Welcoming prayer


The doorbell rings. You open the door; you welcome your guest. When the visit is over, you walk them out and close the door.

Such is life.

After several months of practicing Centering Prayer, I learned about Welcoming Prayer, consenting to the Spirit’s presence in all the things that show up at your door.

Maybe they are good things—a date night with your spouse, joy in a good meal, a bonus check at work.

Or maybe they are things that elicit negative emotions—a long line at the grocery store, trouble with a child, a bad night’s sleep.

Whatever it is, you say “Welcome” to the Spirit in the midst of it.

Does that mean you have to like the circumstance or your response to it? No. You may work the very next moment to get rid of it (make a doctor’s appointment; confront your husband; look for a new job).

It is not passivity. It is simply accepting its presence in your life in this moment.

And in this sacred space in time between you and the Spirit, you surrender.

Give up prioritizing a desire for security and comfort. For approval and esteem. For control and power.

The original Welcoming Prayer (originally conceived by Mary Mrozowski) phrases it this way:

Welcome, welcome, welcome.

I welcome everything that comes to me in this moment because I know it is for my healing.

I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions, persons, situations, and conditions.

I let go of my desire for security.
I let go of my desire for approval.
I let go of my desire for control.

I let go of my desire to change any situation, condition, person, or myself.

I open to the love and presence of God and His healing action and grace within.
– Mary Mrozowski 1925-1993

Have I learned to do this well? No, not well, but better. I find something healing about welcoming what comes, instead of letting it chase me out of God’s presence.

It doesn’t mean I condone the situation or my feelings about it, but I can believe its purpose exists for my greater transformation into the image of Christ.

And life is never static. As surely as the visitor (situation, feeling, thought, …) comes, he will eventually leave (or else we will).

But in the meantime, ride the wave. Find God in the now.

Because in this moment, in this hour, this is where the Spirit is. And we do well to join him here.

* * *

18 thoughts on “Welcoming prayer

  1. Mia

    Dear Lisa
    I don’t know if I have already mentioned a book to you off Madame Jean Guyon, Experiencing God through prayer. I learned from her and Brother Lawrence how to always walk in Jesus’ Presence. My sister, I caanot tell you how much her book has meant to me. She also addresses the issue you have mentioned about letting the thoughts wander and how to overcome it. I cannot recommend this book enough for any of Pappa’s children! I love you honest heart!
    Blessings XX

  2. Beth

    Interesting, Lisa. I’ve not heard of this before. And yes, like you, I’m learning to “ride the wave.” Once we master this “surrender,” do you think we’ll be good surfers? 😉 Thanks for sharing!

  3. Joe Pote

    Good post, Lisa!

    Welcoming God’s Spirit into ALL aspects of life is not easy…but it is powerful! I continue to struggle with it, but can testify that God uses prayer in a powerful way.

    I once heard a statement to the effect that “Thanking God for difficult circumstances invites God into the situation, to participate in the solution.”

    I find I rather like the idea of inviting God into every aspect of my life…even those dirty sinful parts that I’d rather He not see…but for which I most need His help…

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

    1. PL

      +1 for 2nd and 3rd paras here.

      I try to find a way to say thank you to God for the “bad” things that happen to me (as well as the good).


      1. LisaNotes Post author

        I like that you put “bad” in quotes because often we are not good judges of what is good and what is bad . . . Finding a way to be grateful no matter what is a learned skill and an invaluable one.

  4. Holly Barrett

    I am totally not good at this…don’t deal well with changes in the plan, or with unmet expectations. But sense that God is calling me to do better. Thanks for a great post on this idea of welcoming prayer. I’m going to have to give that a try.

  5. laura

    The Welcoming Prayer changes me when I enter into it. I’ve been unable to attend my Centering Prayer group for a couple months now, Lisa, and this post is making me miss it even more! Thank you for bringing me into that place of communion, though. I need to get back to my practice.

  6. tcavey

    I really like this part, “Find God in the now.”
    I tend to live in the future, dreaming/plotting/worrying, but God is showing me that I need to live for today. Sufficient for the day is it’s own trouble.

  7. David Rupert

    This is interesting. When we “welcome” both the good and the bad, the easy and the difficult, the light and the dark, it gives an impervious attitude. No matter what we face, our God is able.

  8. Lindsay

    Lisa, thank you so much for sharing! I love your point that surrendering is NOT “passivity.” Letting go so the Holy Spirit can meet us where we are, good or bad, that is where we find out how strong our faith really is. I have learned the hard way that those moments I most dread and attempt to avoid are the very moments that God does His most glorious work in my life!

  9. bluecottonmemory

    Letting go of that desire to control – to change things – and yes, ride the wave – totally opposite of the way I have lived this life – it’s like free-falling – isn’t it – living His way! Thank you for sharing the prayer. There are so many wonderful things I haven’t read -and I am glad you shared it with me! Blessings to you, Lisa – hoping your wave riding is exhilarating this week!

  10. Amy L. Sullivan

    So, this idea is brand, brand new to me. I am more of a girl who sneaks a peek out the window, and then determines how I am going to meet each circumstance. I wonder what today would look like if I just said “welcome”.

  11. Jean Wise

    Thank you so much Lisa for writing this. I had taken a class last year where the welcoming prayer was taught but it had slipped from my practice. Your post was a great reminded of a wonderful prayer i wanted and needed. So glad we are on this journey together.

  12. PL

    Being welcoming like this is very difficult and painful. But I think you have to be open and embracing if you are to understand.

    The next step is to respond – or to act. Is there guidance for that?

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think the last line of the Welcoming Prayer addresses the action part:

      “I open to the love and presence of God and His healing action and grace within.”

      Being aware that healing is occurring, that grace is being given, can keep us alert us to that “next step.” It may be something we need to initiate; it may be a watchful waiting for what God will bring to us. But I consider the alertness itself to be a response. If that makes sense.

      Another next step in many situations for me is to forgive. To forgive a person, to forgive myself, to forgive the circumstances, even to forgive God (even though he’s not at “fault”, but if I’m holding him accountable, even wrongly, I need to forgive him for what I see as an offense). And that probably makes even less sense. 🙂

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