Centering Prayer or
In 2003 scientists pointed the Hubble Telescope at nothing. It was a patch of space that is nothing but black. And they waited. After 10 days the image they saw was amazing. The ultra deep space picture shows not just stars but entire galaxies (10,000 galaxies!), and gives us a humbling glimpse of the big picture of our universe.
I think this is an interesting metaphor for silent prayer. When we pray in this way we point our consciousness at nothing. And we wait. We wait not with the expectation that tens of thousands of points of light will be our reward, but rather that by listening to God in this way, we glean a tiny glimpse of the enormity of God. We can feel a little bit of God’s big picture.
Prayer is a conversation with God. Conversations are two way streets. Half the time we talk and half the time we should be listening. Silent prayer is listening. A cup filled to the brim cannot take in anything else. Our brains are filled to the brim with thoughts. Sitting quietly with God will allow those thoughts to settle like grains of sand in a jar of water. Or like clouds floating past us, we allow them to sail away.