Centering Prayer is a method of prayer to open one to the gift of Contemplation. Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer, rather it casts a new light and depth of meaning on your usual methods of connecting with God. It is at the same time a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship, moving one beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Him. Centering Prayer teaches one to let go of distractions and just "be" in God's presence, beyond words and thoughts. The method of Centering Prayer is based on Matthew 6:6, "When you pray, go to your inner room and pray to your Father in secret. And, your Father who sees in secret, will repay you."
For more information on Centering Prayer, visit the international website of Contemplative Outreach (http://www.contemplativeoutreach.org/), an organization formed to support those in this ancient prayer method at Contemplative Outreach of Tampa Bay (http://www.centeringprayertampabay.com/).
St. Matthew parish is blessed to have had a Centering Prayer support group for many years. The group meets every Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.. Meetings include two twenty minute periods of Centering Prayer, a video tape by Fr. Thomas Keating, a Trappist monk, and discussion. All are welcome to come, however it is best to have some instruction in the prayer first. The contact person for these Wednesday evening meetings is Mary Sweeney, phone 727-546-0500, and instruction would gladly be given before the meeting time.