Sunday, July 8, 2012

Is Contemplative Prayer Scriptural and Acceptable to God?


Counterfeit money has always been an ongoing problem for banks and the government mints. Much has been done to change money to make it impossible to counterfeit, but it seems that no matter how much they change money to make it more difficult to copy, the counterfeiters continue to think up ways to beat the system. To try to mitigate this problem as much as possible, banks teach their people to immediately recognize counterfeit money. And how do they do this? By having them study lots and lots of counterfeit money? No. They teach them to recognize counterfeit money by having them study and study and study real money. Once a person knows the real article so intimately, a copy or false article immediately stands out as having something wrong. Even if they do not immediately recognize what the problem is, their subconscious recognizes that there is a discrepancy and bells and alarms go off in their heads telling them something is wrong. In time by studying the money, they discover what set off those alarms. The lesson to be learned here is that to recognize a phony or false representation of something, we must have intimate knowledge of and experience with the real thing. Just ask antique dealers. Only in knowing the real thing so well will our subconscious warn us that something is amiss, even if we do not immediately recognize what the problem is, and we, like the bankers, can make sure that we are not cheated or bamboozled by the phony article that can cost us dearly.

To that end, before we can discuss contemplative prayer, we must first examine the real thing. But before doing that there is a major fact about praying that everybody should understand. If you do not know the Lord as your God and Savior, if you are an unbeliever, your prayers will not be heard by God at all, and even a Christian must be in good standing of righteousness to be heard. Proverbs 15:29 “The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.”

To find out what the real article of prayer is and what God expects and wants in the way of prayer, we need to look at the Bible and see what it says about prayer and how we are to pray. Before getting into the components of prayer, we need to see if our physical presentation is of any importance. We see in the Bible that prayer can be offered in a number of different positions. We can stand. Nehemiah 9:5 “Then the Levites, Jeshua, and Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.” Luke 18:10-13 “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”

We can kneel when praying. Ezra 9:5 “And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God.” Luke 22:41 “And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed.” Acts 9:40 “But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.” Acts 20:36 “And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.”

We can sit when we pray. 1 Chronicles 17:16 “And David the king came and sat before the LORD, and said, Who am I, O LORD God, and what is mine house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?” This verse is followed by a more lengthy prayer by David. 2 Samuel 7:18 “Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?”

We can bow our heads down when we pray. Genesis 24:26 “And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD.” Exodus 34:8-9 “And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.

We can bow down to the ground and lie prostrate. Genesis 24:52 “And it came to pass, that, when Abraham's servant heard their words, he worshipped the LORD, bowing himself to the earth.” 2 Samuel 12:16 “David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.

We can pray with hands lifted up. Nehemiah 8:6 “And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.” 1 Timothy 2:8 “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

Men should have their heads uncovered, and women should have their heads covered. (See my article on Headcoverings for more on this subject
http://bibleconundrumsandcontroversy.blogspot.com/2011/01/head-coverings.html  ). 1 Corinthians 11:4-5 “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.”

These then are the physical postures mentioned in the Bible for praying. As this covers just about every physical posture we can easily do – standing, sitting, kneeling, lying prostrate, heads bowed, and hands lifted (optional) we can see that God cares much less about our body's position than He does about the content of our prayer. So now we need to see what the characteristics of a prayer, as the Bible teaches, are.

In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus explains to His disciples how they should pray. Probably the most famous prayer in the world is the prayer that Jesus used to teach his disciples how to pray. We call it the Lord's Prayer, and it is recited in many churches every Sunday. We find this prayer in the passage in Matthew 6:5-13 (as well as in Luke 11) “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

What are some things we learn from this passage? We learn the following:

  1. Do not be hypocritical by making a big show of doing it. Do it in secret and privacy where you can be honest with God. He knows everything anyhow.
  2. Do not use repetition, especially vain repetition. What is vain repetition? Vain repetition is words that have no content or meaning behind them. They are simply words that are recited mindlessly with no intelligent communication to God in them.
  3. Be respectful to God, acknowledging who He is, and your relationship to Him.
  4. Praise Him.
  5. Show Him your desire for His kingdom (and Christ's return) to be implemented and that God's will may be done now and in the future here on earth as it already is in heaven.
  6. Make your supplications known. This includes supplications for yourself which should be not for the luxuries of life, but that God would supply your needs, as well as intercession for the needs of others.
  7. Confess your sins and asking for forgiveness asking for help in forgiving others of the sins they have committed against you.
  8. Pray that God will keep you from being tempted to fall into sin,

One thing that is not readily apparent is that we should also include thanksgiving in our prayers for all the blessings that God has given us. What else does Matthew 6 teach us about prayer beyond the prayer that Jesus taught the disciples? Well, quite a bit in fact.

