If you're like me, you have difficulty praying - especially praying extemporaneously, or when something extremely emotional or painful is the topic of prayer. If you're like me, you're also probably hesitant to tell other Christians you're having difficulty praying. Maybe it's just me, but I sometimes feel like some other brothers and sisters treat prayer almost like a competition. But I've always fumbled over my words in prayer, usually just ending up more frustrated than when I started, or uttering those "groans and moans" only the Spirit through you can utter.
Since becoming an Episcopalian, I have found the daily offices of the Book of Common Prayer to be extremely helpful. It is a wonderful experience to pray along with others in the worldwide Anglican (and other liturgical) communion(s) of faith. And in a very real way, praying the daily offices is also praying along with the great cloud of witnesses throughout history. But there are still those times when I desire a more personal "conversation" with God, a more intimate union that acknowledges my own, individual depth and need. And this is where centering prayer comes into play.
Centering Prayer is an amazingly simple, yet profound, way of entering into communion with God. Books have been written on the subject. Organizations exist which lead workshops in the methodology. Small groups meet all around the world to practice centering prayer together. All these resources are wonderful, but if you want to get started on your own, or don't have the ability or resources to purchase the books, attend a workshop, or join a meeting, centering prayer is as easy as following the steps below:
It almost seems too simple, but that's just because we tend to want to complicate matters. This simple method of prayer allows our own wills, our own desires and interfering thoughts, to take a back seat to the voice of God and to the working of the Spirit within our hearts. Centering prayer does not take the place of other types of prayer, but it is a wonderful addition to one's prayer life. Give it a try!