Video Series: Prayer of Silence: Focusing on Stillness to Recenter

By Kathy Keary

Our full series in the Contemplative Prayer Video Series is here.

Our full series on Contemplation is here. 

Today we will focus on our stillness as a way to recenter ourselves when we become attached to a distraction while engaged in the prayer of silence. But let’s talk for a moment about contemplative prayer in general.

Often people have the impression that we sit in silence so that we will hear the voice of God with the ear of our heart during the time of prayer. In the wisdom of the 16th-century mystic, John of the Cross: “Silence is God’s first language.” Thomas Keating, a Cistercian monk, elaborated on this point. He asserts: “Everything else is a poor translation. To understand this language, we must learn to be silent and to rest in God.”

In the prayer of silence, we still our souls and share in the Divine silence. It is a wordless prayer where we rest in God’s loving embrace in silence and stillness.

I have found that availing myself to this practice daily, fertilizes the soil of my heart making it a fertile ground to hear the voice of God at other times of the day. Routinely savoring the silence and stillness bears this fruit.

Today we will focus on our stillness as a way to recenter ourselves when distractions occur. I do this by briefly shifting my focus to my torso which is motionless.

We will rest in silence for three minutes. Begin by briefly focusing on the stillness of your torso as a statement of your intent to commune with God. Briefly return to this focus when you become attached to a thought.

Once again, I recommend that you journal about your experience today. We are exploring different methods to recenter ourselves. Journaling will help you discover the method or methods that you prefer. I don’t use the same method each time. It is important at the beginning of the prayer to choose the method you will use to refocus, so that in the midst of the prayer mentally weighing the methods won’t be a distraction.

Lent is fast approaching. On Thursday mornings, we will explore the new book On Retreat with Henri Nouwen: Engaging Life’s Big Questions. When I first became serious about my spiritual life, the writings of Henri Nouwen served as a springboard into a spiritual depth I did not know was possible. I am excited to share Nouwen’s wisdom with you. Consider joining us on Thursday morning beginning March 10. Click here for more information: On Retreat with Henri Nouwen.Or register now. You have two options:


I look forward to seeing you next week. Until then, may God bless your journey.

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[Kathy Keary, spiritual director, holds a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in theological studies, and completed Sophia Center’s Souljourners Program, an intense study of spirituality and spiritual direction. Kathy believes that the Divine is present and active in all of life and encourages others to be awakened to the God in all including the Divine within. She enjoys accompanying others on their journey to wholeness discovering the person they were created to be.]

Photo 70125009 © Maksim Petrov |

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