Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer. Rather, it
adds depth of meaning to all prayer and facilitates the movement from more
active modes of prayer - verbal, mental or affective prayer - into a
receptive prayer of resting in God. Centering Prayer emphasizes prayer as
a personal relationship with God.

At University UMC, our congregation's Centering Prayer group meets on
Sunday mornings at 9:45 to 10: 45 am in Room S201 upstairs in the
Sanctuary building. Each gathering consists of a 20-minute meditation,
contemplative or scripture reading ("lectio divina") or a DVD viewing, and
optional sharing with group members. The method of Centering Prayer we use
can be found in the book "Open Mind, Open Heart" by Thomas Keating.

Keating says, "Once a regular practice of Centering Prayer has been
established, we move normally in each period of prayer toward a place of
rest where our faculties are relatively calm and quiet.  Thoughts are
coming downstream, but as we learn to disregard them, we begin to enjoy a
sense of the divine presence.  Beyond our thinking and emotional
experience is the deeper reality of the spiritual level of our being.  It
is another way of knowing reality that is unlike ordinary psychological
awareness.  As a result, not only is the mind quiet and at rest from the
ordinary concerns of daily life, but the body also begins to rest, a rest
that is deeper than sleep and provides us with profound healing."

The guidelines for Centering Prayer are:
1. Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to
God's presence and action within.
2. Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently
introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God's presence
and action within.
3. When engaged with your thoughts (including body sensations, feelings,
images and reflections), return ever-so-gently to the sacred word.
4. At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for
a couple of minutes.

For more details, email Jan Reed. For information about Centering Prayer,
please visit