Relaxes Muscles and Centering Prayer

by Joan C Webb on November 3, 2011

TIME-busy working womanSome of us race through the day, then hurry home to more projects and pressures. When our internal motors rev up, we have a hard time turning them off. ┬áSleep may elude us because our racing mental engines won’t slow down. Our heavenly Father knew we might have a tendency to hurry through life and miss the silent joy, so He said, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Current scientific research agrees that quieting the mind and body can calm the sympathetic nervous system, cause heart rate and blood pressure to drop, and tense muscles to relax. Redford Williams, M.D., director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Duke University, says, “Withdrawing from problems and calming your mind can calm the body, blunting the adrenaline surge.”

Joan praying by creek Sedona trip May 30-31 2009I want that–to untie the knots in my muscles. But even more I want to know God–and just sit still with Him. I think Centering Prayer (CP) might be a way to experience both of my desires. I’ve enjoyed CP before, but lately… Well, let’s just say, “Not so much.”

As I contemplate my dreams for this next year, I want Centering Prayer to be a part. Do you want to join me? If like me, you’re interested in living a calmer life in the midst of our culture’s maxed-out reality, click and read this CP information/explanation–and tell me what you think.

I sense God encouraging me to work less, relax more, and reach out with love. I know it will be an imperfect process, but I’m committed to it. How about you?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Joan C. Webb November 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Hi All! Well, perhaps I was a little too relaxed when I wrote this blog!! Just kidding. But I do see that I had wanted the title to be “Relaxed Muscles and Centering Prayer” instead of “Relaxes Muscles and Centering Prayer.” The “editing” feature of this blog isn’t fixed yet! Soooo, the mistake remains as a vivid reminder that 100% 24/7 perfection is not possible from a human being (and that would be me!) Have a good weekend, Folks!

tentmaker November 7, 2011 at 4:19 am

i’ve never heared of this prayer before. i tried and i felt funny :) it is very hard to sit still for 20 minutes and not to think.

John Arnold November 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Your comment, “I’ve enjoyed CP before, but well lately…not so much” hit me right between the eyes. CP in the past was a formative discipline for me. Last year during Lent I decided to revisit the discipline daily and struggled pretty much through the entire season. I wrote a post about my struggle in my blog called “The wrestling match in my closet.” Here is the link: . I am wondering if what I express in that article is what you are meaning by “not so much.” Let me know.

@tentmaker, Most people struggle a bit with CP when they first start out. The key is to practice for a ‘season’, meaning a period of time long enough for you to get comfortable with the method and being still. Also, don’t judge CP off of the experience of the prayer time, but rather instead how it begins to shape you in your daily life. For example, do you find yourself responding to people with more patience.

Joan C. Webb November 8, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Hi Tentmaker! Yes, I agree with John. “Most people struggle a bit…” with the practice of Centering Prayer. Starting it for the first time is unfamiliar and often what is unfamiliar is also uncomfortable. You might try CP little by little. Just do it for five minutes for several different times. You don’t have to be perfect. When you’re mind/thoughts wander off, just gently come back to the prayer. No judgment or self-recrimination. Also, John has a point about the experience itself. Over time, it positively effects a person’s regular day and interactions.
It’s up to you. If you want to try it little by little, you can. If not, that’s okay, too. :-)

Joan C. Webb November 8, 2011 at 8:27 pm

John, my simple answer to your Q is YES! Thanks for inviting me over to your blog. I identified with Mr. O, The Phantom, Renegade of Restlessness and Open Loops! And I left a comment on your blog. Thanks for stopping by. I”m really glad you did!

tentmaker November 9, 2011 at 10:10 am

thank you John and Joan :) i tried again and i fell asleep cos i was tired.
but how can you see how this prayer shapes the rest of your day? i mean, there are many different things that shape your day anyway…

Joan C. Webb November 9, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Hi Tentmaker! Yes, falling asleep happened. Perhaps you are extra tired. :-)

And I think it might be clearer to say that Centering Prayers shapes the personal reactions that a person has to his/her day. It transforms your responses to life and can reduce the overly-anxious reactions. Does that make any sense?

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