOLY SPIRIT, I thirst for thee …
HOLY SPIRIT, I thirst for thee …
HOLY SPIRIT, I thirst for thee …

MOTHER MARY, intercede for me …
MOTHER MARY, intercede for me …
MOTHER MARY, intercede for me …

ANGELS & SAINTS, pray for me …
ANGELS & SAINTS, pray for me …
ANGELS & SAINTS, pray for me …

BROTHERS & SISTERS, pray with me …
BROTHERS & SISTERS, pray with me …
BROTHERS & SISTERS, pray with me …

Then, continuing with the tune/rhythm of my breathing, I will meditate on ONE word/grace/virtue that I need most in my life such as:

Love … Love … Love …

Joy … Joy … Joy …

Peace … Peace … Peace …

Wisdom … Wisdom … Wisdom …

Faith … Faith … Faith …

Patience … Patience … Patience …

Strength … Strength … Strength …

Or if I feel like it I will say a prayer.

Not an intellectual prayer like how we are all used to saying where we have a structure and pray with our minds.

I will pray with my heart.

Like “opening the doors of my heart to pour out whatever has been trapped in it”.

So the prayer is more like a spontaneous one where I let the words come to me instead of thinking of words to say to the Lord.

I end by saying a prayer of thanksgiving and praise.

Amen.


May the good Lord bless you with his grace and guide you in all that you do.

Everything starts with prayer.

Jahn Tang

 

 

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