Q: If I only have about 15 minutes a day to practice Centering Prayer, is this still beneficial?
A: It is wonderful to dedicate some time to resting in God in Centering Prayer every day, no matter how much time you are able to find. If you start with what seems doable, beginning with fifteen minutes a day, that will help you be fully present, rather than fretting that you don’t have enough time. Your heart will hold a space to listen for how you are being called into the practice.
My own guess is that once you begin to practice, your heart will begin to long for longer periods of practice and you will find the time. However, this is really between you and God. Twenty minutes twice a day is generally recommended because most people find that they need twenty minutes to allow themselves to settle and that the last few moments are usually the most restful and quiet of the practice period. But perhaps your own experience will be different. Perhaps God is calling you to keep strong boundaries for your practice for some reason that will become clear to you as you continue.
Just because you’re spending a limited time in the practice, don’t shortchange the four basic guidelines. Don’t be in a hurry with God. It can be extremely helpful and grounding when you sit down to your practice to spend a few moments noticing who God is for you right now, whatever that might mean for you, whether it be a sense of presence, mystery, absence, unknowing, aliveness, awe, joy, doubt, or confusion. As you set your intention to open yourself to God’s action and presence within, your honest sense of the divine will help you feel motivated and energized to enter into deeper relationship with the God of your experience. At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with your eyes closed for a couple of minutes. This is an important transition for bringing the prayer into daily life and will help your practice to bear fruit. You might for example spend a minute settling into your posture and establishing your consent to God’s presence and action within, set your timer for twelve minutes of practice, and then remain in silence for another two minutes after your practice session.
Bask in the gift of spending time with God in this way, resting and listening in sacred space. If you faithfully dedicate these fifteen minutes a day to your practice, your heart will open to where are you are being led.