Introduction to Centering Prayer

For those new to Centering Prayer, local Contemplative Outreach chapters offer an Introduction to Centering Prayer program that has two parts: an Introductory Workshop and four to six Continuing Sessions. To schedule an Introductory Program, contact Contemplative Outreach or one of the local chapters. For the Northeast Ohio chapter, please contact us here.

Introductory Workshop

The Introductory Workshop familiarizes participants with the method of Centering Prayer and its conceptual background, and offers two opportunities to experience the prayer. The workshop consists of four presentations led by presenters that have been commissioned by Contemplative Outreach.

  1. Prayer as Relationship
  2. The Method of Centering Prayer
  3. Thoughts and the Use of the Sacred Word
  4. Deepening our Relationship with God

Continuing Sessions

Following the Introductory Workshop, participants are invited to attend four to six Continuing Sessions, which provide support, more background and the time needed to establish a personal Centering Prayer practice. The Sessions also include the opportunity to share the initial Centering Prayer experience with others who have made a similar commitment. Each Continuing Session is led by an experienced facilitator and includes a period of Centering Prayer and group discussion. The Workshop presenter will offer details regarding the Continuing Sessions. Scheduling of the Continuing Sessions is flexible and can be arranged to fit the convenience of group members. Sessions can be convened on a weekly basis, on a weekend or in one or two day retreats when distance and logistics make it difficult to meet weekly.

Resources for the Continuing Sessions

Contemplative Outreach offers many wonderful resources that introduce Centering Prayer and the Christian contemplative heritage. The following examples may be used by your local chapter for the Continuing Sessions. These resources can be purchased at the Contemplative Outreach Online Store.

DVDs

  • Centering Prayer: A Training Course for Opening to the Presence of God.This program provides all the instruction and support to learn and begin a Centering Prayer practice, including six DVDs, two audio CDs, 25 prayer cards, and a 91 page workbook of Centering Prayer training and wisdom from Fr. Thomas Keating, Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler, and Fr. Carl Arico. Produced by Sounds True.
  • Invitation from God. Beautifully filmed, this is a wonderful introduction to contemplation. The conversation between the film director and Fr. Thomas and the beauty of the silent images express what the contemplative life is all about.
  • The Contemplative Dimension of 12 Steps. This DVD set presents Centering Prayer as a means to practice the 11th step. It includes Fr.Thomas Keating teaching Centering Prayer to a 12-step audience, a teaching he calls, “The Human Condition,” and many spiritual practices that are helpful in 12-step recovery.

Books

  • Open Mind, Open Heart by Fr. Thomas Keating This book is widely regarded as the basic text of Centering Prayer, written by one of its principal founders.
  • Forty Days to a Closer Walk with God by J. David Muyskens The author offers insightful guidance about this simple prayer practice that can lead to communion with God. This book can be used in combination with one of the Centering Prayer DVD programs. J. David Muyskens is a retired minister of the Reformed Church in America.

Participating in a Centering Prayer Group

At the conclusion of the Continuing Sessions, participants are strongly encouraged to start a new Centering Prayer group or join an existing one. These prayer groups support and encourage a daily prayer practice. They provide an opportunity for Centering Prayer in a group setting and offer further enrichment for the contemplative spiritual journey. Centering Prayer groups usually meet on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Chapters of Contemplative Outreach can be found on the Contemplative Outreach site. Groups in the Northeast Ohio chapter are listed on our website on the CONEO Groups tab.

Download a Flyer

Click here to open and save a 2-page PDF file about the Introduction to Centering Prayer program.