Contributed by board member, The Rev. Dr. Richard Bardusch
I have been struggling with how it is that prayer changes who we are. I have found that Centering Prayer makes me not only calmer, but more contented as well. But why is this so? Why does simply sitting and listening to God bread down my walls and make me more compassionate? I am not sure I am going to be able to offer an explanation—I will leave that to those more knowledgeable than I about these things—but I will offer a testimony.
Unlike the type of prayer where we tell God things he already knows, or ask for things we want, simply sitting and listening has a cumulative, long term effect that is decidedly virtuous. By virtuous I mean it doesn’t just make me a higher functioning person, but rather it leads me to actual Christian goals like compassion, patience, and kindness.
Interestingly, I have also discovered that Centering Prayer reveals truth in a manner that is unique to itself. It provides its own revelation. When I read Scripture I find the practice of Centering Prayer has put me in a place of greater openness and a greater expansiveness to possibility and reality. When I read Scripture new meanings are there that I have not seen in the past without this practice of prayer.
Because Centering Prayer strengthens my relationship to Jesus, I find Jesus literally enlightening my relationship to reality. It is as though by connecting to the divine in prayer, the divine reveals more fully my connection to everything else. I guess that makes sense as everything is created by the divine, and the divine undergirds the existence of everything. It kind of blows my mind sometimes.
I encourage you to stop and listen. It is a very simple practice that enables us to see and hear.