Last week’s post explored the core emotions and desires of each Enneagram triad, the idea that our emotions are agents of change and transformation, and why Welcoming prayer is a powerful contemplative practice for all personality types.  If you missed it you might want to read it first before reading this week’s post, which is the final post in this series on Exploring Spiritual Formation through the Lens of the Enneagram!

The practice of Welcoming Prayer is a practice that offers you a place to go when you experience strong emotions or reactions in your everyday life.  It has a way of waking us up to the present moment within the emotion we are experiencing, which then allows us to recognize our underlying desire and where that desire is coming from.  The prayer focuses in on three desires – security, affection and control.  Notice these desires of the ego go hand in hand with the desire of each triad covered in last week’s post – security, attention or affection, and autonomy or control.   If I am honest, as a Nine in the Gut triad with anger as my core emotion, when I am triggered or angry and I am able to welcome and be present to the emotion, I notice I am often desiring autonomy or control and sometimes affection as well.  Within that recognition I realize this desire is coming from my false self or ego.  The Welcoming prayer invites me to notice and feel the emotion, invite God into the present moment, and let go of the desire to remain attached to the ego’s need for security, affection, and control.  This is ultimately shedding the false self—it is the self-emptying process that was the hallmark of Jesus’ entire ministry.

When you find yourself experiencing a strong emotion or reaction within your day and want to practice the Welcoming prayer, follow this three step process:

  1. Notice and sink in – Feel the feeling, immerse yourself in it, don’t run from it or fight it. Feel the emotion physically.  
  2. Welcome – You cannot move forward until you accept where you are. Befriend your emotion and acknowledge God’s presence with you in the moment.
  3. Let go – Recite these words, entrusting yourself to God in the moment:

                                 “I let go of my desire for security.
                                  I let go of my desire for affection.
                                 I let go of my desire for control.
                                God, I give you my [fear/anger/ etc.].”

Instead of going into fix-it, control-it, analyze-it, stuff-it mode, this practice gives us the opportunity to pause and trust God in the present moment.  It allows us to notice our instinctual egoic reactions and then gently invites us back to a place of love and connection with God – slowly revealing our True Self.

There is much more that can be said about Welcoming prayer.  If you would like to dig a little deeper into this practice I have listed some helpful resources below.  Stay tuned for those Spotify Enneagram Type-specific playlists I mentioned in the first post of this series.  I haven’t forgotten and I am still hoping to make it happen!! Click HERE to subscribe, if you haven’t already, so you don’t miss out!

Welcoming Prayer Resources:

Patheos.com article goes into an in-depth explanation of Welcoming Prayer

A Welcoming Prayer practice booklet by Contemplative Outreach– 40 day format with teachings, reflection, Scripture, related wisdom. A beautiful image, reading, and mini-practice for each day.  Purchase only. Cost: $10

Q & A discussion with Fr. Carl from Contemplative Outreach – Discusses a healthy vs. unhealthy relationship with security, affection, and control.

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