A 12 Step Program of Christian Transformation

through Centering Prayer

The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are inspired by a profound intuition: 

(1) the recognition of one's powerlessness to take even the first step toward recovery from the addiction of alcoholism, and 

(2) the complete turning of oneself over to a Power greater than oneself. 

As the twelve steps are not a one time climb, neither is the process of Christian transformation initiated and sustained by Centering Prayer. Both describe movement but not in a straight line. The movement is a spiral ascent (or descent) in which one's temptations and failures recycle. Just as one in recovery is continuously working the Twelve Step Program, so one keeps beginning again in the spiritual journey, but each time at a deeper level of trust in God.

1. Through reflection on the Gospel, the regular practice of Centering Prayer, and the failure of our best efforts, we come to realize that without grace we are powerless and our lives are unmanageable.

2. We come to believe that only the grace of Christ can enable us to respond to the call of the Gospel to divine union.

3. We turn over our lives and our will to the care of God as we now understand him.

4. We make a searching, honest and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. We admit to ourselves, to God, and to a trustworthy person, the exact nature of our wrongs and fully own them.

6. Through the self-knowledge arising from the regular practice of Centering Prayer and our moral inventory, we come to recognize the dark side of our personality, our mixed motivation and self-serving tendencies, and are entirely ready to allow God to heal them.

7. We humbly ask God for the divine healing.

8. Recognizing the harm we have done to ourselves and to others, we are willing to make amends to all whom we have offended.

9. We make direct amends wherever possible, except when to do so would injure others.

10. Each day we become more aware of our self-serving tendencies and more prompt in letting go of their influence.

11. Through perseverance in Centering Prayer we seek to improve our conscious contact with God, to be healed of the unconscious obstacles to our transformation, and more and more to know God's will for us and the power to carry it out.

12. Having awakened to an abiding sense of union with God as a result of these steps, we feel called to manifest their fruits in our family, workplace, and in all our affairs, and to bring the message of their efficacy to others.

Thomas Keating June, 1996

No 12 step program like AA is affiliated with Contemplative Outreach and does not officially endorse or reject the practice of Centering Prayer.  Contemplative Outreach is respectful of the traditions of 12 step programs to decline to endorse any other organization or to promote other programs. 

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