Welcoming Prayer is a practice that offers a place to go when experiencing strong emotions or reactions in everyday life. It has a way of waking us up to the present moment and the emotions we are experiencing. Waking up to the present moment brings recognition of our underlying desire and where that desire is coming from, and also gives us the opportunity to deepen our relationship with God by consenting to God’s healing presence and action in our daily lives.
Inspired by Abandonment to Divine Providence, Mary Mrozowski, one of the founders of Contemplative Outreach, developed this prayer as a way of dismantling the emotional programs of the ego and healing emotional wounds stored in the body.
The prayer practice allows us to notice, welcome, and let go of the thoughts, feelings, emotions, and sensations in the body centered around three desires of the ego or false self – security, affection, and control. By noticing and welcoming, we invite God into the present moment, and by letting go we are no longer 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:
- Notice and sink in – Feel the feeling, immerse yourself in it, don’t run from it or fight it. Feel the emotion physically.
- Welcome – You cannot move forward until you accept where you are. Befriend your emotion and acknowledge God’s presence with you in the moment.
- 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.
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.