Contemplative Prayer isn’t prayer at all..

I’m amazed at how easily members of the body of Christ are swallowing the in-your-face deception that keeps coming down the line.  Case in point, my own pastor.  Our church has been promoting Beth Moore “workshops” recently…  OK so Beth Moore was one of the special guest-speakers on the Be Still DVD.. that I went out and bought so I could see it for myself.  I shared the DVD as well as plenty of notes I’d taken on it with my pastor and now, three months later, we’re still waiting to see if all this info fell on deaf ears or not..

The Be Still DVD has been out for a few years.  All the extra-special Contemplative advocates (like Beth) sing the praises of the occult experience – calling it godly.  Max Lucado, Dallas Willard, Phyllis Shirer are just a few of the ones who have been so blessed by practicing it….  Yes, I’m being very sarcastic.

Speaking of deception within the body, here’s another report: From a sister-in-Christ:

A friend recently said she went back to a church she had been to long ago. The pastor was so good (!) so she returned the next week in anticipation—–only for him to ‘warn’ everyone that the internet is full of nay-sayers about emergent and then began to teach everyone in the sermon how to do Lectio Divina—which is pure evil because it’s mysticism and mysticism is very much an occult practice.

From her email: “Yesterday I attended the morning service looking foward to what the Pastor had to share. He was preaching on the Word of God and the importance of understanding Scripture. I thought, hmmm sounds good so far. Then he said something that made me bristle up a bit and pay very close attention to every word he said from that point on. He said, the Bible is not only a God book it is also a human book as well. I was like huh?  Then he proceeded to talk about some off his favorite authors, one being a man called Leonard Sweet. I began to feel really uneasy.

Leonard Sweet is one of the head leaders of the Emergent Church Movement.  Then believe it or not the Pastor said, I am going to guide you in an ancient practice called Lectio Divina. As he began to teach and guide the congregation in it, I quickly walked out and sat in the lobby. I was churning inside. And waited for the service (if it can even be called that) to end so that I could speak to the Pastor.

Afterwards, I went and spoke to the Pastor and explained my concern about the Emergent Movement, Leonard Sweet and Lectio Divina. He seemed a bit uptight but as I spoke to him I kindly smiled and he seemed to relax a bit. He asked me where I got all my information. I told him that I do a lot of reading online. He said to be careful of reading online because there are alot of fundamentalists that hate things like Lectio Divina and such. He said If I could prove to him the dangers of it, citing my source that he would gladly read and consider it. My thoughts were “Yeah right, I am a nobody and you are a trained Pastor. I am uneducated and am barely able to try to tell you that something is terribly wrong here”… I said ok and thank you for your time.

I left and will never go back there.

People outside were saying Oh what a wonderful service that was! Are they nuts or what? Do they blindly eat wahtever is offered up to them without any questions? Do they have such blind faith in the Pastor and yet not much (obviously) in the Word of God?!?!

Folks, whether you agree with this next statement or not is your choice.  I believe this entier world is undergoing the same type of birth pangs as a woman in labor.  If it’s not earthquakes or floods, it’s birds falling from the sky.  It’s as though the earth itself is saying, “Enough!” 

How many believers in Christ who have in effect ‘put their hand to the plow’ are swallowing this deception and are (instead) ‘turning back’ without even realizing it?

If you’re reading this and are one of the many who practice Contemplative prayer, please consider this post a warning to you.  It is nothing but mysticism.  It is an occult practice and is not of God.  Don’t allow yourself to believe that ‘because of the wonderful way it makes you feel, it just must be of God” — nothing could be further from the truth.

The body of Christ needs to quit assuming that everything a church promotes, a bookstore sells, a TV station airs or a friend tells you about is of God.  It is time for each and every one of us to be accountable for our beliefs.  I want to stand before the Lord one day and hear Him say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant!”  Because if we don’t hear Him say that, we know what the other half of that statement will be…

Never forget for a moment that contemplative prayer puts the person practicing it in direct contact with familiar spirits — nothing but familiar and unholy spirits and/or demons.   And Lectio Divina is just another name for the vehicle used to take you there if you practice it.

