You may be unfamiliar with the practice of Centering Prayer. It is very similar to meditation, but rather than focusing on emptying our mind in the stillness, Centering Prayer brings our relationship with God to the center of our inner stillness.
As a recovering addict, I have found centering prayer quite helpful especially in time of stress, when dealing with triggers and so forth. It is a valuable practice for any one interested in pursuing a more contemplative lifestyle.
I encourage you to take a few minutes and watch this excellent introduction to the contemplative practice of Centering Prayer. Father Keating is wonderful to watch and listen to. I hope you will be as blessed by his teaching as I have.
Father Thomas Keating, the founder of the Centering Prayer movement, is an author, teacher and monk who has worked for many years to foster understanding among the world’s religion. A member of the Cistercian Order in the Benedictine tradition, Father Keating lives at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado.
In a conversation with Tom S., a long-time member of AA, Father Thomas talks about surrendering to one’s Higher Power and the journey that must be undertaken for the healing of the soul to begin. Father Thomas reflects on the wisdom and legacy of the Alcoholic Anonymous Twelve Step Method and its similarities with the Christian mystical traditions of centering prayer and Lectio Divina.
Thomas Keating is the founder of the Centering Prayer movement, an author, teacher and monk who has worked for many years to foster understanding among the world’s religions. He is a member of the Cistercian Order in the Benedictine tradition and lives at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado.
Working the Traditional 12 Steps and the Eight Principles of Celebrate Recovery
In THE ROAD TO RECOVERY column along with working the traditional 12 Steps of Recovery we are working the Eight Principles of Celebrate Recovery that are based on The Beatitudes of Jesus. Our steps align with the monthly calendar.
STEP 7: We humbly asked God to remove all our shortcomings.
“If we confess or sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” ~ 1 John 1:9
PRINCIPLE FIVE (Celebrate Recovery): Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.
“Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.” ~ Matthew 5:6
This leg of our recovery journey continues to be challenging. In Step Four we examined ourself through our moral and spiritual inventory. Step Five required the discipline of confession to a trusted friend or mentor. With Step Six came a time of repentance followed now by Step Seven and the purification of our character.
Having become willing to yield our defects to God we now must bow humbly before our creator in the hopes that He will see fit to remove them. It’s important not to confuse humility with the humiliation that we may be very familiar with as recovering addicts. God doesn’t want to shame us, He only wants us to submit ourselves to His way for our life.
Three reasons we need humility:
We need humility to recognize the severity of our character defects. Without it we may minimize the pain they cause to ourselves and others.
We need humility to acknowledge the limits of our humanity. We can’t remove these character defects with our intellect or willpower.
We need humility to appreciate that it’s only God’s mighty power that can transform our life.
Our goal at the end of this step is to find peace with ourselves.
When we go to God we must bring our inventory list and be specific in our prayer. It can be painful and difficult going through this list of wrongs again. Our stinking thinking may tell us we’re not worthy of the growth and progress we’re making. But if we come with the right attitude God will honor our efforts.
Father God, thank you for helping me become willing to be molded into who you want me to be. I pray that you would remove every defect of character that stands in the way of my being useful to your work. Give me the strength I need to go on from here. I pray this in the precious name of Jesus Christ. Amen
If you can’t see the video screen below CLICK HERE for our Road to Recovery theme song.
RESOURCES: Celebrate Recovery Bible Celebrate Recovery Leader’s Guide Life Recovery Bible Life Recovery Devotional The Twelve Steps for Christians Prayers for the Twelve Steps-A Spiritual Journey Serenity: A Companion for Twelve Step Recovery Recovery: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice
There are times in life when you know God is calling you to start or stop something. You ignore it. Time goes by but you’re still constantly reminded of your disobedience.
When the Holy Spirit convicts our heart to make a change in some area we must not procrastinate! Waiting to make the needed change only gets harder the longer we wait.
God sees the bigger picture and knows the best time for us to do things. The problem is we think the way things are today is how they will be tomorrow, next week, next month or even next year. But God knows what is coming around the corner and whether the situations will be more conducive to make the needed changes.
A few years ago, God called me to stop a bad habit. He spoke in my spirit that it wasn’t going to get any easier if I waited. I was faithful to the required abstinence for about 3 months and then I allowed the habit to creep back in. Over the next two years the habit was in full force and I couldn’t make it through most days without giving in to its hold on my life.
