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Be Still and Know that I am God
“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10). It was a verse I had long been familiar with, but what in the world did it mean? I had no idea how to be still! My mind was always in one of two places – regretting the past, or worrying and fretting about the future. The concept of being still and simply consenting to God’s presence and action within me was a foreign one.
Then, several years ago, a one day workshop on Centering Prayer was being offered. I had heard of it, and was intrigued by it. I knew that it was similar to meditation (which I had tried in the past and never been able to do for more than 30 seconds) and I liked the fact that it was Christian based. I knew that I needed a way to try to live my life more fully in the present moment and with more gratitude, so I attended it. I then read Father Thomas Keating’s primer Open Mind, Open Heart, and started trying to practice the 20 minutes of prayer twice a day.
Fast forward four years. It is an integral part of my life now. I don’t do it perfectly – my goal is to center twice a day, but sometimes I make it one time a day and sometimes not at all. I try to go to extended intensive retreats several times a year which really helps. As Father Keating promises, the benefits of it will come not during the 20 minutes of silence itself, but in the in-between, every day, and ordinary life time. I’ve noticed little things like I raise my voice at my children less often (or perhaps less loudly…). I am able to let things go better than I once could. I still get agitated, and fret and worry and regret, but much, much, much less than when I started. This, for me, has been nothing short of miraculous.
Our Centering Prayer group meets every Wednesday evening at 6:00 in the little prayer room right down from Lucy Turner’s office. Newcomers are always encouraged and welcomed. I hope you will consider joining us for what Father Keating calls “this profound form of prayer that Jesus suggests in Matthew 6:6: ‘If you want to pray, enter your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.’ ”