It doesn’t matter what branch/denomination you are.  Catholic, protestant, charismatic, any of them will do — and if you’re practicing Contemplative Prayer, you may feel like you’re ever so close to God, but it isn’t God you’re communing with when you do it.

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21 thoughts on “Contemplative Prayer isn’t prayer at all..”

  1. The emergent church movement is perhaps the greatest threat to Evangelical Christianity today. Leonard Sweet, Brian McLaren, Donal Miller, and others are attempting to destroy the fabric of Scripture. It’s good to see another person who wasn’t deceived.

  2. I agree with you 100% on that. So many believers in Christ are swallowing this hook, line and sinker.

    Sadly, my own pastor got with me this weekend, following up with me on a stack of material I’d given him in December about Beth Moore. Included was the DVD, ‘Be Still’, which is all about the wonders of Contemplative Prayer.
    (I’d asked him to stop offering Beth Moore workshops to all the ladies at church since Beth is a huge advocate of Contemplative.) I mean, SHE SAYS SO ON THE DVD!

    But all my pastor could tell me was that 1.) He agreed that Contemplative was bad but 2.) That he “just hadn’t seen enough to quit promoting Beth Moore since she and so many other speakers listed on the material were just sooo well known and marvelous teachers and they just loved the Lord so much!” (That in addition to the fact that “she’s one of LifeWay’s best selling authors!”)

    You know who the head speaker on that DVD was? Contemplative promoter, Dallas Willard. Then as you’re listening, you get to hear ALL the other speakers, including Beth Moore and Phyllis Shirer et al singing the praises of one Catholic mystic after another after another. Then here’s Dallas Willard who talks about contemplative prayer like anyone who DOESN’T practice it isn’t even connecting with God at all!

    Join me in praying God will remove the blinders from their eyes.

  3. I totally agree with this statement: “The body of Christ needs to quit assuming that everything a church promotes, a bookstore sells, a TV station airs or a friend tells you about is of God.”

    Now I have a question – Are you susceptible to this as well? Is it at all possible that what you’ve been taught and accepted may not be consistent with biblical teaching?

  4. Can you define “contemplative prayer” in the context you are using it? Just want to make sure I understand what you are referring to…. Thanks.

  5. I am not trying to be dull, but what exactly is dangerous or sinister about Lectio Divina?

  6. Go back to school. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Rather, you are attacking evangelicals who are true to the Christ found in scripture.

  7. @Todd: What is the belief of “Evangelical Christianity” that the “Emergent Movement” is threatening? I need help to understand. If Contemplative Prayer is getting us in touch with familiar and unholy spirits, how do you propose we pray? Could you give me an example of how you get in touch with God?

    Thanks for helping me understand this better.

  8. Nowhere in the Bible is prayer a technique or a way to go beyond thinking. Creating a whole theology of prayer apart from the Bible is dangerous because we are entering an area of “truth based on experience”, and therefore, an area where we can be deceived. CP teachers tell us that prayer is listening to and having “divine union” with God, but the Bible presents prayer as words and thoughts. CP tells us to focus inward, but the Bible admonishes us to focus outward on the Lord.

    An evaluation of CP reveals it to be a mixture of New Age and Eastern techniques and concepts that exist outside the Bible.

    Even the name, “Contemplative Prayer”, is a misnomer, since it is neither contemplation nor prayer as found in the Bible.

    We should be wary of any instruction that advises us to:

    -Breathe a certain way before or during prayer
    -Maintain a certain posture or bodily position
    -Repeat a word or phrase, even if it’s from the Bible, or use a word or phrase to stay “focused”
    -Go beyond thinking or thought
    -To turn inward in order to find or be with God
    -Be in total silence or in a complete, mental void in order to truly pray
    -Believe that CP is true prayer

    Hope this helped. p.s. One more thought on how to really get in touch with God — go back to the book of Luke and re-read the beatitudes.