First, there are several types of prayer. The first distinction is between public and private.

Yeshua had this to say about private prayer. Matthew 6:6 “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” When we are having our own personal time with the Lord, we are to go somewhere where we will not be disturbed by the constant interruptions of life. In this day and age having any time of quiet is a hard thing to find. Especially for a family with younger children. We have much demanding our time – work, home chores, children, social obligations, church obligations, etc. Most people find that they have very little time left for the Lord, and if they do find some time, generally it is not without interruptions like telephone calls and the like. God wants our full attention and we need to find a quiet time and a quiet place to spend time with Him. Personally I find that I can stay much better focused if I speak my prayer aloud rather than just think them silently, and I need to be very honest with God which means that I would prefer not to be overheard, so getting alone in a very private quiet place is really essential. This generally means for me that I have to do this in the early morning or late at night. I would imagine that this is true for most people, as the cares of life tend to take up the rest of the day. I happen to live out in the country, so another private time for me is when I go out to hike through the fields or walk on the road. There is very little traffic and somehow for me I feel closer to God when I am out in nature.

Does this mean that we should always and only pray in private? No, Yeshua also said this. Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Clearly prayer of two or more is also important in that Christ is in the midst of them when they do pray. And there is an added benefit of having someone praying with you in agreement with the prayer. Matthew 18:19 “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” When two people are praying for the same thing, it generally is not about something selfish, which can happen when only one person is praying, so God sees that it is important. Notice what the promise is. He has promised that if two people are in agreement there is a good chance God will do it for them. So it can be seen that if two agree on something, how much more powerful would it be if a group of people agree on the prayer?

There is more to this passage in Matthew, but that will be left until later in this article, as it is a crucial piece of information about what classifies as the real article of prayer, as taught by God and Yeshua.

Continuing on, prayer, as shown by Christ's example above, has different parts to it. The first part should be our praise and adoration of God, as demonstrated by the Lord's prayer. When Zacharias got his power of speech back after John the Baptist was born, the first thing out of his mouth was praise for God, as it should be out of our mouths. Luke 1:64 “And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God.” When the blind man was given his sight back, what was the first thing he did? “And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.” We are always being given blessings by God, so the first thing we should do when we speak to Him is praise Him. When Paul and Silas were thrown into prison, what did they do? Acts 16:25 “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” Hebrews 13:15 tells us “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” It would appear that we are to be praising God continually, so most certainly it has to be a vital and prominent part of our prayer life.

1 Timothy 2:1 gives us some other important characteristics of prayer. “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.”

We can see from this verse that another part to prayer is thanksgiving. Before we start making requests, does it not seem right that we should take the time to praise and thank God first? Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” When we pray, no matter what the prayer is for, we are to offer it along with thanksgiving. How much more would you answer your child's request if first they made a point of acknowledging all that you have already done for them or given them? God is no different. He likes to know we appreciate and acknowledge all that he has done for us. My two adult sons have a terrible habit which drives me crazy. They procrastinate. I found it especially annoying that this habit found its way into many of their school assignments even through college. From the time they were little, we had a practice of going to God with every little problem and He in His infinite wisdom when they were little, had a habit of always answering their requests. I believe He did this to increase their faith. Unfortunately, He overdid it, as they both now have the attitude that God will handle everything and they don't have to worry about it. While this is a good attitude to have – not to worry, I don't think God intended to teach them to be irresponsible and leave things to the last minute. Yet He continues to pull, as they tend to put it, their “fannies out of the fire.” I guess He continues to do it, as they never take the credit for anything they do, but constantly give Him the glory for everything they achieve, for they know that they could not have done it at the last minute without His help. To date, they have been extremely successful in school and the older one in work. The younger one just graduated college and is looking for work in a field that is quite closed at the moment, but given God's history with them I have no doubt the perfect job is right around the corner. Obviously praise and thanksgiving has made a difference in their lives, even if I think they are pushing it just a little.

