Q: Can you lie down in Centering Prayer?
A: Thank you for your question. At some point, we all wonder if it is okay to lay down during Centering Prayer. Centering Prayer guideline 2 says “Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within.” Fr. Thomas told us that the guidelines were guidelines; not rules. He also clarified “sitting comfortably” means relatively comfortably so as not to encourage sleep during the time of prayer. And “whatever sitting position we choose, we keep the back straight.”
The guidelines leave it up to us to figure out what posture works best for us as we pray. Sometimes we may sit, sometimes we may lie down. To me the key is that Centering Prayer is prayer, not getting ready to sleep. Lying down with a straight back during Centering Prayer is a posture that we may use as long as it is not encouraging sleep. We can be alert and receptive while laying down especially if sitting causes body pain.
On many an Intensive Centering Prayer Retreat you will find participants laying on the floor with legs on the chair due to stress of prolonged prayer times. They know when it will encourage sleep and when it will encourage continued prayer.
The sacred dance between you and God during the prayer time will inform how you pray. Whether you sit or lay down during prayer time, your intention encourages the relationship; your consent to God’s presence and action within is all that matters.
Blessings on your journey.
See this related Q&A on “Pray As You Can” here.