Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Jane Redmont: An Introduction to Centering Prayer

A wonderful resource for carving out time for prayer and solitude is Jane Redmont’s book, “When in Doubt, Sing: Prayer in Daily Life.” I plan on interviewing Jane down the line because she struggles with depression herself and writes about how to pray when depressed, something I always struggle with. In her book, she offers a very basic introduction to Centering Prayer, a kind of silent prayer or simply being in the presence of God, assisted by Bill Ryan, a student and teacher of Centering Prayer with Contemplative Outreach (


Choose a sacred word (a mantra) as a symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within. The sacred word is sacred not because of its inherent meaning–though most people pick a word to which they have a deep religious or spiritual connection–but because of your intent. It expresses your intention to be in God’s presence and open the divine action within you. 

Sit comfortably with your eyes closed, settle briefly, and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within. Sit with a straight back and head free. Close the eyes and let go of what is going on around you.

When you become aware of thoughts [here’s where I go wrong!], return ever so gently to the sacred word. Thoughts (feeling, perceptions, images, associations) are inevitable. Do not think of them as an obstacle. The action of returning endlessly to the sacred word is gentle and requires minimal effort.


At the end of the prayer period of twenty minutes remain in silence for two or three minutes with the eyes closed. This allows time for the psyche to readjust to the external senses and enables you to bring the awareness of silence to daily life.

Jane writes her own blog “Acts of Hope” at

  • Tom

    Back when I was in a substance abuse recovery movement (back to basics) they stressed quiet time (preferably in the morning) when one would pray for guidance, write down their thoughts, then share them with others in the movement (the equivalent of step 11). The thoughts considered to be aligned with the virtues of unselfishness, honesty, purity, and love were attributed to divine inspiration. They called the practice two-way prayer because it placed way more emphasis on discerning the will of God than conventional prayer movements which emphasized how to ask God for such and such. I believe they would consider 15 minutes of prayer and 45 minutes of listening the ideal to incrementally move towards, starting out small.

  • laurie

    years ago, before I was even properly diagnosed, I had a strong attraction to practicing centering prayer…I had the Carl Keating tapes ( phenominal) will def check out Janes book..Thanks

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Skylark

    For those wishing to know more about Christian meditation …and this Centering Prayer practice go to Fr. John Bartunek’s blog Catholic Spiritual Direction and click on Centering Prayer to see the letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation. It is a very enlightening treatise of this subject which I found most helpful.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Skylark

    I should have added to the above..the Letter mentioned was written by Pope Benedict XVI who we all know can really write…and inspire!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment fredoman

    My problem is falling asleep. Every time I try to relax, meditate, pray, etc… all my psyche wants to do is shut down. Reading itself became a chore and now it’s an avoidable exercise due to my proneness of falling asleep as soon as I get through a paragraph or two. It’s depressing to say the least… since I used to enjoy reading.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment will

    I too have trouble falling and staying asleep. Even with sleeping pills, it’s difficult. It’s hard for me to pray to a concentrate. I just pray that God will help me to not give up and inspire me. My memory has suffered from ECT treatments and I think it seems to have affected my inspiration. It’s hard for me to put things into words and get interested in things that interested me before. My confidence in myself is minimal right now. I am trying to put my trust in God that He will continue to guide me. I still feel so lost and alone alot of the time. It is hard for me to get my feelings out to people. When I do try to get my feelings out, they feel so lame.

  • Monica A Coleman

    I love this post. Jane is a friend and wonderful writer and wonderful person!

Previous Posts

Seven Ways to Get Over an Infatuation
“Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I” wrote US songwriter Lorenz Hart about the feeling of infatuation. It’s blissful and euphoric, as we all know. But it’s also addicting, messy and blinding. Without careful monitoring, its wild ...

posted 12:46:43pm Feb. 19, 2014 | read full post »

When Faith Turns Neurotic
When does reciting scripture become a symptom of neurosis? Or praying the rosary an unhealthy compulsion? Not until I had the Book of Psalms practically memorized as a young girl did I learn that words and acts of faith can morph into desperate ...

posted 10:37:13am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

How to Handle Negative People
One of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Hang with the winners.” This holds true in support groups (stick with the people who have the most sobriety), in college (find the peeps with good study habits), and in your workplace (stay away from ...

posted 10:32:10am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

8 Coping Strategies for the Holidays
For people prone to depression and anxiety – i.e. human beings – the holidays invite countless possibility to get sucked into negative and catastrophic thinking. You take the basic stressed-out individual and you increase her to-do list by a ...

posted 9:30:12am Nov. 21, 2013 | read full post »

Can I Say I’m a Son or Daughter of Christ and Suffer From Depression?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we read: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What if we aren’t glad, we aren’t capable of rejoicing, and even prayer ...

posted 10:56:04am Oct. 29, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.