My new book Centering Prayer: Sitting Quietly in God’s Presence Can Change Your Life focuses on the transformational power of the consistent practice of centering prayer. I wrote it to serve you by offering a field guide to beginning a new practice of silent meditative prayer or deepening an existing one. I included all the information that I wished I’d have known earlier in my practice as well as deep reflection on the ongoing work of transformation and growth that you’ll experience over time.
Sitting quietly in God’s presence is the antidote to the anxiety and fear that we’ve all experienced during the array of challenges of the last 18 months. It’s a practice that’s stood the test of time as its origins date to the earliest centuries of the Christian faith.
I found sitting in silence at a key season of my life. Late in 2010, I found myself suddenly single at the age of 41. I had already been a pastor of three churches by this time and was serving as a professor of biblical studies at a major protestant seminary (Asbury Theological Seminary). Yet here I was in the midst of a relational, emotional, and faith crisis that seared my soul. I was in a dark place of fear, guilt, and shame. I was extremely anxious about the future, my children, and my ministry.
I am grateful to God that in that difficult season that I discovered the Christian tradition of silence and solitude. Or better yet, silence and solitude found me, and in the silence, I encountered the God who loved me. I discovered and developed spiritual muscles that I didn’t know I had. You can too. I share some of this story in Centering Prayer as a means of illustrating the life changing work that I believe that God can do in all of our lives through sitting quietly in God’s presence. I also discuss the common challenges and obstacles to deep growth in God’s love.
But in the end, Centering Prayer isn’t about me or my story. It’s about the deep work that God wants to do in your life. It’s about growing in grace and love for God, neighbor, and self. So, I invite you on the journey with me as your guide. Be careful. If you do sit quietly in God’s presence, it will change your life. I can testify that it changed mine. Thanks be to God!
I hope you enjoy the book. If you use it in a group of 15 or more, contact me and I'll work out a time to do a virtual centering prayer session with you and answer questions you may have.
- Brian D. Russell, Ph.D., Centering Prayer: Sitting Quietly in God’s Presence Can Change Your Life