Monday, July 25, 2016
Centering Prayer Ministry
Lori Sundberg Reflects on the Ministry
of Centering Prayer
The experience I wish to share with you today is about hearing and following a call. What I have felt called to do is to show up here every week for an hour all year long, for 15 years, to make a space for myself and others, within the church, to pray without words. Some weeks I show up and no one else is there. It doesn’t matter. I still do this.
My path began in my 20s when I felt a call to silence. Meditation at the time seemed exotic and outside religion. Then I shared an apartment with a friend who is Quaker and I learned about the use of silence in a Christian context. Continuing my slow path, now in my mid 30s, I found a book that, for me, reconciled my need to recognize meditation as prayer. I started practicing at home. I found an organization online and a mentor locally. I got Ron Miller to come out and talk about meditation as prayer. Then I asked permission to start a group at the church.
The word “inspiration” has a lot more energy and immediacy in it than what I am describing. For me, there was a call. It was quiet but it did not go away. There was a force like gravity that pulled lightly but insistently. There was a path that evolved in front of me.
Centering prayer does not have outcomes you can point to — like feeding the hungry or housing the homeless or evangelizing. The purpose of my call is still somewhat mysterious to me. For years, I thought evidence of the truth of my call would be in increasing attendance. Now, I am somewhat satisfied that existence is value enough. We have a very active church. The existence of a centering prayer group, and now a beautiful spirituality room, is a counterweight to our need to always be busy and always prove ourselves worthy through our works or our words.
If you want to be inspired, sometimes you need to listen with your heart. Slow down enough to feel the gentle pull that is setting a direction for you. Walk the path in front of you and trust you are in God’s hands.