Centering Prayer at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church

History

A now-retired St. Ann’s Rector, The Rev. Patricia Conley, during a 2010 homily, suggested cultivating silence in prayer to hear God’s “still small voice.”  So, the parish invited volunteer trainers from Contemplative Outreach Chicago to introduce the methods of Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina at St. Ann’s.  During Lent, 2011, ten people attended a six-week Introduction to Centering Prayer.

How to Participate at St. Ann’s

St. Ann’s Centering Prayer Group meets every Saturday at 9:15am to engage in the practice of Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina.  The session always concludes by 10:20am.  Beginners and guests catch on quickly!  The online parish calendar has the most up-to-date schedule.  For more information, email stanns@stannswoodstock.org.

What is Centering Prayer?

The method of Centering Prayer is drawn from the ancient practices of the Christian contemplative heritage, notably the traditional monastic practice of Lectio Divina and the practices described in the anonymous fourteenth century classic The Cloud of Unknowing and in the writings of Christian mystics such as John Cassian, Francis de Sales, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Therese of Lisieux, and Thomas Merton. Most importantly, Centering Prayer is based on the wisdom saying of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount:  ‘…when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will repay you.’  Matthew 6.6 (New American Bible)”  (From www.contemplativeoutreach.org)

What is Lectio Divina?

Lectio Divina, literally meaning “divine reading,” is an ancient practice of praying the Scriptures. During Lectio Divina, the practitioner listens to the text of the Bible with the “ear of the heart,” as if he or she is in conversation with God, and God is suggesting the topics for discussion. The method of Lectio Divina includes moments of reading (lectio), reflecting on (meditatio), responding to (oratio) and resting in (contemplatio) the Word of God with the aim of nourishing and deepening one’s relationship with the Divine.”  (From www.contemplativeoutreach.org)