By Pastor Mark Jordan
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Philippians 4:6-7, MSG)
I love today’s passage, especially in The Message Version. It’s one I go to regularly when I’m feeling “off balance.” As I mentioned in the 11:00am contemporary worship service this past week at Trinity at The Well, I have been incorporating a sort of centering prayer recently. I started asking God to help center me before preaching and teaching, but also began incorporating it into my prayers before meals, exercise, etc. Asking God for help centering me has paid huge dividends so far. Don’t get me wrong…it isn’t a secret formula, or anything of the sort, but identifying the need and asking for a specific kind of help.
Centering prayer is based on the ancient practice of contemplative prayer. Thomas Merton, in his book Contemplative Prayer, wrote that this kind of prayer “begins with a return to the heart, finding one’s deepest center, awakening the profound depths of our being.”
For me, my approach to centering prayer has been quite simple. I ask God to help me quiet the noise in my inner and outer world so I can center whatever it is I’m about to do so I may do it in God’s power and not my own. I offer it to you as an idea if you need a new or different approach to prayer. Give it a try, and see what God might do if you put Jesus at the center of your life.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I so frequently feel off-balance, and try to regain that balance in people, places, or things that aren’t you. Forgive me. I ask for your help to center me so whatever it is I must do, I do it in, for, by, and through your holy power. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.