The Welcoming Prayer

by Rod Janz, SoulStream Partner

welcoming prayer image of trees around small lake

My journey with the Welcoming Prayer began through Thomas Keating’s Contemplative Outreach organization. According to Keating, this prayer acts as a natural (and excellent) companion to centering prayer by providing a means of dealing with feelings and thoughts as they come up. It guides us to release ego-driven energies like the need for control and approval while inviting us to embrace the healing presence of God’s love and grace.

The Welcoming Prayer, conceived by Mary Mrozowski for Contemplative Outreach, has roots in ancient Christian contemplative practices. Developed in the 1980s, this prayer draws from traditions like Centering Prayer and the spiritual teachings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers. It invites practitioners to surrender to the present moment, welcoming whatever arises with openness and trust in divine guidance.

Mary created the welcoming prayer practice out of her desire to discover a way to support centering prayer practitioners in giving consent in such a dramatic way—to prolong the consequences of letting go in daily life by continuously giving consent to God moment by moment. “Letting go is the most difficult thing for us,” she said. We therefore require twice daily focused prayer sessions lasting longer than twenty minutes. 

We can use the welcoming practice as “a method of how to let go into the activities of your daily life, to let go of emotions, feelings, commentaries, and thoughts that control us” for the remaining twenty-three hours of the day.

When we let go of these emotions, feelings, and judgments, Mary remarked, “God, by the spirit that dwells within us, changes them.” More importantly, we ourselves undergo transformation over time, freeing up energy that we could have used for God’s work instead of holding onto our own agendas and safeguarding our illusionary identities.1

Welcoming Prayer

Gently become aware of your body and your interior state.

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, people, 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 myself to the presence and love of God within.


Here is a collection of quotes to consider as you practice the Welcoming Prayer:

I am open to the love and presence of God and the healing action and grace within.

Welcoming Prayer, p.12

The welcoming prayer is a practice of ‘letting go’ in the present moment, in the ordinary routines of daily life.

It is prayer because of our intention and consent to God’s presence and action in our lives.

Welcoming Prayer, p. 8

“The ordinary events of daily life become our practice…
The routine of daily life is a path to holiness.
Contemplative prayer is aimed at transforming daily life with its never-ending round of ordinary activities.”

Father Thomas Keating, Open Mind, Open Heart, p.125


Welcoming Prayer, p. 11

“Over time, through a series of unmet needs, we exaggerate unconscious programs for happiness, known as ‘energy centers’: security/survival, affection/esteem, power/control. These unmet needs combine to motivate the false-self system.  If you work at dismantling the energy centers that cause the upsetting emotions, your efforts will extend the good effects of centering prayer into every aspect of daily life.

Father Thomas Keating, Open Mind, Open Heart, p.125

The faithful practice of both centering prayer and welcoming prayer is the one-two punch that helps me to embrace God in every moment and in every event.

Cathy McCarthy, Welcoming Prayer, p. 18

“Gently become aware of your body and your interior state…. Feel it! Don’t think about it; feel it in your body. Remember, your head is a part of your body.”

Welcoming Prayer, p. 20

“Welcome”…”What I ‘welcome’ in the welcoming prayer practice is not the feeling, emotion, thought, or body sensation, but God’s activity in them.”

Therese Saulnier, Welcoming Prayer, p. 26

“I let go.” 

Inevitably, I find that one of these energy centers is robbing me of the peace of Christ, and just by naming them, I discover what it is.

“I am open to the love and presence of God and the healing action and grace within.” This is a faithful or faith-filled action. Another act of letting go and trusting God to heal you and love you, maybe in ways you would never expect. 

“I let go.”

“I truly believe Mary was right. She [once said]
 the only thing our free will was good for
Was to surrender it back to God. 
We can’t lose weight with it, 
we can’t quit smoking with it, 
[we can’t change ourselves or others with it.]
Nothing really changes until we truly let go 
and surrender to what is… 
And then we witness the miracles 
God has in store for us.”

Mary Dwyer, Welcoming Prayer, p. 31


  1. The Practice of Welcoming Prayer.
  2. The Contemplative Life Program, 40-Day practice, Welcoming Prayer, Contemplative Outreach Ltd. See: (This entire series is amazing!)



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