One thing that we should daily give thanks for is the food we eat. Without God supplying our needs in this respect we would starve to death. Christ gives us this example of giving thanks over food when He fed the multitudes with the loaves and fish, Matthew 15:36 “And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.” (Also found in Mark 8:6 and John 6:11.) Yeshua also gave thanks and blessed the bread and wine at the Last Supper. Matthew 26:27 “ And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it.” Luke 22:19 “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” (Also found in Mark 14:23, Luke 22:17, and John 6:11.) Paul also reminded us by example that we should give thanks over food. When he was being taken to Caesar and the ship was in trouble he told the soldiers that they should eat and not worry. Acts 27:35 “And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.” He continued to mention the importance of thanking God for food in the following verses. We are to thank God whether we are eating or not eating something in particular, or even fasting. Romans 14:6 “He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.” 1 Timothy 4:3-4 “ Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.

While Paul does mention food a number of times in regards to thanking God, we are to thank God for absolutely everything. And further we are to offer our thanksgivings in the name of Jesus Christ, which is why most people end their prayers with some form of the following phrase, “in Jesus' (or Yeshua's) name. Amen.” Colossians 3:17 “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” All things, no matter whether good or bad, deserve our thanksgiving, for all things in a Christian's life are controlled by God and allowed by Him for our good. Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Colossians 4:2 “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” In fact the things that should come out of our mouths most of the time are praise and thanksgiving, not what seems to come out of a lot of Christian's mouths. Galatians 5:4 “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.” and again Hebrews 13:15 “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” So all prayer should have as a mandatory part of its core being, thanksgiving as well as praise.

The next component of prayer according to Scripture is confession. Confession is necessary for salvation and continual forgiveness of sins. Confession is made to God as a part of prayer. Romans 10:9-10 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 4:15 “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” While confession of our sins is made to God, we find help in being accountable and getting much needed help in conquering our sins, if we confide our problems and needs to others and ask for intercessory prayer. James 5:16a “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.”

A vital part of prayer, and a part that will probably take up most of your prayer time is that of intercession. We are told that we are to pray for other believers and we should pray for the salvation of unbelievers also. The above James 5:16a tells us to pray for each other as does 1 John 5:16. “If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. Paul asks for intercessory prayer in 2 Thessalonians 3:1 “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you.” He also offers intercessory prayer for others. 1 Thessalonians 1:2 “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers.

The Scripture is full of examples of people praying for others right from Genesis onward. In Genesis 20, Abraham had passed Sarah off to King Abimelech as his sister. As she was beautiful, Abimelech took her. He was visited by God who said He would destroy not only him, but everyone who belonged to him, but that if he gave Sarah back to Abraham and Abraham prayed for him, all would be well. Verse 7, 17 “
Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.......So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.” Intercessory pray can be found from that point on all through the Scriptures. The number of examples one can find are so abundant that is apparent that God expects us to intercede for others.

For unbelievers there are several things for which we can pray. We are to pray for the salvation of those who do not believe. Matthew 9:38 “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2 “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.”
We should pray for their deliverance from demonic control. Matthew 17:21 “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:29 “And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
One of the ways that we can intercede for other Christians is for their healing. In James 5:14-15 we see that one of the directives that God gives us for healing is something that is ignored by much of the Church. “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” If someone is sick, they should call upon the elders of the church to anoint him and offer intercessory prayer on his behalf. Prayer for healing, if offered in this manner by faith, will save the sick. And not only his sickness will be healed, but he will be forgiven his sins. This would seem to be contingent, though, upon the rest of the instructions in the passage, for the verse that follows these verses is one we have seen before. James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Notice that for the forgiveness to be extended, confession of our faults to others must be acted upon. Sometimes sickness is a result of sin, therefore for the elders to be effective in anointing and praying, part of the healing process must be confession of sins.

