Mindfulness Techniques- Centering Prayer

In an earlier post (God is Wise Mind Part 2) , I described the way I thought the word “Praise” as I breathe in and “Jesus” as that I thought as I breathed in and out, Centering Prayer. Centering Prayer is a rote prayer – one that you don’t have to think about- and it can be a wonderful way to calm and quiet yourself and have a mindful connection with God ultimately benefitting your prayer life.
Have you ever tried to pray when you are distracted by the things that are going on around you- or all of the tasks and errands you need to do that day? According to Virginia Leito, Catholic Public Speaker and Inspirational Author, “When we can’t find the right words to communicate our feelings, rote prayers rescue us, and assist us in opening our hearts to the Lord.” She goes on to say that, “rote prayers can speak for me; that God understands my heart; my desires, regardless of how well I articulate them. After my daily prayer time, I am more at peace. Direction will come, in God’s time.”
I agree with Virginia in that being Mindful in the presence of God allows Him to see into our hearts. When Jesus told us to pray in the way of the Lord’s Prayer, I believe He was giving us a framework for prayer, but also specific words if needed to help us communicate.
In the book Jesus Calling, Sarah Young speaks in the Person of Jesus when she describes a state of Mindfulness as the following:
“This is a time in your life when you must learn to let go: of loved ones, of possessions, of control. In order to let go of something that is precious to you. You need to rest in My Presence where you are complete.”
Sarah goes on to describe something that looks a lot like a coping skill:
“Take time to bask in the light of My Love. As you relax more and more, your grasping hand gradually opens up, releasing your prized possession into my care.
You can feel secure even in the midst of cataclysmic changes. Through awareness of My continual Presence. The One who never leaves you is the same One who never changes. “I am the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) As you release more and more things into My care, remember that I never let go of your hand. Herein lies your security, which no one and no circumstance can take from you.”
Prayer, in itself, is a form of mindfulness because we are focused on God for a portion of time. I read an interesting bit of information about how Prayer changes our minds. Andrew Newburg, Professor, explains in his Book How God Changes Your Brain : Your brain actually changes when you enter into a state of Prayer! It alters the brain’s neural network and can even slow the aging process! Not to mention praying reduces stress, anxiety and depression while increasing positive feelings like love and compassion. Andrew has a nice PDF of Neurology and Spirituality on his website that you might like to read The Neurotheology Link
The DBT (Dialectic Behavior Therapy) materials explain that Prayer can be a coping skill when you are distraught, and when we pray, we are “in the moment” with the Lord. Well, that’s precisely how Mindfulness can assist us when praying, because the techniques of Mindfulness help to isolate us with God, regardless what is going on around us or running in our minds.

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