Christmas Anxiety Series: Centering PrayerThu Dec 23
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Hey, Sandals Church. You know, when dealing with stress and anxiety, another thing that often happens is our mind races. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve dealt with stress and anxiety, sometimes my mind is just, it feels like a pinball machine, right. I mean there’s the little ball bouncing around and there’s lights are going off. The bumpers are going off. The flippers are going off and then sometimes it’s like the ball drops into a hole in this bonus content and now you got ten balls releasing at one time and it’s like, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, everything’s happening and it’s really hard to get hold of my thoughts. You ever been there before? A great practice if you have, is the practice of centering prayer, you know, maybe you’ve heard the phrase, just give it to God or give, give your cares to God or surrender it to the Lord. If you’ve heard those phrases before and you’ve wondered, yeah, but how do I do that? Centering prayer is gonna show you exactly how to do that and in centering prayer, all we’re really doing, is we’re closing our eyes and we’re getting alone with God and we’re imagining, maybe being with him in a special place. Maybe you like to go to the beach. You know, for me, I like to imagine I’m in Israel overlooking the sea of Galilee. You know, it’s just as peaceful place for you where you can be alone with God, and as you are with him and you’re slowing down and you’re relaxing. What often happen is thoughts will start to come to your head. Those racing thoughts, all the things you’re thinking about will start to happen and what you do in centering prayer is just quietly, identify one of them and you give it to God. You literally imagine as if you’re handing it to him. Maybe you’re putting it in his hands or you’re laying at his feet or if you’re sitting next to him, you hand it to him and maybe sets to the side and puts it in a pouch or something like that. You’re just literally handing it to him and you’re going back to just being still with him. Another thought comes, you identify it, you hand it to him and you go back to being still with him. See when we start to slow down the distractions come, the racing thoughts will come, and we’ve gotta get good at training our brains to capture them and literally release them to God and this is exactly what centering prayer does. See in centering prayer, we’re not looking for anything grand or glorious to happen. We’re not looking for this massive download from God. We’re not looking to be inspired in the next great thing. We’re actually looking to do is to release these things that drive our stress, that drive our anxiety and just be in the peaceful presence of God. Now one of the things I like to do when I close my time as centering prayer is just to slowly pray through the Lord’s prayer, right? and if you’re not familiar with the Lord’s prayer, let me give it to you right here. It goes like this: Our father, who is in heaven, holy is your name. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever, Amen. I do that slowly and thoughtfully as I close my time in prayer. Hey listen, I hope this has been helpful to you as you work through stress and anxiety. Thanks for tuning in.