Some other things for which we should offer intercessory prayer are the following:

For our country – 2 Chronicles 6:38-39, 7:14 “If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name: Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee........If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Our country will only be healed of its problems when its people humble themselves, get on their knees and pray for it. As our country has a serious problem with arrogance and disrespect toward God, I do not see this happening. Our country can expect that God will continue to chastise us until He finally gives up and simply pours out His wrath.

For our government and officials – Ezra 6:10 “That they may offer sacrifices of sweet savours unto the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” Why should we pray for our government and officials? Because God has given them authority over us. Romans 13:1-8 “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”

For those under our authority – 1 Samuel 12:19 “And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.” Paul prayed for those under his shepherding. 2 Timothy 1:3 “I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day.”

For your enemies/unbelievers – Matthew 5:44 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

Another part of pray has to do with our own personal problems, needs, and desires. It can be called requests, petitions, or supplications. 1 Timothy 2:1 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.” Notice the parts of prayer that Paul outline in this verse. These are the parts we have covered. Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Supplication means to ask for humbly or earnestly. This is how these requests should be made known to God, along with thanksgiving as before mentioned. The areas that our petitions should address are the following:

Forgiveness for our sins – Matthew 6:12 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Luke 11:4a “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. ” Both of these verses are part of the Lord's Prayer. Clearly we need to be asking for forgiveness, but there is something more required to obtaining God's forgiveness. Notice all of these following verses.

Matthew 6:14-15 “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Matthew 18:21-35 “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”

Mark 11:25-26 “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. ”

Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.”

Ephesians 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”

Not only is our forgiveness of others important in our own forgiveness, it is also important in getting them their forgiveness from God.

2 Corinthians 2:10 “To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ.”

Another part of our petitioning is for deliverance from temptation – Matthew 6:13 “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” Luke 11:4b “And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”

Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. “

Mark 14:38 “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.”

Luke 22:40 “And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.”

Luke 22:46 “And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.”

1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” The only way to escape temptation as seen by the many above verses is to pray to escape it, for God makes a way for us to escape it. He promises this again in this next verse.

2 Peter 2:9 “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.”

Why is it so important to pray to escape temptation? Because there is great reward – a crown of life.

James 1:12 “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”

We need to pray for our daily needs. God is our supplier of all our needs, but we need to let Him know what we need and want (even though He has knowledge of our needs before we even ask, He still likes to be asked.) Matthew 6:11 “Give us this day our daily bread.” Luke 11:3 “Give us day by day our daily bread.”

Philippians 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

We need to pray not only for others healing as illustrated earlier in intercessory prayer, but for our own healing from sickness and suffering. James 5:13 “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray.”

The one prayer that God will always answer in the affirmative is one for wisdom. As long as you have faith it will be answered. James 1:5-7 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

We should always be praying for guidance, as God does not force His will upon us, but waits upon us to ask for it. The disciples prayed for guidance in choosing a replacement for Judas. Acts 1:24 “And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen.”

Christ prayed for the Father to send the Holy Spirit to guide us. John 14:16 “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” It is the Holy Spirit who guides us.

John 16:13 “
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

Psalms 25:9 “The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.

Psalms 313 “For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.”

Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”

We need to pray to escape the coming Great Tribulation (pre-tribs do not believe they will be here, but they will. Read my articles on that here, http://bibleconundrumsandcontroversy.blogspot.com/2012/02/pre-tribulation-rapture-has-serious.html
or go to my other blog that teaches Bible prophecy http://endtimesstudies.blogspot.com/.)


Matthew 24:20 “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day.

Mark 13:18 “And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.”

Luke 21:36 “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”

Prayer is needed for protection.

Psalms 91 “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.”
Now that we have seen all the many things that we need to be including in our prayers, we need to see how to get the answers we desire. There are some requirements that must be met to gain God's approval and some hindrances that prevent God from even hearing our prayers.

We must be pure of heart, so we must purge ourselves of sin, confess, and repent. Psalms 66:18-19 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.

We must pray with faith and belief. Matthew 21:21-22 “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”

Mark 11:24 “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

James 1:6 “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”

We need to pray according to God's will, not our own. 1 John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”

We need to pray fervently and with persistance. James 5:16b The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:17 “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.”

