Along with many other New Age-ish titles, Christianbook.com offers the first guide to centering prayer, for children ages 3 to 10. This book is from a Catholic publisher. Note that it has been declared Nihil Obstat (Wikipedia’s definition: “attestation by a [Catholic] church censor that a book contains nothing damaging to faith or morals”). Also, it has been declared Imprimatur (Wikipedia: “let it be printed”). I have quoted verbatim from the product description. Following is the link to the entire description:
Journey to the Heart: Centering Prayer for Children
By: Frank Jelenek, Ann Boyajian
Paraclete Press / 2007 / Paperback
This new resource has been declared Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur by William B. Smith, S.T.D., Censor Librorum and Dennis J. Sullivan, Vicar General, Archdiocese of New York Millions of books have been sold, teaching adults the practice of centering prayer. Finally, a guide for children!
Centering prayer is a way of opening our whole being to God, beyond thoughts, words and emotions. It is simple and practical—a way of preparing heart and mind to receive the gift of intimate relationship with God. Jesus said, “When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)
Frank Jelenek shows young children just how to do that. The first guide to a contemplative prayer practice for children [emphasis mine], Journey to the Heart both instructs and inspires. Many parents and teachers will learn from this colorful treasure of a book, as well! Until now, parents and teachers had no resource available to introduce children to the joys of communicating with God in this special, intimate way.
This loving book makes it easy for children to share in the spiritual nourishment of centering prayer through age-appropriate illustrations and text that provides clear directions and encouragement in simple, fun language. Ideal for ages 3 – 10.
Contemplative prayer would seem to be a discipline more suited to adults than children, but this easily understandable book offers a framework that even primary-schoolers can work within. The book begins by introducing the concept of the soul explaining that a journey to the deepest part of the heart is time to commune with God and Jesus. First, the book suggests choosing a secret word or phrase such as faith, Father, Jesus, or Holy Spirit.Then, it recommends sitting silently, eyes closed, feet on the floor; if others are participating, it suggests placing chairs in a prayer circle. The next step involves saying the secret word silently while resting within. When other thoughts intrude, participants can let them float away during the six moments of silence they are to spend with God. The session ends with the Our Father. The gentle text encourages children, and the attractive, simple pictures, often depicting people at prayer, are done in warm, gentle colors. An unusual, peaceful offering. Booklist October 2007
And following is the Amazon link to this book. You will be able to read actual pages from the book, locate similar titles for children (what an abomination!), and read comments from readers:
Perhaps you think this book will not be used in an evangelical church’s Spiritual Formation program for children. Think again! If an evangelical church is into Spiritual Formation, the church already endorses ecumenical and interfaith authors – Catholic, mainline/liberal, Emergent, etc. The above Catholic book would be just one more on its list of “wonderful resources.” Scary!