Since the early 1990's, Contemplative Outreach Birmingham has been an active chapter of Contemplative Outreach, LTD. We are an unincorporated, non-profit volunteer association of individuals who embrace the process of transformation in Christ, both in ourselves and in others, through the practice of Centering Prayer.
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What is Centering Prayer?
Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer. In Centering Prayer prayer we experience God’s presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship.
Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer. Rather, it adds depth of meaning to all prayer and facilitates the movement from more active modes of prayer — verbal, mental or affective prayer — into a receptive prayer of resting in God. Centering Prayer emphasizes prayer as a personal relationship with God and as a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Him.
The source of Centering Prayer, as in all methods leading to contemplative prayer, is the Indwelling Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The focus of Centering Prayer is the deepening of our relationship with the living Christ. The effects of Centering Prayer are ecclesial, as the prayer tends to build communities of faith and bond the members together in mutual friendship and love.
Through our non-denominational network of churches and volunteers, we offer free weekly centering prayer gatherings across Alabama in Birmingham, Huntsville, Northern Alabama, Florence, Mentone , and as far south as Auburn. Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. is also blessed to have an active centering prayer community within the Florida panhandle area with a number of weekly meetings, which are also available to those living in South Alabama.
One-day and weekend centering prayer introductory workshops are offered throughout the year for those new to the centering prayer practice. Contemplative Outreach Birmingham also offers weekend and 8-day intensive centering prayer retreats throughout the year in cooperation with the Benedictine Sisters Retreat Center in Cullman, AL. Contemplative Outreach Birmingham is grateful for the continuing hospitality of The Benedictine Sisters of Cullman, AL.
Upon request we offer one day Introduction to Centering Prayer Workshops in churches and encourage the formation of new centering prayer groups in Alabama. While formed by our respective denominations, we are united in our common search for God and our experience of Christ through Centering Prayer.