  9. Jeff Stewart,

    Jeff,

    I believe the entire body of Christ is susceptible to deception if they’re not grounded in God’s Word. When we stop coming ‘as little children’ and try going beyond, to bigger, better and greater things, I believe we all run the risk of missing it. Why else would Jesus have warned us so many times in His Word that ‘if it were possible, it would deceive even the very elect’?

    We are living in the Laodicean age, Jeff. How many warnings did He give us? I read a post last week about a girl who was so excited because she had “received a personal prophecy” in which she was told that “God was going to give her the ability to never fall again” and that she would “be able to fool the enemy”. OF COURSE SHE WAS THRILLED – who wouldn’t be?!

    Only one problem with that though… it didn’t line up with scripture one bit.

    Yes. There is no one who, apart from God’s grace, is not susceptible to deception. So how do we exercise that grace? By staying humble and in His Word…and remembering that apart from Him, we can do nothing.

  10. Michael Todd,

    What’s wrong with Lectio Divina? Mysticism, Michael. It doesn’t really matter what branch/what faith it originated in be it Catholic or not. It’s mysticism.

  11. N,

    CP has directions (below) how to do it.

    If we are to contemplative God, we do not need a technique – we just do it. Yet the CP techniques are very close to Buddhist meditation techniques and are taught, along with urgings to repeat a word.

    HOW TO DO IT:

    1. Find a simple and a quiet place where you can be comfortable for about 20 minutes – but “no counting sheep position”.

    2. Take a few deep breaths.

    3. Begin to relax and slow yourself down…

    4. As you inhale, think of the Holy Spirit breathing life & peace into your body

    5. As you exhale, remember the verse that says, “Cast all your cares upon Him.”

    READ: “Choose a short passage and read it through 4 – 5 times, each time I read it aloud, I read it a little more quietly until the last time is almost silent, then I try to say it again from memory.”

    ((NOTE: This is actually a form of self-induced hypnosis. Since when do we need to alter our breathing to pray? Why didn’t Jesus instruct His disciples to pray this way?))

    ((* What is the definition of Contemplative Prayer? Definition of Contemplative Spirituality: a belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is often wrapped in Christian terminology; the premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all).

    But when you get past that official sounding definition, it goes back to a really simple question – why didn’t Jesus teach CP? And beyond that, why do non-Christian faiths practice it?

  12. Blair,

    Thank you for your loving admonition. . . The ones who sound the alarms are seldom if ever appreciated.

    A person who is preaching heresy, Blair, might have some fantastic “sounding” lessons, but it’s pure venom coming out of their mouth and it isn’t Christ they’re glorifying.

    It is in love that I’m “sounding that alarm”, Blair.

    Blessings to you

  13. Try really reading the scriptures and tell me or show me anywhere where contemplative (centering) prayer is taught. If the scriptures are to be sufficient for life, for the training of the believer, then where is it that it teaches this type of prayer? Google contemplative prayer and do some research. If the scriptures are silent on the matter then why is the church not silent and why does the “church” practice something that cannot be tested (berean) through the “Word” of our Lord God?

    Where is mysticism allowed in the scriptures, the way of paganism we are told to stay away from.

  14. I am not sure what is wrong with mysticism and I practice Lectio Divina, but I am not posting to change your mind. I am a friend with Dr. Sweet, and I just thought I’d ask why Lectio Divina was alarming. I still am unclear why it is, but I will not press you further.

  15. Why do you practice something that is not in the scriptures? What makes you think what you practice id from God? Because somebody said it was? How do they know that they got it right? Maybe God didn’t tell them of this practice? Prove to me in brean style where we are given this method as a viable method.

  16. And you probably “go to church” on Sunday which is a practice that is not in the scriptures. Keep in mind that someone special taught a principle that has to do with using measures against others that can be reversed and thrust back at yourself.

