How do I practice centering prayer?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,107
    Jesuit Pastoral Minister Rev. Joe McCloskey explains how to practice centering prayer.

    Host: How do I practice centering prayer? Joseph McCloskey: Centering prayer is much established by some Carmelites and they have really developed it pretty well. But that you would get a special word that will become the focus of your prayer, and then it sometimes touches the controlling or breathing, where you -- I think many people look at prayer as the thoughts that they have about God. So they limit themselves when they are praying to just simply thinking about God, but centering prayer allows you to put your whole mind, body, soul, feelings into the prayer and even as you center on a word, it's sort of exhaust the attention of my mind, so that I am free to go as deep as He will let me come. But I can't get into the depths of the centering prayer on my own.

    So it's sort of like surrendering to letting the Lord to run me into Himself, and He at the same time it's a willingness to leave aside for all the words that you use in prayer. I will tell a story of myself, when I tried to switch to those type of prayer,i said, I am not doing enough. So I did my hour of what I call a meditative prayer that you will get into it in another tape. In that hour of meditative prayer, I was working at my prayer. But once I began the centering prayer something different was happening and after I had done this for about a year I guess, maybe not even that long. I suddenly realized, I didn't really need that other form of prayer. I just needed to be with the Lord and to be with the Lord this is like coming alive to who you really are.

    So once you get into the centering prayer, the contemplative prayer, you are stepping over the boundary line that I would call beginners in prayer. Now, you are willing to make your prayer your life. So prayer touches a whole different aspect of the relationship to God. Once you are into centering prayer and contemplative prayer, what you are really doing is allowing God to speak to you. You are not making so much noise that you can't hear the Lord. It's the willingness to let God speak to you by controlling how many things you would be thinking about. So by centering, you will bring all of your energy of your soul to focus on one place. It's like when a person is sacred herding, if someone is doing healing ministry what they are really doing is praying over that one spot.

    That's really what's happening, centering prayer is touching the Lord in special I call it the pinky touch and what I mean by the pinky touch is that if I am touching somebody with my pinky, I am touching all of them or someone is touching my pinky, they are touching all of me and not just my pinky. There is somebody behind that pinky. So the pinky touch is what's this word that you are using to center on, is it's touching all of God in a point of entry.