Centering Prayer and The Chipped Cup


Have you ever experienced a time in your life when you felt emotional darkness, unsure if you would ever see light again? A single phone call from my distraught niece about my sister’s health and the events that followed threw my life into a dark emotional abyss. I was submerged in unbearable grief.  I managed to survive this traumatic time in my life because I responded to a prompting from God to attend a Centering Prayer group.

No one was able to comfort me. My emotions were raw and intense. The only time I felt a glimmer of peace was when I attended Mass even though I could not make it through a service without tears. Outwardly, I appeared fine but inwardly I was in deep emotional and mental distress. In my church bulletin, I read about a workshop offered on the Centering Prayer practice. It described Centering Prayer as a silent, healing, therapeutic prayer, so I felt compelled to attend. I always knew God loved me but it was through the practice of Centering Prayer that I came to fully feel God’s presence and love. It was the start of a transformation for me.

After the workshop, our Centering Prayer group emerged. I seriously doubted the need for a prayer group and thought I could just do the prayer on my own; however the fellowship from the Centering Prayer Group played a crucial role in healing my soul. At first, I felt intimidated by my insecurities to even speak at our Centering Prayer group sessions. My confidence grew as I felt the safety and friendship of the group. When I offered to do the opening prayer for one of the prayer sessions, I wrote my own prayer and found the courage to read it to the group. This was my prayer:

No Words Are Needed

As I hold my child in my arms,

Our relationship and connections deepen.

No words are needed.

Safety, trust and security are felt in my loving arms.

Unconditional love grows with each embrace.

No words are needed.

To center is to allow myself to rest in the loving arms of God.

To be in the presence of the One who loves me the most.

No words are needed.

Just to relax and rest in his arms.

Just to be still.

Just to be silent.

Just to be one with God

Just as my children are at the center of my heart and soul,

We, as children of God, are at his center.

No words are needed.

After the Centering Prayer session, the facilitator of our prayer group encouraged me to submit the prayer, No Word Are Needed, to the Contemplative Outreach newsletter, which was then published in 2013. This fueled my desire to continue to write.

As I continued the practice of Centering Prayer, I started to feel grounded. Peace entered my fragile mind releasing the tightening grip from the invisible chains of my fear and anxiety. My life was transforming as I now knew my old life was gone but my new life through Christ was blossoming. I became like a sponge and wanted to absorb more. I read books, attended classes and retreats and listened to contemporary Christian music. The lyrics in the songs became direct messages from God bringing me hope and encouragement.  God became my closest friend. I knew no one could fully understand my pain because it was unique to me but I knew God would be my ultimate comforter.  Through Centering Prayer, my connection with God evolved as our spiritual relationship grew deeper. I could feel God’s presence and calm in me and was attuned to where the Holy Spirit was moving me.

It was always in the silence when my thoughts would arise, enhanced by the power of Centering Prayer. The thoughts would linger with me throughout the day until it was necessary for me to express these thoughts in writing. It is very difficult to express how Centering Prayer changed me. I felt like clay and the practice of Centering prayer continued to mold me into a better version of myself. I was beginning to trust to put aside my fears, insecurities and vulnerabilities to share my written and verbal testimony with others.

Once again with the encouragement of my Center Prayer facilitator and support from our group, I shared my testimony of this traumatic time in my life at one of our yearly retreats. The theme of our retreat was based on Joyce Rupp’s book, The Cup of Our Life. The beginning of the retreat was focused on the empty cup, arriving at the retreat empty and open to receiving God. The last part of the retreat was focused on the full cup, leaving the retreat filled with God’s love. My portion of the retreat focused on the chipped cup, based on this difficult time in my life and how my relationship with God deepened.  It was through the practice of Centering Prayer that God took my chipped, empty cup  and filled it and restored me.

I wanted to share my journey with others and how Centering Prayer brought me closer to God during this challenging time in my life. I have often said that Centering Prayer saved my life, as it brought me through the times when I was on the verge of an emotional breakdown. I could feel God with me holding me in the darkness and bringing me comfort. My book, The Chipped Cup, records this journey of my struggle and God’s action in my life. I have written this book with the intention of bringing hope and encouragement to others.

Kate Lynn Winters
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

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