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Undivided Attention

“The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Romans 8: 34, 35 MSG

If you are a parent of small kids or have ever been responsible for little ones you know how difficult it is to find peace and quiet. Perhaps as you’ve been praying this Lenten season you’ve been interrupted a time or two by a small child. Perhaps someone else such as a spouse, a pet, or a phone call has interrupted your contemplative time with God.  Interruptions can frustrate our desire to accomplish something in prayer. Depending how we “see” interruptions they can serve to separate us from God’s love or to deepen our awareness of God’s love.
 
What ever those interruptions are, imagine Jesus saying, “allow the little children to come to me.” One method to discipline ourselves to accept such interruptions is called Centering Prayer.
 
First, prepare for Centering Prayer by re-reading the scripture passage above and choosing a sacred word as a symbol of your intention, as a “door” to open for the Lord (such as Christ, love, or what ever the Spirit brings to mind). It is a way of being here for God, practicing the presence of God, acknowledging the distractions, and remaining open for God to do a new thing in and through you. Once you have that word or image, here are some steps to practicing centering prayer: 

  1. Choose a quiet place and set a timer for 10 minutes.
  2. Be present. Consent to God’s presence and action within you. Sit comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly, and let go of the effort of managing your thoughts. Offer this to God. 
  3. Take up your “sacred word” and let it be gently present, supporting your being to/with God.
  4. Whenever you are interrupted or become aware of anything, simply and gently return to the Lord with the use of your prayer word.
  5. When the timer goes off, let the Lord’s Prayer or some other prayer send you into your day.