Luke 18:1-7 “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

Luke 11:5-13 “And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

As already mentioned before, things must be asked in Christ's name. John 14:13-14 “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” John 16:23-24 “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

We are to pray without ceasing. (not necessarily for specific petitions, although you can do that as the woman in the parable, but as an action). 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”

We should pray with pure motives, not out of selfish desires. James 4:3 “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

We need to pray with forgiveness toward others. This was already covered above where we were told that if we do not forgive others, then God will not forgive us. (See above for references).

We need to pray with humility. Luke 18:10-14 “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

We need to pray in unity with other believers. We have already seen this verse before. Matthew 18:19 “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”

There is one more thing in this list of do's as to how we are to pray, but I am leaving that for the end as it is the crucial point in this article. Having covered the do's, we need to look at the do not's. There are ways of praying that hinder or completely prevent our prayers from being heard. Some of these are the opposite of the do's (makes sense), but need to be adhered to as much as the do's must be.

Do not pray self-righteously. We know that we should pray with humility, but God also hates people who pray with arrogance, self-righteousness, and pride. What is important to remember when praying in private or in public, whether in a group situation like a prayer meeting where all take a turn, or when leading a prayer for a congregation is to avoid a show of the aforementioned attitudes. Matthew 6:5 “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” Luke 18:10-14 “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

We are not to make an ostentatious show of praying. It is arrogant and attention getting, and this is not pleasing to God, for in so doing one is trying to put on an air of self-righteousness, which then makes one hypocritical. We are to be humble when praying, not looking for people to be impressed with us. The place that I tend to see this happening is not only in churches, but out in restaurants. While we should thank God for our food, even when out in public, we should not do it ostentatiously by praying very loudly so everyone can hear, as if that is some sort of testimony. I have seen many people do this thinking that they are being a good witness, when in fact it is not. It is a show of self-righteousness and it does not impress people. Plus, it hinders our prayer. Far better to bow heads and quietly pray so that only those at the table hear it. You should not be drawing attention to yourselves, but show a humble attitude that people might notice. They will know you are praying and realize that you are probably a Christian. You don't have to announce it to the world that this is what you are doing. The one thing that people notice is the attitude with which you pray. If you are carrying on like some sort of old-time revival preacher with a loud roaring voice and showmanship attitude of piety that smacks of phoniness, you will do more harm for the Lord than good. If on the other hand when you are asked to pray publicly for a group you do it with a quiet humble attitude, moderate tone of voice, and behavior that does not look like a side show in the circus, you will reach people's hearts, and the Lord will hear you.

Men, do not to mistreat your wives. 1 Peter 3:7 “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

Do not disobey God's laws, as this will cause our prayers to not be heard. Proverbs 28:9 “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.”

Do not refuse to help others in need and turn a deaf ear to their cries for help or God will do the same to us with our prayers. Proverbs 21:13 “Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.

Do not doubt God can do anything. James 1:6-7 “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.”

Matthew 19:26 “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”

Mark 10:27 “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”

1 Timothy 2:8 “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

Now we come to the last two things about prayer that need to be discussed. One is a "do", and one is a "do not". The "do" can be found in 1 Corinthians 14. The church at Corinth was having a problem with people abusing the gift of tongues. It had gotten to the point where people were all babbling at the same time, without the benefit of anyone interpreting, and it was chaos. Paul chastised them for this behavior, not only for speaking in tongues in general this way, but for praying in tongues in this manner. Verses 14-15a “For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also.” Paul points out to them that prayer without any understanding on our part is unfruitful. How can we address all the things about which we are supposed to be praying – praise, thanksgiving, confession, intercession, and supplications, if we do not have any thought or intelligent thinking behind it. It is just mindless babble which could be anything. This is sort of both a "do" and a "don't". We are to pray with intelligent thought behind what we are praying and not just what appears to be meaningless babble. This is more of a danger than just mindless jabbering though. I knew of a case where people were speaking and praying in tongues, and nobody was translating or interpreting it within the church, but a visitor happened to be there that day and recognized one of the languages being spoken. It was Latin and the person, whether knowingly or not I do not know, was saying, “Satan is my master, I love Satan.” over and over. This is why Paul warned against speaking and praying in tongues that were unknown and not translated. So the lesson he was teaching here was, pray with meaning, understanding, and intelligence. This is necessary if we are to pray the way Yeshua taught us to pray.

