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Centering Prayer: Renewing an Ancient Christian Prayer Form [Paperback]

By Basil Pennington (Author)
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Item description for Centering Prayer: Renewing an Ancient Christian Prayer Form by Basil Pennington...

A book that combines the best of Eastern Christian spiritual exercises with a spirituality for the world of today, Centering Prayer offers practical suggestions for overcoming the problems that discourage people from praying well.

Publishers Description

The practice of prayer and meditation in modern Western Christianity is rooted in the Eastern tradition of early Church prayer as well as the wisdom of early Church fathers. In "Centering Prayer," M. Basil Pennington, the author of the highly acclaimed "Daily We Touch Him," returns to these roots, offering contemporary Christians a new approach to ancient prayer forms.
Pennington combines the best of the Eastern spiritual exercises (such as the Jesus Prayer) with a spirituality for today's world. Addressing the obstacles that discourage people from praying well, he explains how to relax for prayer, how to listen to and be directed by the Other, and how to handle the pain and distractions that can stifle attempts to communicate with God. "Centering Prayer" has sold more than a quarter million copies since it was first published in 1982. In this eminently practical book, simple, inspiring instructions will help readers find the comfort and the guidance they seek through prayer.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Image
Pages   288
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.2" Width: 5.4" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 17, 1982
Publisher   Image
ISBN  0385181795  
ISBN13  9780385181792  

Availability  2 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 17, 2017 11:12.
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More About Basil Pennington

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M. Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O. (1931-2005) was Abbot of the Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit, in Conyers, Georgia. He authored over 20 books, including O Holy Mountain and Daily We Touch Him.

Basil Pennington currently resides in Boston.

Basil Pennington has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Plough Spiritual Classics: Backpack Classics for Modern Pilg

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Prayer

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Spiritual Growth > Prayer

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Reviews - What do customers think about Centering Prayer: Renewing an Ancient Christian Prayer Form?

New Age Meditation Disguised as Catholicism  Mar 5, 2008
I believe that the author is well-intentioned; however, the "centering" in this book seems to refer to clearing one's mind and hoping that God will come in. Well nature abhors a vacuum--SOMETHING will come in all right. This "vacuum" is the same major fault with trancendental and other New Age meditations.

While trying to make God the center of your life/thoughts is admirable, creating a spiritual "vaccum" is dangerous.

The traditional form of (Christian) meditation is rather to concentrate on something positive--God Himself through the mysteries in His revealed Word. There is never any vacuum created with its concomitant dangers.

The Rosary is an excellent way to accomplish this tradional Christian meditation--by meditating on God directly through the Gospel mysteries. This is far better, less dangerous and spirtually more profitable, than emptying one's self and hoping that what fills the resultant vacuum is good rather than evil.

Although the author is probably well-intentioned, I fear this book might mislead some, or get others into trouble. It is better avoided.
An Excellent Way of Prayer  Jul 1, 2002
The concept of centering prayer is one that can be alienating to many people raised in the traditional American tradition. Most of us have been raised to be "doers," "analyzers," "achievers," etc. To many of us in that category, prayer is something to pursue actively whether it be at Mass, communal prayer, Liturgy of the Hours, etc. The author presents centering prayer as something different, perhaps even beyond our traditional understanding of prayer. "Centering Prayer", by M. Basil Pennington, presents a concept well-suited, yet often challenging for our hectic times. The book, written a number of years ago, presents the method of prayer in a new light, combing eastern Christian spiritual exercises with the context of western spirituality, offering practical guidelines for integrating the "way of prayer" into our daily lives.

The author presents the concept of centering prayer in a simple format, clearly outlining and explaining the history, status and principles of this ancient, but recently revitalized tradition. We are reminded continuously that faith is a gift from God; our ability to pray depends upon our willingness to "rest in the Lord." We are called to empty ourselves and allow God to enter our hearts and our souls. Drawing on a number of sources, including Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross as well as the anonymous author of "The Cloud of Unknowing," Father Pennington offers a simple, cogent discussion of the various aspects of prayer.

Even beyond the text, this book is an invitation. It is an invitation to open oneself to God and the gift of grace. It's neatly arranged chapters offer the reader the opportunity to reflect upon the nature of prayer and reference it frequently as needed. As one progresses in the way of centering prayer, this book is a simple, yet invaluable resource.

A Very Disappointing and Frustrating Book  Mar 25, 2002
I have no doubt that Basil Pennington is a very loving and well-meaning man,and an expert on his subject. But he is also very maddening.If you want to know about the background to centering prayer then probably this is as good an introduction to that aspect of the subject as any. But if , like me, you actually want to know how to do centering prayer, then don't bother with this book. It tells you just about everything you could wish to know about the history, benifits, and application of centering prayer (it even tells you how to structure centering prayer retreats and seminars). But unbelievably, within its 254 pages Pennington devotes little more than one page on how to actually do it, and what he does say is vague and interspersed with latin phrases. I have the impression that Pennington has written something more explicit somewhere, but this book is definitely not it.
Union with God is possible...  Feb 5, 2002
Centering Prayer is a method to experience direct connection with the Divine. This book explains the terminology, psychology, and processes around this updated and modernized form of contemplative prayer. It is a shame to me that the Church does not emphasize the contemplative dimension of the Gospels more. But luckily we have authors like Basil, Pennington, Keating, and Merton to help us along.

The words that the Catholic Church uses to describe God's divine plan and the methods lay and religeous alike can use to attain Divine Union are frought with confusion and ambiguity. Terms like "economy" and "meditation" are used commonly today but have subtle differences when talking about the spirit and the soul as seen by the Church.

This books explains these anomolies, talks about the commonality and differences with other forms of contemplative prayer from other traditions, and truly opens the door for a Divine relationship with the Trinity.

Slipping silently into Center  May 6, 2000
It is with great joy that I accompany the author into the communion of those saints who have mentored both of us; Thomas Merton, to whom he attributes the term, "Centering", Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, Thomas Keating, Edward Hays, the unnamed author of the ancient classic, "The Cloud of Unknowing", among others. His broad acquaintance with spiritual persons sharing the blessing of praying interiorly introduces many others as well. Having recently purchased the hard cover 1980 edition I'm reminded that, had I read it in its entirety 20 years ago, I would have been fascinated, but unable to grasp the metaphoric descriptions of this indescribable form of prayer. A couple of years ago, after years of trying to "make contemplation work", I settled into the prayer phrase, "Gracious Lord, I surrender to your care." I cannot pinpoint the hour during which God's hug enveloped me to allow the holy privilege of slipping silently into Center, but I recognize that it was entirely the work of God, and not of my dogged determination. Because of the many workshops Pennington has conducted, the last section of the book in response to questions raised both by puzzled and skeptical participants echoed many of my own. Perhaps the question section is the place to begin, because the longings expressed therein may remind all of us of our beginnings. I sense those spiritual mothers and fathers smiling as I realize that intense longing is a Grace, a Gift, and as I discovered, a Promise as well.

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