Pillar Journal
- A seasonal journal produced by Pillar Church in Holland, MI to guide us through the Christian year.

Centering Prayer


Centering Prayer is an ancient Christian practice that helps us move toward a posture/practice of being centered in God.
The following reflection is borrowed from “The Praying Church Idea Book” by Douglas Kamstra.

Let it be a guide and encouragement to your own prayer practice this Lent!

Centering prayer is an attempt to eliminate the “outside noises” (lawns being mowed, children talking in the background, breakfast being prepared in the kitchen) and the “inside noises” (thoughts about things that didn’t get done, plans for tomorrow, things we said or shouldn’t have said). Before we can effectively listen for God, we must put away the distractions. Centering prayer helps us focus on where we are and who we are— what the devotional masters often call “recollection.” (The Quakers know this process as “centering down.”) Centering prayer cultivates a receptiveness to the quiet whisperings of God. As we listen with our whole being—heart, mind, soul, and strength we place God at the center so that our whole, undistracted being focuses on him. Centering prayer usually involves focusing on a “sacred word” such as a name or attribute of God and repeating it over and over very slowly. After settling into a quiet place, say the word as an invitation to God’s presence. Whenever distracting thoughts enter your mind, repeat the word in order to refocus your thoughts. End the prayer with two or three minutes of additional silence.

Richard Foster talks about a simple focusing exercise he calls “palms down, palms up.” To begin this exercise, place your palms down as a symbol of your desire to release all your concerns to God. Inwardly you may pray, “Lord, I give you my anger toward Bob. I surrender my anxiety over not having enough money to pay the bills this month. I release my frustration with my daughter this afternoon.” After several moments of surrender, turn your palms up as a symbol of your desire to receive from the Lord, Pray silently, “Lord, I would like to receive your divine love for Bob, your peace about my finances, your patience with my daughter.” Having “centered down,” spend the remaining moments in complete silence.

From The Praying Church Idea Book
Published by Faith Alive Christian Resources