How to Do Centering Prayer
Centering Prayer How To1. Before you begin, choose a sacred word* as a symbol of your intention to consent to the presence and action of God within you.

2. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and begin to settle down. Take a few deep, slow breaths to help you relax and stay loose. Recall your intention to consent to the presence and action of God within you, and then silently introduce your sacred word.

3. When you get caught up in your thoughts*, return ever-so-gently to your sacred symbol.

4. At the end of your prayer time, remain seated and relaxed for a couple of minutes while you slowly open your eyes and begin to move.


*Your sacred  word can be a simple word of one or two syllables or it can be your breath or it can be both. Words like peace, love, joy, trust,  and listen are good. Some prefer breath, life, yes, mercy, God, Jesus, or any word that helps us to let go of our thoughts without creating new thoughts.  If you use your breath, you simply notice that you are breathing in and out without trying to change how you’re breathing.  To use both, you might silently say your sacred word as you breathe in and out.  Whatever we choose becomes your “sacred symbol,” not in a religious way, nor like a mantra used as a concentration technique, but sacred in how it expresses your consent.

*Thoughts refer to any idea, feeling, emotion, memory, physical sensation, image, reflection, plan, opinion, or spiritual experience that comes to awareness.

Some Practical Points

            It is normal and natural for all kinds of thoughts to come.  During the prayer time, let thoughts come and let thoughts go.  When you have trouble letting thoughts go, gently return to your sacred word until the thoughts go by.

            Set aside a time for your practice, twice a day if possible.  Twenty minutes is the goal for a period of Centering Prayer, but do what is feasible. It helps to use a timer as long as the timer is not so loud as to make you jump when it goes off.

            Find a sitting position that is comfortable for you to remain still for 20 minutes.  Whatever position you use, keep the back straight.  For many, it is easier to sit without moving if your back is supported.