How to Pray the 'Welcoming Prayer'
The Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to events and situations in daily life. If Centering Prayer (or another daily prayer) is practiced for one hour of the day, the Welcoming Prayer is for the other 23 hours. It is a "letting go" in the present moment, in the midst of the activity of ordinary life. It helps to dismantle the emotional programs of the false-self system and to heal the wounds of a lifetime by addressing them where they are stored — in the body.
Practicing the Welcoming Prayer offers us the opportunity to make choices free of the false-self system — responding instead of reacting to the present moment. Through the action of the Holy Spirit, the practice empowers us to take appropriate action as freely and lovingly as possible in any situation that presents itself.
"To welcome and to let go is one of the most radically loving,
faith-filled gestures we can make in each moment of each day.
It is an open-hearted embrace of all that is in ourselves and in the world."
— Mary Mrozowski, creator of the Welcoming Prayer
The purpose of the Welcoming Prayer is to deepen our relationship with God through consenting in ordinary activities. The Welcoming Prayer helps to dismantle the emotional programs of the false-self system and to heal the wounds of a lifetime by addressing them where they are stored—in the body.
What is the false self?
The false self is our human condition of desiring power/control, esteem/affection, and security/survival. These unconscious urges lead us to attachments, hidden agendas, triggering events, frustrations, afflictive emotions, destructive internal dialogue and emotional turmoil which then reinforces our desire for power, security and affection. Security, Affection and Power are similar to the temptations of Christ in the wilderness. The Welcoming Prayer welcomes these desires and does not fight against our human struggles and desires, but simply brings the spirit of Christ to those places.
The Welcoming Prayer Method
Focus, feel, and sink into the feelings, emotions, thoughts, & sensations in your body
Welcome the Divine Indwelling in the feelings, emotions, thoughts, commentaries, or sensations in your body by saying, “Welcome.”
Let go by repeating the following sentences:
“I let go of the desire for security, affection, control.”
“I let go of the desire to change this feeling/sensation.”
“Welcome, welcome, welcome. I welcome everything that comes to me today because I know it’s for my healing. I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions, persons, situations and conditions."
"I let go of my desire for power and control. "
"I let go of my desire for affection, esteem, approval and pleasure. "
"I let go of my desire for survival and security."
"I let go of my desire to change any situation, person or myself.”
“Welcoming Prayer is the practice that embraces painful emotions experienced in the body
rather than avoiding them or trying to suppress them.
It does not embrace the suffering as such but the presence of the Holy Spirit in the particular pain,
whether physical, emotional, or mental.
Thus, it is the full acceptance of the content of the present moment.”
- Father Thomas Keating
“You are not trying to “back down” your emotions or talk yourself out of them,
just to stay present to them.”
Cynthia Bourgeault, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening
For more information on Welcoming Prayer:
Contemplative Outreach Material on Welcoming Prayer
To find more information, or to register for the E-Course on Welcoming Prayer, visit the Welcoming Prayer e-course page.
Developed by Contemplative Outreach’s late master teacher Mary Mrozowski, it is based
largely on the teaching and wisdom of Fr. Thomas Keating and the eighteenth century work
Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean Pierre de Caussade.