A community of stillness

A community of stillness

By Malcolm McKinlay

Are you being called to silence?

There are some for whom a discipline of silent prayer comes easily. For others like me who have restless, incessantly chattering minds, practicing silent prayer in community is a tremendous blessing.

Every Tuesday evening for the last year, a small group has been meeting at the Lutheran church in Geneva to practice centering prayer together.

Centering prayer traces its lineage from the Desert Fathers and Mothers, through the mystical traditions of the middle ages (a good example is ‘The Cloud of Unknowing’ from the 14th century), to modern figures like Father Thomas Keating , a Trappist monk and priest who has committed himself to practicing and promoting centering prayer since the 1970s.

The path of centering prayer is less about placing your petitions and requests before God, and more about learning to place oneself in silence before the transforming presence and love of God.

Typically on any Tuesday evening, there are 3-5 of us present (and others who practice at the same time at home). We meet at 6pm for a 6.15pm start. Our rhythm is to sit in a circle, each sharing in one or two words, ‘how we come’. The leader then reads a short prayer or meditation or scripture, and then we practice in silence for 20 minutes.

At the end of 20 minutes, we say the Lord’s Prayer together. And as we come out of the silence, we have a chat before farewelling each other for another week.

If you are interested in joining us or learning more about centering prayer, contact Monica McKinlay at www.listeningpresence.org.