Q: Is it ok to do the Centering Prayer just before bed?
A: I decided to consult with our ecumenical Centering Prayer group at Saint Vincent’s church, Bayonne New Jersey, which has been gathering for over 15 years, with many of the original members still with us. When I asked the question to the eight participants, the overall answer was “pray as you can”.
All gave witness to the personal nature of setting up a pattern of praying Centering Prayer each day, and the challenge of getting in the second session. Praying at bedtime, especially when living with other persons or with a very busy schedule, may be the only time where there is sufficient space and privacy to enter into the prayer.
It also could be an ideal time for a third session of Centering Prayer.
However, most felt that bedtime was not the ideal time to enter into prayer because they found that they are often energized by the prayer and it was difficult to get to sleep. Early morning was seen by all to be the ideal time. Daily routine and renewal of intention to consent was emphasized as essential.
Some commented that as they got older, the body reacted in different ways to the sitting process, so adjusting the times of their prayer was necessary.
The suggestion was offered that if during the night, one could not sleep, this may be a call to prayer or a perfect time to do a session of Centering Prayer. In fact, Fr. Thomas recommends this.
The group really enjoyed being asked the question and giving their comments; it turned out to be a lively time. Thanks for the opportunity to celebrate. Of course, remember this was all done after Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina.?
I hope this answered your question, to which there really is no concrete answer – just experienced recommendations. In the end, you need to find a routine that works for you and your life circumstances.
Blessings, Fr Carl
See this related Q&A on “Centering Prayer and Posture” here.