We often feel the need for prayer when life is difficult and we are facing a crisis. The Welcoming Prayer is a prayer for such a time. God’s Love is unconditional and we will always find that when we reach out to God, God is already reaching out to us.
In times of pain and suffering, we welcome God’s presence, therefore, even though it may be very hard to understand how God is present. It is always important to keep in mind that it is God’s presence we consent to and welcome, not the actual pain and suffering. However, the Welcoming Prayer is not only for those times when we are struggling. It can also be a prayer for everyday use and can heighten our awareness of the presence of God in every moment and aspect of our lives, even the most ordinary. It can lead to other forms of prayer and is, in fact, a companion prayer to Centering Prayer and to Lectio Divina. Together, the three provide us all with a well-proven contemplative practice.
Devised by Mary Mrozowski and recommended by Fr. Thomas Keating, the Welcoming Prayer echoes the nineteenth century spiritual classic, “Abandonment to Divine Providence” which is ascribed to Jean-Pierre deCaussade S.J. In all things, God, who is good, works for our good.
This programme offers a practical and experiential introduction to the Welcoming Prayer. The prayer offers a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional responses to events and situations in daily life. It helps to address the emotional programmes of the false-self system and to heal the wounds of a lifetime stored in the body. The false-self system situates our happiness in our insatiable, instinctive need for affection and esteem, power and control and safety and security. Happiness, however can be found only when we turn to the Divine indwelling within us, the true self.
So, the Welcoming Prayer contributes to the process of transformation in Christ that is part of Centering Prayer practice. We learn how we can be free of the false-self system and respond rather than just react to the present moment. Familiarity with Centering Prayer and an established routine of prayer will be helpful for anyone taking this weekend but they are not absolutely necessary.