If you are not affiliated with a local Contemplative Outreach chapter, first seek permission from your church pastor or minister to host a Centering Prayer Introductory Program (this program consists of the introductory workshop to Centering prayer and six follow-up sessions). Then, contact the nearest chapter coordinator in your area and collaborate with the coordinator to present the introductory program. If there is not a chapter in your area, contact the regional representative listed for your region to assist in planning the program.
Centering Prayer groups are usually formed following the Introduction to Centering Prayer workshop and follow-up sessions. Participants are invited to form a group that meets weekly or bi-weekly to support one another in their Centering Prayer practice and to share their experience. A facilitator usually guides the group process. A facilitator handbook is available, which provides guidelines for group formats and suggested resource materials for group discussion.
The primary purpose of a Centering Prayer group is to help sustain the commitment to a regular practice of Centering Prayer. Members of a Centering Prayer group gather to practice Centering Prayer together, to deepen their understanding of Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina, and to share personal experiences of the Centering Prayer practice and its effect in their daily lives. The group provides community support for spiritual journey. You may search for a local Centering Prayer group under Community.
In the beginning, it is recommended that you practice Centering Prayer for 20 minutes, twice a day. Early in the morning is best, before the activities of the day begin and then again in late afternoon or in the evening. As your practice stabilizes and your relationship with God deepens, you may feel called to longer periods of prayer. Attending a weekend or multi-day retreat also helps to deepen one’s prayer practice.
Centering Prayer can be learned in several ways. The most common way is by attending a local “Introduction to Centering Prayer” retreat/workshop. These workshops are usually given in a one-day format, with subsequent follow-up sessions to help you establish your daily practice. You can search our online calendar to see if there is a workshop near you.
The symbol representing Contemplative Outreach is called "Job's Redeemer – Patient Waiting." The heart and soul of Centering Prayer is consenting to God's presence and action in our lives. Like Job, our patient waiting and consenting is our gift of gratitude.
The elements of the symbol include:
Organized in 1984, Contemplative Outreach (CO) is a worldwide spiritual community of individuals and small faith groups committed to renewing the contemplative dimension of the Gospel in everyday life. The intent of Contemplative Outreach is to foster the process of transformation in Christ in one another through the practice of Centering Prayer. We present the method of Centering Prayer and its immediate conceptual background (the psychological context) and we encourage and support one another in living out the fruits of Centering Prayer in our daily lives.