6.9.15–>”The Welcoming Prayer: Hebrews 12:1-17″


Hebrews 12:7-8,11

You must be patient with discipline. God is dealing with you as his sons and daughters. What child is there that the parent doesn’t discipline?

If you are left without discipline (we’ve all had our fair share of it!), you are illegitimate, and not true children.

No discipline seems to bring joy at the time, but only sorrow. Later though, it produces fruit, the peaceful fruit of righteousness, for those who are trained by it. [KNT]

We saw yesterday that a major key to living life well is keeping focus. Keeping focus on Jesus, listening to Him in the midst of our pain and upset. He always kept His eyes on things above. The destination is the motivation as we say. The ultimate destination.

Verse 16  warns to not be an Esau. He is the prime example of giving up what was of ultimate value because he was so focused on the painful circumstances of the moment. He gave up his birthright for a bowl of soup for crying out loud!

But how do we do this?

Do we know how to stay focused or at least return to focus quickly from anxiety and stressful situations?

Recently I came across and started to practice The Welcoming Prayer. This is a concrete tool to help stay level-headed, to stay yourself, in the midst of pain.

So I’ll share with you this wonderful gift that is meant to be used in the midst of anxiety, but can be practiced anytime, and even useful in times when things are actually going very well. In those times it can be a recentering type of tool to realign our focus on where it needs to be.

The Welcoming Prayer is about surrender, which is spacious heart openness, not capitulation or rolling over! It has to do with keeping the right alignment inwardly that allows you to stay in the flow of your deeper sustaining wisdom. To “feel the force” as Yoda says. We’re not giving in or caving, we’re doing the work to stand our ground in who we know we are and in full awareness of the situation. This may be different from what we learned surrender to be.

It is a way of acknowledging God’s presence in the midst of a distressing physical or emotional situation.

It works at the level of sensation, not attitude, in order to actively imprint kentoic surrender as the innate first response to all life situations. With the Holy Spirit, we can train ourselves to always respond to stressful situations as Jesus would, in love.

Kenosis-to let go; to empty oneself. Self-emptying love. Bringing yourself into a state of “unconditional presence.”

Your energy is not squandered in this state, but brought into the service of spiritual transformation.

It can also be used in times opposite of pain–when feeling smug comfort or self-importance.

The Practice

It consists of three steps

  1. Focus or Sink In
  2. Welcome
  3. Let go


Become physically aware of the sensations in your body. (Do a body scan)

  • Chest tight?
  • Breathing shallow or forced?
  • Heart pounding?
  • Teeth clinched?
  • Gut knotted?

Don’t try to change anything, just stay present. Do not analyze or justify yourself. This does two things:

  • Guarantees you won’t repress or dissociate from your emotions
  • Forces you to stay with sensation, where the work is really going on anyway


This part may be odd or counter intuitive for some of you, but stick with it.

Say, “Welcome, anger,” or “Welcome, fear,” or “Welcome, pain.”

The point isn’t to get rid of it, but to not let it throw you out of presence. The only way to do this is to wrap your deeper self around it through the power of your compassionate attention.

(Take note that you are never welcoming an outer situation, only the feelings and sensations working within you at a given moment. If someone is yelling at you, verbally abusing you, you don’t say, “Welcome, verbal abuse.” No, verbal abuse is not ok or justified.)

Welcoming roots us firmly in the now.

Surrender means doing something out of the power of integrity, not knuckling under to coercion or abuse.

Here is a powerful quote for thought by Rainer Maria Rilke:

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in the deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.


The most important thing here is to only take this step when you are ready! It takes some time to be ready to let go.

And remember that it is only for the present moment. You’re not saying, “I’ll never be angry again.” Life is not so much about never getting knocked down, but about getting back up.

There are two ways of going about this step:

  • You can simply say, “I let go of this anger.” (or fear or pain)

Or you may choose this powerful fourfold prayer

  • “I let go my desire for security and survival.”
  • “I let go my desire for esteem and affection.”
  • “I let go my desire for power and control.”
  • “I let go my desire to change the situation.”

Those first three are the “energy centers” of the false-self system. Our core woundings in these areas, together with our misguided search for compensation, drive most of the unconscious behavior which is the source of our continual human suffering. By praying this, you are sending a very strong message to the unconscious! The fourth phrase ensures that you are not trying to fix the situation.

It may seem craziness to relinquish these basic requirements, but we are talking about even deeper truth than that which is really closer to the surface. Here are a few quotes beautifully expressing the deeper wisdom:

Whoever makes all cares into a single care, the care for simply being present, will be relieved of all cares by that Presence, which is the creative power. -Kabir Helminski

It’s not about giving up things we want or rolling over and playing dead. It is about connecting with an energy source of sustenance so powerful and vibrant as it flows through our being from the infinite that all else pales in comparison…The core secret we are coming to understand is that the act of letting go, spiritually understood as a cosmic energy exchangeis the power by which Jesus could live and remain true to his path. -Cynthia Bourgeault

Paradoxically, the more we focus on Jesus, on the ultimate destination and what really matters, even in the midst of troubling circumstances, we actually become more tuned in to the present moment, with all our faculties and awareness in tact so as to be able to overcome the situation because we stay connected to our power source.

I really believe this is the way Jesus lived His life on earth. He was so present at all times, so aware, that He always had clear access to the supernatural. I think His head and heart were so in the clouds, focused on His father, that He was more grounded than any other human being.

In Jesus’ name


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