The Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to events and situations in daily life. The purpose of the Welcoming Prayer is to deepen our relationship with God through consenting in the ordinary activities of our day. The Welcoming Prayer helps to dismantle the emotional programs of the false-self system and to heal the wounds of a lifetime by addressing them where they are stored — in the body. It contributes to the process of transformation in Christ initiated in Centering Prayer.
The Welcoming Prayer Method
Focus, feel and sink into what you are experiencing this moment in your body.
“Welcome” what you are experiencing this moment in your body as an opportunity to consent to the Divine Indwelling.
Let go by repeating the following sentences: “I let go of the desire for security, affection, control. I let go of the desire to change what I am experiencing.”
To welcome and to let go is one of the most radically loving, faith-filled gestures we can make in each moment of each day. It is an open-hearted embrace of all that is in ourselves and in the world. – Mary Mrozowski
Welcoming Prayer – another blend of words…
Gently become aware of your body and your interior state.
Welcome, welcome, welcome.
I welcome everything that comes to me in this moment because I know it is for my healing.
I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions, persons, situations, and conditions.
I let go of my desire for security.
I let go of my desire for approval.
I let go of my desire for control.
I let go of my desire to change any situation, condition, person, or myself.
I open to the love and presence of God and His healing action and grace within.
Mary Mrozowski, one of the founders of Contemplative Outreach, formulated the Welcoming Prayer. She based it on the seventeenth-century French spiritual classic Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussade as well as Fr. Keating’s teachings and her own lived experience of transformation with its underlying attitude of surrender. The practice was so powerful in bringing about inner change that it soon spread throughout the Contemplative Outreach network.
The Welcoming Prayer is a “powerful path for connecting the inner consent of Centering Prayer with the outer requirement of unconditional presence in daily life.” – Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault
Welcoming Prayer is the practice that actively lets go of thoughts and feelings that support the false-self system. It embraces painful emotions experienced in the body rather than avoiding them or trying to suppress them. It does not embrace the suffering as such but the presence of the Holy Spirit in the particular pain, whether physical, emotional, or mental. Thus, it is the full acceptance of the content of the present moment. [In] giving the experience over to the Holy Spirit, the false-self system is gradually undermined and the true self liberated. – Father Thomas Keating