Centering Prayer and Speaking in Tongues

Q:  Please help me understand how Centering Prayer and the charismatic or Pentecostal belief in speaking in tongues as a sign on baptism in the Spirit are related?  Can they abide in the same person?

A:  Yes they can abide in the same person.  The Spirit can manifest God’s presence in many ways – internally (Centering Prayer) and externally (tongues).  In Centering Prayer, we let go of the desire to hold on to thoughts; when we becomes aware of thoughts, we gently return to the sacred symbol, which represents the desire to consent and to let go.  In a sense we are letting go of the need to know or understand in order to be in the presence of the Almighty.  This ongoing letting go leaves an opening for God to reveal to us outside of the prayer time what may be happening.

In the gift of tongues, one is letting go of the desire to understand, trusting that what it means can be interpreted by another, if God so wills.  It is a matter of trusting that God is being honored and is directing the process.  Notice that the need to be in charge is surrendered in order for the Lord to take charge.  The common themes in both Centering Prayer and in speaking in tongues are letting go of the need to know, to understand and to be in charge, honoring God and patiently waiting.  We trust the process.

– Fr. Carl.