In March of 2016 God showed up again with a not so gentle command to give it up for good and if I didn’t my health was going to be effected in a negative way. Sadly, this season of life is much more stressful than years ago when God first wanted me to quit my bad habit. I’m paying a stiff penalty of ‘should have’ for my disobedience.
Why the stiff penalty? Doesn’t God love us? Once we made the decision to let God into our lives His recreating force went to work. It’s precisely because God loves us and wants us to be pure that we can’t escape the regular examinations of our life by the Holy Spirit. Life won’t get any easier if we continue to put things off that we’re being convicted to do.
Let’s do now what we know we will have to do some day.
Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seriously struggled with unbelief. For some reason in this season of life I have strong faith that God can change external situations: relationships, living conditions, etc… But I have doubts when it comes to the complete change of my own emotional and physical weaknesses. In my readings today I’m encouraged to let go of my emotional crutches for happiness. Through prayer and meditation I can reduce the obstacles I’ve set up against God’s presence in my innermost being. In this way I will come closer to peace and healing. RESOURCES: Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr Divine Therapy and Addiction: Centering Prayer and the Twelve Steps by Thomas Keating Image credit: / 123RF Stock Photo
It’s always exciting when I discover a book that has fresh concepts and approaches to the subject of addiction recovery. Breathing Under Water by Richard Rohr is just that and more.
I’ve been using this book in my own recovery walk for over a year now. With every chapter I get new insights that help me get up and take my daily baby steps again. Though himself not a recovering addict, Fr. Rohr has a sweet way of lining up our hurts and issues with the spirituality and healing we all long for. Breathing Under Water, like all of Richard Rohr’s books, is beautifully written and is one of my favorite books. I highly recommend this book to anyone who struggles with addiction of any type.
If we're not grounded life circumstances can set us up for a fall!
Life has a way of showing up with circumstances that can set us up for a fall. If we aren’t centered and grounded at that time we may be subjected to the consequences that prevail.
Not long ago I found myself in a position that could have set me back ten years in my recovery. At the night’s end I was in tears. Painful feelings I hadn’t felt in many years washed over my body, mind and soul. I was overcome with sadness, desperately grieving desires I could no longer fulfill. It was all I could do to remain thankful and content with where God had placed me in this season of life. I was quickly reminded to tighten my guard and to hold steady to the answer for my hope!
But have reverence for Christ in your hearts, and honor him as Lord. Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you. ~ I Peter 3:15 GNT
A new year rolled in with a sore reminder of my human powerlessness.
Step 1: We admitted that we were powerless over our dependencies–that our lives had become unmanageable.
I think about how many times I’ve complained about maintaining this body of mine. Then God gently says in my spirit they if I weren’t alive I wouldn’t need to care for it at all.
This is the same with our weaknesses of character. It is a huge pain to deal with – but what’s the alternative as long as we are breathing? As humans we are going to fail over and over again. The answer, of course, comes only by turning our weaknesses over to Him.
For when I am weak then I am made strong. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:10
If enough time goes by we often forget the pain and repeat the behavior.
All of us make mistakes. We hope to learn from our failures and not repeat them. Unfortunately, for most of us this isn’t the case. We seem doomed to go round and round our mountains until we’ve worn a deep trench that resembles a castle moat.
It dawned on me one day that we have pain memory but it doesn’t seem to last very long. We remember when we touched that hot stove not to do it again.
Why can’t we remember emotional pain causing events? What about bad habits that we allow to creep back in and again cause us the same old pain from before.
Scripture likens humans to sheep, who are very dumb animals, cute but dumb. If the sheep didn’t have their shepherd to follow they would literally walk off the cliff. The leader would start off the cliff and the others would follow. Now that’s dumb. Sound familiar? We may see someone doing something that looks like fun and follow them only to find a cliff edge waiting. Forget about following others. We can follow our own nose right off the cliff. An important difference between humans and other animals is our ability to make conscious choices. Just following our sensory perceptions: sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing; can easily get us into trouble. But if we can be more aware in the moment, making conscious choices, we will be better off. The problem is we are dumb sheep and get distracted easily. Before we know it we are at that cliff edge again.
The key is in who and what we are following. This is a daily, hourly, even momentary discipline that must be intentionally practiced. Who / What am I following today?