There is no such thing as a prayer in which “nothing is done” or “nothing happens,” although there may well be a prayer in which nothing is perceived or felt or thought. 46

Centering Prayer may appear, more than almost any other form of prayer to be “a prayer in which ‘nothing is done’ or ‘nothing happens.’”

In Centering Prayer I sit still for twenty minutes twice a day. When I become aware of thoughts I say my sacred word silently under my breath and return to the silence until again I get hooked by my thinking, at which point I repeat my sacred word. Over and over, I express to God my intention to surrender to the presence and action of God by silently offering the prayer of my sacred word.

It seems like nothing is being done and it may often appear that nothing is happening. But Centering Prayer does not aim to make something happen. I spend far too much time trying to make things happen, trying to accomplish my little agendas and protect my small sense of self-identity. Centering Prayer puts a stick in the spokes of the wheel of my constantly spinning determination to manipulate life to work the way I think it should.

The aim of Centering Prayer is to give the practitioner the opportunity to practice surrender. The only goal is surrender. The prayer does not aim to get me to a particular state that is deemed desirable. It does not aim to change me or the world around me. But, at the same time, it can never be said of Centering Prayer that “nothing happens.”

Whenever I surrender in this prayer something happens because, in Centering Prayer, I am never surrendering to nothing. I am intending in my prayer practice to surrender to the dynamic living power of love I call God and find revealed in the person of Jesus. Any time I make myself available to the power of Love, my life is changed, my actions are affected and my emotional life reaches a place of depth and strength that informs all my thoughts, words, and actions in daily life.

What do I genuinely believe I am doing when I pray?

What discipline do I have in my life or might I develop that may help me to surrender to the presence and action of God?

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