  17. You asked why I would practice something which is not mentioned in Scriptures, and my answer to that is that Scriptures are fantastic, but doctrinally, I am a United Methodist, and we are prima scriptura, not sola scriptura. I am fine with my sola scriptura brethren, and I bless them.

    I once heard a Charismatic minister say, “It is difficult to expect the same fruits of the early church when we value a book they didn’t have more than the Holy Spirit they did have.” I do not quote that to slap my sola scriptura brethren in the face, but the Bereans were searching what we call the Old Testament to verify what Paul spoke was accurate. I have no idea how that went down. They didn’t bind books then as we do now, and few people owned individual copies of the Torah. From what I gather, until the Reformation, Scriptures were read in community, and interpreted in community. That even applies for Lectio Divina. That was a privilege of monks, the desert fathers,who could transcribe their own copies or a portion of their own copies of Scriptures. As some of the posts who are attempting to quickly argue with you are pointing out (though I wince at their lack of tact) is that much of what we revere today is not contemporaneous with what was adhered to by Christians at the time when Scriptures were composed. New practices evolve, and what we think we do now that they did then, just likely isn’t the case.

    Also, I am not afraid. I do not live in fear. I live in faith. I have the Holy Spirit. He teaches me. He is present, active, and lives within me. My spirit communes with God, whether I exercise my physical, mental, or spiritual body. I learned to discern God’s voice through Scripture, and I cannot express how highly I regard the Bible, but once I learned what His voice sounds like, I hear Him always, not just in moments I read His revelation of how He saved humanity.

    It would make me sad to find out God despises Lectio Divina, for I do believe that God is tender, and is not a rigid prescriptivist. If I practice Lectio Divina, I do not believe He is furious with me, seeing that I am doing so to commune with Him. I believe that God is more akin of the Father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, but it is possible I am wrong. He could be more akin to the Prodigal Son’s embittered brother; gets upset easily, holds grudges, and sits outside and sulks as I party it up in my ignorance. I really don’t think that God is like that. I think he is generous and loving, and even if I was insulting and foolish. Alas, as stated, it is possible, I have God all wrong. Either way, if God is like the Prodigal Son’s brother, then I really don’t want to have a relationship with Him.

  18. Michael, keep on practicing it if that’s what you believe you’ve got the go ahead to do. You’re a big boy. But I’d like a simple answer as to why Jesus didn’t teach it? Why didn’t He teach His disciples to focus on a scripture, repeating it ov er and over ..

    Why didn’t He give His disciples pointers on how to slow their breathing? Focus their thoughts into a distinct point of nothingness – or to a place of mental void?

    And the big question: Why on earth did He go to the trouble of teaching them HIS example of what to model our prayers after – i.e. the Lord’s prayer? Which requires an active part mentally.. I mean, you can be meditating on His goodness as you pray it, but you’re still actively praying – ya know?

    RE: The prodigal son: You said, “He (God) could be more akin to the Prodigal Son’s embittered brother; gets upset easily, holds grudges, and sits outside and sulks as I party it up in my ignorance.” <–Michael, son you blew yourself out of the water, man. You see, now you've read this and probably other blogs about Contemplative/Lectio Divina and now you can "keep partying" bro, but it officially isn't done in ignorance anymore.

    And I'll be praying for you. For real. Because with Contemplative/Lectio Divina, the spiritual highs are more addictive than heroine. Once you try it, you're hooked. Break free, man. You can do it with His help.

  19. Carol,

    There’s going to be a lot of people who will stand before God one day soon. EACH of us gives an account of what we did and why. I don’t want to say, “I did that because “I thought” it was OK. I mean, everyone ELSE was doing it…”

    Why else would we be told to study to show ourselves approved?

    And rather than me answer your question as to “how” should we pray, you tell me. What are your thoughts? And how do they line up with scripture?

  20. That is not what I do during Lectio Divina. I just ask God to speak to me through a passage in Scripture. I do read it over and over, but maybe I am practicing a variant of eisegesis. *smile*

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