The Difference Between Centering Prayer, Contemplative Prayer, and Meditation

Q:  Please advise on the different between Centering Prayer, contemplative prayer and meditation.

A: There are many levels of relation with God that can be manifested by the way we pray. There is vocal prayer (the saying of your prayer), there is meditation (the thinking about and reflecting on your prayer), there is affective prayer (responding from your heart), there is centering prayer (a receptive silent prayer of consenting, which also can express a desire to be gifted with contemplation), and there is contemplative prayer (the gift of resting in the Lord). Another way of expressing it is: meditation is thinking about God, Centering Prayer is consenting to God and contemplative prayer is loving God. I hope this helps. Be open to the spirit working in your life on all levels; each level of prayer is necessary in relationship with the Almighty.

– Fr. Carl