On Sunday evenings, the residents of Angela House convene for centering prayer led by one of four deacons from the Diocese of Galveston Houston. The session consists of two parts: in the first part we spend 5 minutes in centering prayer and in the second each of the participants says something about how their week has been.
Centering prayer is a form of Christian meditation, not linked to any particular denomination. It is different than other forms of prayer in that participants listen to God with them rather than talk to God. It is based on the reality that God (or Higher Power) is already with us, but we are often so busy that we pay no attention to God. The purpose is to strengthen our relationship to God-With-Us. In this relationship God loves each of us as we are. This is a message that people need to hear because so much of what we encounter is conditional love – someone loves if we do something for them, if we are prettier or thinner or younger or something else. God loves us as we are and calls us to be our best selves.
This is particularly valuable for the ladies of Angela House as they reconnect with families, friends and society in general. They need to experience God’s love and support for them as they are. This particularly helps them heal their sense of failure from their previous experiences. We are not psychologists, but we are convinced that a sense of God’s love and support is critical to their recovery. This is consistent with the Twelve Step Program, particularly Step 11.
Since God accepts us as we are, we should accept others as they are, rather than as we want them to be. In a practical way this means accepting people when they have a good week or a terrible week, when they are energetic or downtrodden. The stories and the examples that the ladies express provide examples and strength to each other, especially to the newer arrivals at Angela House as they struggle with the challenges of the first sixty days.
Our goals are (1) that centering prayer can enable ladies to have some sense of a loving, personal God with them day in and day out, in thick and thin, and (2) that they accept themselves and each other as they are.
- Kimball Kehoe, Practitioner of centering prayer since 1990