Last night Ellen and I watched Tony Campolo on DVD from his Sunday talk at Mission Fest 2009. Just as I was moved at his Friday night talk I was moved in this one on the topic of prayer and missions. Tony spoke of a return to “ancient prayer” models that had been developed and taught in the Catholic stream. Centering prayer has been most helpful to him. In an article for Beliefnet he writes:
Today, some of the most spiritual people I know claim to be without religion.
I relate to their problem. I have experienced an unspoken dissatisfaction with own my spiritual life that has only been allayed over the past few years as my prayer life began to change. Believing the gospel was never a problem for me, but during times of reflection I sensed that believing in Jesus and living out His teachings just wasn’t enough. There was a yearning for something more, and I found that I was increasingly spiritually gratified as I adopted older ways of praying–ways that have largely been ignored by those of us in the Protestant tradition. Counter-Reformation saints like Ignatius of Loyola have become important sources of help as I have begun to learn from them modes of contemplative prayer. I practice what is known as “centering prayer,” in which a sacred word is repeated as a way to be in God’s presence.
If you would like to know more continue reading his article or listen to Thomas Keating teach on the topic. I have found that some songs helpful to me in centering prayer and I have posted, Jesus-be the centre, below. Meeting with Jesus, sitting with Jesus, is often hard for the activist bent I live with. While working on my Dmin, Dr. Nelson said that Baptists must learn to be “active contemplatives.” I’m still learning.
Thomas Keating on Centering Prayer
Jesus, be the center…