Centering Prayer – A journey of time and faith

Colleen O’Neill

About a year ago, St. Columba St. Catharines, with the encouragement and relentless support of our Rector William Alakas, created time in our church for silence and holy connection through Centering Prayer (contemplativeoutreach.org). This has become a weekly service, Fridays at 11:00 a.m. without fail. The service is 30 minutes – short, sweet, elegant.

For this, we give thanks and praise to Christ, who is at the centre of all things holy.
Our Centering Prayer service was and is a much-needed addition to our Christian life.

I am sure you have no doubt that a great deal is asked of the devout Christian in 2018. Church life – demanding and complicated. Home life – demanding and complicated.

Often, we just plain run out of time and focus for the important pursuit of having a necessary and vital spiritual life … and yet, God keeps calling, patiently waiting to enrich us “beyond anything we could ask or imagine”.

Although each generation from the time of Christ has had unique challenges to understanding and following Christ, taking time to truly abide (and knowing how!) has always been a challenge. We have always been stumped by spiritual practices that don’t have steps or activities attached. We are much better at doing than being, for sure!

“Take time to turn it all off and simply sit, as best as one can, in the presence of God.”

Christ gave us a simple solution right from the start, if recognized as such. Take time to turn it all off and simply sit, as best as one can, in the presence of God. Make your outer life the intrusion that is gently and compassionately asked to wait by the side.

Create space in the myriad of activities that take up each day to sit in stillness without any agenda.

This is the essence of Centering Prayer. It is a simple method. It is an effective method … and it has been used as a path for creating wholeness in heart and spirit for centuries.

centring prayer
The singing bowl is used as a call for prayer and signals the end of the Centering Prayer session. Photo: Colleen O’Neill

In silence, the Holy Trinity is welcomed into our hearts to heal our lives. The sense of holiness itself in our beautiful sanctuary grows and supports our practice. This is a very powerful few minutes indeed, in which we learn to be gentle and loving with our own selves as we work with a method that creates space for God to enter and live within us.

Here are some comments from long-time congregants:

“Centering Prayer has been a very personal faith-filled time to help recharge my spiritual journey.”

“Centering Prayer for me is calming, mind-clearing and fulfilling. I make 100% effort to be there for each service.”

“I need God everyday. I stumble so along the way and by attending Centering Prayer it gives me a special time with God which helps me to face things that sometimes become overwhelming …”

“Centering Prayer helps me to restore my equilibrium in these difficult times and reminds me that God is real and approachable in the face of doubt and confusion.”

Joining us is your right and our privilege. We have a faithful group that has anchored this service into our weekly schedule with profound steadiness. Come a few minutes early so we can be settled and ready to start.

Colleen O’Neill is a member of St. Columba St. Catharines.