So, what if a child should express an interest in learning about silent prayer? What are we to tell a child or young person who might ask about our prayer practice?

  1. We need to begin by reminding children who they truly are.

Centering Prayer starts with a deep awareness of our true identity as children created in the image of God.

Genesis says,

Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness… So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them (Genesis 1:26, 27)

We bear a similarity to God. God’s likeness is rooted in our deepest being.

We all contain in our hearts qualities of love, light, beauty, truth, goodness, kindness, gentleness, wisdom, and strength.

Paul said,

it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians. 4:6)

  1. The trouble is, at times we forget who we are.

We think life is made up only of those things we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. But there is much more to a person than the things we can perceive with our physical senses.

You might draw an iceberg with the tip sticking up above the waterline but the vast majority submerged beneath the surface.

We spend so much of our lives concerned with the tip of the iceberg that we forget the deep hidden part that is in fact greater than all we see on the surface.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul went on to say,

we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

We are containers of treasure.

You might tell the story of the beggar sitting on a busy city sidewalk on an old chest asking for money from the people as they pass by. A stranger approaches and asks, “What’s in the chest?”

The beggar replies, “Nothing, it’s just an old box.”

“Have you ever opened it?”

“No, it’s just an old box.”

The stranger persists, “Let’s look inside.” When the chest is opened, it is found to be full of gold.

We lose touch with the treasure that we were created to contain. We become too busy concerning ourselves with the container and forget about the contents. When our lives are too cluttered with surface details, it is more difficult to live the full life we were created to live.

A meditation bell and cushion can be used to illustrate this point. Ring the bell and let the children hear the sound. Then stuff the cushion in the bell and let them hear the clunk a bell makes when it is not empty. Our lives do not ring with the true resonance and beauty of God’s image when they are stuffed full of to many concerns, needs, wants, and demands.

Centering Prayer helps us remember who we truly are and to live in tune with our true nature. When we forget who we truly are we become like a car that thinks it is a boat. When a car tries to sail across the sea, it does not do a good job of being a boat and it does a terrible job of being a car.

In Centering Prayer we connect with the treasure at the heart of our being. We begin to discover the strength, wisdom, and peace that are given to us by God. Discovering these gifts is certainly a worthwhile way to spend a few minutes each day.

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