The last thing that Yeshua speaks of in the passage in Matthew 6 is very pertinent to the subject of this article. Matthew 6:7-8 “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” I have left this to last, because it addresses the very problem found in contemplative prayer, vain repetition. We are not to use meaningless repetitive words like the heathen. In fact we are specifically told to not pray in this manner, for it is the manner of the heathens. It is meaningless rattle as far as God is concerned, because He knows what you need, and is simply waiting for you to ask for it. Meaningless babble or even repetitive prayers that say the same thing over and over are as meaningless to Him as they are to us. Most people repeat these kinds of prayers with no active mind engagement anyhow.

The last thing that needs to be addressed before moving on to examining contemplative prayer is the Biblical definition of meditation, for meditation is a huge part of contemplative prayer.

Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

Psalm 1:2 “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”

Psalm 77:12 “I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.”

Psalm 119:5 “I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.”

Psalm 119:48 “My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.”

Psalm 119:78 “My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.”

Psalm 119:148 “Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

Psalm 143:5 “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.”

1 Timothy 4:12-15 “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

In each and every case above, meditation does not refer to an emptying of the mind, but an active engagement of the mind. Meditation as used in the Bible is the old school definition, which means to think, ponder, consider, and have discourse on a subject. It is anything but inactive. The only definition of meditation by Bible standards is that we are to actively think about, consider, ponder, and dwell upon God's Word, His laws, His precepts, His works, His attributes, and etc. After reading a passage of Scripture, we should not just shove it out of our minds, but keep it there to consider and think about what it says, what it means, how we can apply it to our lives, and to pray about it.

Now that we know of what real prayer and meditation are according to the Scriptures, we can examine contemplative prayer and see if it passes the test of being real or is a counterfeit. To do this, we must see what contemplative prayer is.

The following information about the history of contemplative prayer was found at http://contemplativeoutreach.org and http://www.contemplativeprayer.net/.

Centering Prayer (which is the first step in contemplative prayer) is drawn from the ancient practices of the Christian contemplative heritage, notably the traditional monastic practice of Lectio Divina and the practices described in the anonymous fourteenth century classic The Cloud of Unknowing and in the writings of Christian mystics such as John Cassian, Francis de Sales, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Therese of Lisieux, and Thomas Merton.

In the 1970s, answering the call of Vatican II, three Trappist monks at St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, Fathers William Meninger, Basil Pennington and Thomas Keating, looked to these ancient sources to develop a simple method of silent prayer for contemporary people.

As abbot of St. Joseph's Abbey, Fr. Keating attended a meeting in Rome in 1971. At the meeting, Pope Paul VI called on the members of the clergy to revive the contemplative dimension of the Gospel in the lives of both monastic and lay people. Believing in the importance of this revival, Fr. Keating encouraged the monks at St. Joseph's to develop a method of Christian contemplative prayer with the same appeal and accessibility that Eastern meditation practices seemed to have for modern people.

In 1974, Father William Meninger, a Trappist monk and retreat master at St. Josephs Abbey in Spencer, Mass. found a dusty little book in the abbey library, The Cloud of Unknowing. As he read it he was delighted to discover that this anonymous 14th century book presented contemplative meditation as a teachable, spiritual process enabling the ordinary person to enter and receive a direct experience of union with God.

He quickly began teaching contemplative prayer according to The Cloud of Unknowing at the Abbey Retreat House. One year later his workshop was taken up by his Abbot, Thomas Keating, and Basil Pennington, both of whom had been looking for a teachable form of Christian contemplative meditation to offset the movement of young Catholics toward Eastern meditation techniques.

This form of meditation is known as “Centering Prayer”. The following information on centering prayer comes from http://www.centeringprayer.com/.

Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God's presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship.

Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer. Rather, it adds depth of meaning to all prayer and facilitates the movement from more active modes of prayer — verbal, mental or affective prayer — into a receptive prayer of resting in God. Centering Prayer emphasizes prayer as a personal relationship with God and as a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Him. The source of Centering Prayer, as in all methods leading to contemplative prayer, is the Indwelling Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The focus of Centering Prayer is the deepening of our relationship with the living Christ. The effects of Centering Prayer are ecclesial, as the prayer tends to build communities of faith and bond the members together in mutual friendship and love.

