The practice of Welcoming Prayer

Focus and sink in.

Notice how you are feeling right now. It’s not about amplifying your feeling or justifying it. It’s about feeling the feeling. Allow yourself to become immersed in it. Let it wash over you. Don’t run away from it or fight it. Just feel what it’s like to be experiencing it.

The word “feel” can mean either to have a physical experience of touching, or to have a mental experience of encountering an emotion. Connect those two. Feel the emotion physically. Notice your body, how you are tense or anxious or hot or fidgety or lethargic. As with meditation, you are just observing the feeling, not trying to alter it.


You can only start from where you are, and you can only move forward, if you accept where you are. So, now, affirm the rightness of where you are by welcoming the emotion, and acknowledging God’s presence in the moment. You do this by literally saying, “Welcome, [feeling].” If you are frozen in fear, say, “Welcome, fear.” Hot with rage, say, “Welcome, rage.”

Note: We’re talking here about feelings and emotions, not problems and physical hardships. We are not welcoming illness or injustice. If you are looking for relief from the struggle with a problem or illness through the welcoming prayer, think about what negative emotion or feeling is being kicked up. (It will likely be a variety of fear or anger.) You might be angry about unfairness or afraid of the future. Remember, the welcoming prayer is for feelings and emotions, not what triggered them.

Many resist the idea of accepting where they are, especially when where they are is not good. But there’s nothing passive about acceptance. Acceptance merely establishes you in reality so that you can respond to a situation effectively. If you are terrified about a health issue, that fear may be immobilizing you; accepting and then releasing the fear may free you to be able to deal with the issue.

Let go. 

There are at least four ways to let go in the welcoming prayer. Mary Mrozowski’s original version uses a fixed statement. You say these lines no matter what the specific issue:

“I let go of my desire for security and survival.

I let go of my desire for esteem and affection.

I let go of my desire for power and control.

I let go of my desire to change the situation.”

Another version takes just that last line and ties it to the current situation:

“I let go of the desire to change this feeling.”

A third alternative is even briefer, and names the feeling:

“I let go of my [fear/anger/etc.].”

And finally, my favorite, for its added depth with the same economy of words:

“God, I give you my [fear/anger/etc.].”

Pastor Charisse