Centering Prayer and Exercise

Q:  I would like to know if you could back me up or not in the contemplative skills I have developed through the mixture between Centering Prayer and Tabata Training that I have taken from fitness. I mean backing it intellectually, to know if it is an honest practice or if I am deluding myself. I would like to know if I can add it to my FIT-Repetition project, an evangelization project through coaching, psychology and fitness. I pray like this:

  • 20 seconds sacred word stopping my inner musings and thoughts.
  • 10 seconds I read a text – not aggressively but definitely to try to release all the unconscious material I have inside.
  • 20 seconds sacred word stopping my inner musings and thoughts.

And so on.

I am extremely interested in knowing your opinion. My aim is not only to pray but to develop the strength of mind that allow me to “pray without ceasing,” that means to have a consciousness that allows me to shut my thoughts even in the midst of the daily life Рin the street, supermarket, etc. I am able to do it listening certain music, but I want to start doing without it (questioner from Slovensko).

A:  Thank you for sharing the Tabata fitness program with me. It seems to require much discipline and focusing. You asked if Centering Prayer could be useful during these exercises. Centering Prayer is a distinct practice of sitting in silence and consenting to God‚Äôs presence and action within.  It is not something you do while doing other things.  To honor the integrity of the Centering Prayer practice, it should not be used while you are doing your exercise.  You could pray Centering Prayer before your exercise as a way dedicating the exercise to God.

However, I would recommend the praying of an active prayer – a short prayer phase that you could say while you are exercising, like ‚ÄúLord Jesus be my life’s breath‚Äù or ‚ÄúOh God, come to my assistance‚Äù ‚Äì whatever enflames your heart.  There is a list of suggestions on our website, which you can find here.

This additional practice would make your training a celebration of body, mind and Spirit and allow you to formally give honor and glory to God while you dedicate your time to this exercise. I hope this has been a help and blessing for you as you enter into the experience. I am more than happy to continue this discussion if needed.

– Fr. Carl