As this type of prayer began with the Catholic church, the directions for practicing this type of prayer reflect that ideology. According to the directions in an audio on http://www.contemplativeprayer.net/ the way to begin centering prayer is to have had confession first. Then find a comfortable, quiet place to sit. You are not to kneel, as you are to be as comfortable as possible. Then meditate (empty your mind) so that you can feel a stirring of love for God. Pray a very short prayer, in your own words, or if you have a short prayer you can recite it. This is supposed to put you in God's presence. Do not think about God, or His attributes (praise), or doctrine (God's precepts), or making petitions (whether intercessory or for yourself. You are not to do anything active, as these things are useless for this process. Thinking or remembering are obstacles as they clutter your mind, so empty your mind of them. You are not to dwell on God's attributes, (no praise, no thanksgiving) as they are of no use. You should rest (empty not engage) your mind. Contemplatives are not to pray in words. (No communication.) If words are used, it should only be one word (a mantra) such as God, Abba, or Father, and you repeat this over and over. Nothing else should be done. You should focus your attention on experiencing God's presence and not think about anything or anyone.

Now that we have seen what the people who teach this have to say about the history of it and centering prayer, we need to move on to contemplative prayer. Contemplative prayer is not what the word might suggest, contemplating while you pray. It is in fact the opposite. After spending a few minutes in centering prayer (chanting the mantra), the contemplative is to sit still, keeping their mind blank and experience God's presence, listening to see if God speaks to them. It is a receptive, passive form of prayer, not prayer that goes out to God. This should be done twice daily for 15-20 minutes. In time God will draw you to the point where you do not even need to chant the word to “enter into God's presence.” [This entrance into God's presence may take you out of your conscious self.] To end your contemplation, you need to say a vocal prayer such as the Lord's Prayer (or some other prayer such as one to Mary) as this is necessary to bring yourself back to consciousness, as this practice tends to lift you out of everyday consciousness. When distracting thoughts come, you need to ignore them.

So we now have via the teachers of this style of prayer themselves, a definition of what these prayers are. Having shown at the beginning what real prayer is according to the Scriptures, does this look like the real thing, or a counterfeit? Let us examine it more closely.

Actually, it cannot truly be defined as prayer, as the definition of prayer is “A solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.” Prayer requires an active, thought-filled communication to God. This is not active, it is not thought-filled, and it is not communication. It was created to simulate and be like the meditation practices of Eastern and New Age religions. This was how this type of prayer was designed. To give the people the trappings of the Eastern religions so that they would not leave the church, but put a Christian twist on it. Are we as Christians supposed to adopt pagan practices and incorporate them into our worship? It seems to me that Israel did this quite a bit and look at how many times God punished them for it. God does not want us adding pagan practices to what He tells us to do. As this entire type of prayer in its conception was designed to simulate a pagan method of prayer, we should not be participating in it. It was said that the information on this type of prayer came from an anonymous source. Anonymous source? How do we know what beliefs this anonymous source may have had. They may have been into Eastern mystiscim, and if fact it appears that they were, so using this as a model is highly suspect. But does the problem end there? No it does not.

Contemplative prayer is supposed to be a mystical experience. Mysticism is based upon feelings that one experiences though and has nothing to do with the facts or truth of the Bible. Many people are choosing to leave studying God's Word and real prayer behind to submerse themselves in this new contemplative prayer, abandoning all the Biblical ways we are told to pray and worship God. They want the experience, no matter how wrong it may be, over the facts and truth of what the Bible teaches. God warns that abandoning and ignoring His word will have serious consequences. Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

This prayer is deliberately designed to lead away from active modes of prayer – verbal, mental, affective prayer. Ones in which you praise, thank, confess, intercede, and petition God. Wait, I think they misspelled that word affective. It should have read effective, because I think this prayer is deliberately designed to make your prayer life ineffective. It is supposed to lead you away from conversation with Christ to “experiencing” him. This in turn is supposed to deepen one's relationship with Christ. It will hardly do that, given what is taking place in contemplative prayer - absolutely nothing. It has rendered your prayer life completely ineffective in every way and does nothing for your relationship with Christ except in your imagination. How better could Satan be served than to take away one of our two offensive weapons against Him (the other being the Word of God). He has corrupted God's Word with these bad modern translations of the Bible (see my article on the KJV Bible http://bibleconundrumsandcontroversy.blogspot.com/2011/01/king-james-version-only-controversy.html ) and doctrines of demons, and now he is rendering our prayer lives ineffective to combat him. This type of prayer comes straight from the pit of hell.

