Contemplative prayer in a nutshell

This video presents a 25 minute summary of the centering prayer practice, a form of Christian meditation or “contemplative prayer” modernized by Fr. Thomas Keating from early Christian practices.

We discuss how contemplative prayer is the deepest form of “loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” as Jesus taught. It doesn’t replace verbal prayer, and it doesn’t eliminate the need for thinking thoughts about God or understanding concepts about the faith. It doesn’t obviate praise. But it goes far deeper than the mind, body and soul. It is loving God from the heart – at the deepest level of our being. It accesses the depth of our spiritual nature where God resides, and where our true self abides with Christ.

It takes us to the centre, to God’s Presence, and it teaches us how to live there.

In this January 9, 2023 video recording (from a weekly session of a group that meets for teaching and practice of centering prayer), we cover the whole gamut:

  • How to practice centering prayer
  • What happens during the meditation sessions
  • How to respond to distractions
  • What to expect as God “steps in”
  • How it fits into a broader life of prayer and loving God
  • How it integrate with a lifestyle that seeks to live with Presence

In this video I share my experience. Several other videos on website cover the theological background and scriptural basis for centering prayer, so little of that is covered here.

5 thoughts on “Contemplative prayer in a nutshell

  1. Love this! Thank you for sharing ♥️ miss the Gerhard’s and look forward to the next time we share a meal 😍

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  2. So good, brother!!

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    Craig Castleman Greene, MD, MBA

    Orthopaedic Surgery

    Traumatology & Sports Medicine

    LSUHSC Orthopaedics

    Assistant Clinical Professor

     

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  3. What a great intro! Glad you have a group going. Looks like I will be starting one up with a friend in Kalamazoo in a couple months. We will be doing centering prayer, Ignatian Examen, and a mix of other things like lectio divina or embodiment practices. It should be good.

    Jim

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    1. Wow that sounds amazing. I’m keen to hear more

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      1. We will start with centering prayer and some added instruction each time. We will finish with the Ignatian Examen which is a daily reflective practice on God’s presence in one’s life. One usually considers a pair of questions, like (1) When was I most aware of God in my midst today? and (2) When was I most distant from that awareness? It was a wonderful practice for the group last time because people really opened up. It moved the group from being mainly a prayer group to being a real faith sharing group. (There are good books like “Reimagining the Ignatian Examen.”) And for the middle segment we anticipate doing a variety of things. That will include some lectio divina, some embodiment practices, and who knows what else. The embodiment practices will involve sensory awareness or feeling the body from the inside. That can be paired with prayerful gestures to cultivate stillness in the mind with simultaneous awareness of feeling and grounded sensation in the body. It’s a wonderful journey.

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