Let us take a look at the practice itself. It starts with confession. Well, confession is an appropriate part of prayer, but not in a confessional to a priest who absolves you of sin by having you recite some vain repetitive prayers, but in active, mind-filled, spontaneous prayer to God. Then one is supposed to find a comfortable place and sit. While one can sit and pray, one can also kneel to show respect, or stand or even lie prone. In contemplative prayer only sitting is acceptable, one is in fact told not to kneel, as if there is something wrong in bowing your knee to God. Then one is supposed to empty their mind. Now we know that this is definitely against what Scripture teaches, as we are to pray with understanding. We are to be talking to God, praising Him, thanking Him, confessing to Him, asking for intercession for others, and making our own petitions. The last thing we are supposed to do is empty our minds. And why is that? When adopting the practice from Eastern and New Age religions, the originators of this neglected to see what the purpose of emptying the mind was. It is for the purpose of allowing spirit guides (demons) to enter into their mind and take over. Is that what a Christian should be doing? When we open ourselves up by emptying our mind, we allow demonic infestation. It is an extremely dangerous practice. Further, after emptying the mind, the person is told to chant a mantra (vain repetition, which we are specifically told not to do). Now in these mystical religions, the mantra one chants is usually the name (sometimes unbeknownst to the chanter) of a demon whom they are summoning to come and enter their emptied mind. This also has the added “virtue” of sending a person into a trance-like state. This obviously is happening to Christians using this type of prayer, as the directions say that after you have spent your 20 minutes in contemplation you need to bring yourself back to your conscious mind by praying a prayer aloud. Why would you need to bring yourself back to your conscious mind, if you have not been in a trance? The answer is, you wouldn't. So going into a trance is apparently quite common. When in a trance, a demon has full control over your actions. Is this what a Christian should want?

In every facet of contemplative prayer, it fails the test of what real prayer is. It is completely unScriptural and in addition is very dangerous. But putting aside all that for a moment, let's look at it from another point of view. God's view.

As Christians we are supposed to be the Bride of Christ, so let's think of our relationship as a marriage, which it is supposed to be. Now think about a marriage. Let us say that you are married and that every morning when you get up, instead of your spouse kissing you good morning and talking to you, asking how you slept, what you were going to do for the day, etc., suppose they did the following. They get up, completely ignore you by not talking to you at all, walk over to a comfy chair in a corner, close their eyes, mumble something under their breath, which is not really aimed at you, and start chanting your name over and over for several minutes. Then they are perfectly quiet for 15 more minutes or so. Then they recite something, get out of the chair and get ready to do whatever they are going to do for the day. They continue to ignore you, but when asked by someone during the day how you are, they answer that you are fine, because they experienced your presence that morning, and all was well with the world. Then they come home, continue to ignore you and before bed go through the same routine they did that morning. Now, do you feel like they've “experienced” you? That they know you? Or do you feel like you have been completely ignored and are unappreciated? Do you know how they feel about you? Have they told you? Have they said anything about how they appreciate something you may have done for them? Have they asked you for any favors? Have they asked you how you are? Have they told you how anyone else is that they have seen that day? Have they brought you their concerns, their joys, their hurts, their worries? Have they told you they loved you? Have they said anything at all in fact to you? No. Do you feel loved? Of course not. You feel hurt and ignored, don't you? Wouldn't you hate it if your spouse did this day in and day out and constantly were saying how they were showing you their love and experiencing you, when in fact they were not communicating to you at all? They don't know you at all? Well how do you think God feels? He's a person too, you know. He has feelings too. He gets jealous, and angry, and hurt, and grieves, and feels everything that we feel. Where do you think we get these emotions? We are made in His image. If you are practicing contemplative prayer, then shame on you. Go ask God's forgiveness and start talking to Him.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment