Contemplative Prayer PART 1: Is It Really Prayer?

There are methods of prayer that reach the Throne-room of God and others that do not. How can we discern the difference?

Contemplative Prayer

by Paul Benson

The topic of Contemplative Prayer has been on my heart for quite some time now. When ever I hear someone speak in a derogatory manner of Contemplative Prayer (or ‘soaking’ as some like to call it) I feel a real strong ‘wait a minute here!’ rise up in my spirit. I fully believe this practice, engaged in according to a biblical pattern, was an integral part of the faith once delivered to the Saints that we are not only exhorted to contend for (Jude 1:3) but also have a desperate need to return to! And it has been my intention to write an article in defense of what I see as a quite healthy practice (even a command) in the Scriptures.

The Genuine Has Been Counterfeited!

Knowing full well that the modern American church is awash in deception and wayward practices it was my intention that, before looking at the true pattern we are to follow as expressed in the Scriptures, I would begin my exhortation on this practice with an examination of how Contemplative Prayer has been hi-jacked and corrupted in various religious circles popular today (including some offshoots of modern Pentecostalism).

But in a very timely manner MattS from aminutetomidnite.com posted an article that is a very good (and very thorough!) discussion of the danger of Contemplative Prayer as practiced in the manner promoted in much of Christendom today, including the current deception flowing out of the New Apostolic Reformation/Seven Mountains Mandate/Emergent Church circles.

If you are in the dark or have questions concerning the NAR/SMM/EC I would highly recommend MattS’s series on the deceptions of this age as an excellent source of info. His articles are in-depth and full of links to other resources on the issues he discusses.

Please give his article on the dangers of Contemplative Prayer a read. And next week I will post my article on the blessings of engaging in Contemplative Prayer. I assure you MattS and I are NOT in conflict or opposition on this matter; and I think you will find both edification and discernment gained from looking at the corrupted expression most are promoting today as well as the true biblical standard of approaching our Lord through prayer that is full of contemplation, self-examination, meditation upon Scripture, and lingering in his Presence.

Here are MattS’s warnings on Contemplative Prayer:

Contemplative Prayer: Is It Really Prayer?  -by MattS @ aminutetomidnite.com

Much thanks to you Matt for another great article! My thoughts are soon to follow (Lord willing);

Paul Benson

http://www.paulbenson.me

I welcome your input!

If you have comment or criticism please use the section below. Overly long comments may be edited for length.

Thank you for visiting my site.

Author: Paul Benson

My Website is at www.paulbenson.me. My blog 'Let's Get It Right!' is at pbenson.me.

7 thoughts on “Contemplative Prayer PART 1: Is It Really Prayer?”

  1. Paul, herescope …click on 2006, scroll down to august 22, article entitled Spiritual breathing. The same concept reworded. Your concern is valid about having a personal relationship with the Lord. Yet too many are presented with a new way to commune with God, being told that this method will bring you into a more intimate closeness with God. The real goal is to lead one into a false sense of the divine oneness with the cosmic christ.

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  2. Yes, I agree. While on earth, Jesus talked in normal fashion to other people, and he spoke to the Father with normal sentances. The Lord’s Prayer is teaching us to also speak in normal fashion to the invisible God the Father. In the Old Testament, godly men interacted with God in normal spoken conversation. I laugh when I think what my husband would have done if I had sat crosslegged in front of him with a vacant stare repeating his name over and over in order to communicate. “What are you DOING?!? are you going CRAZY???” Un Biblical religions dont know how to reach the True God, so they make their own ways. What on earth are we copying their methods for? God hates us doing that. But it is introduced and taught so covertly and attractively by people we “trust”, that we can easily become won over or tolerant! What a time to contend for the Biblical faith!

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  3. Paul, this is a timely article. I have researched all this stuff for many years. May I give you a couple of my favorite web sites that have done an excellent apologetics concerning these false teachings/doctrines of devils. 1. herescope.blogspot.com, they have an archive going back to 05 with tons of articles documenting the sources of this reinvention of the Church/ new spirituality. 2. lighthousetrailsresearch.com is another. This junk has spread, like Paul said, as gangrene through the Church. Meditation founded in the scriptures is clearly not what this contemplative/spiritual formation is. Learn the language of the leaven. My x church taught Christianized breath prayers…breath out the confession of your sin, breath in the forgiveness of your sin and Lordship of Jesus. This pattern is the same as yoga breath prayers…breath out the negative energy, breath in the positive energy. This concept of our thoughts and words releasing spiritual energy is occultic/eastern mysticism. Contemplative prayer is a white washed form of TM… Philp 4v8 is the real thing.

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    1. Hi Patrick;
      Thanks for the links, I will check them out.

      I totally agree that the meditation/verbiage the yoga/new-agers/etc.crowd engages in is not the biblical pattern. My concern is that so many folks in denying the false also deny the true and have no incentive to seek the Lord in watchings, deep prayer, or lingering in his presence. The same way ‘Cessationists’ treat the giftings and power of the Holy Spirit saying it’s not to be a part of Christianity in this day and age. But something tells me there is a day soon to come when the Body of Christ in the Western world will see a real need for, and consequently return to, a deeply consecrated prayer life that transcends the normal American Christian’s.

      Blessings to you brother;
      Paul Benson

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  4. Hello Paul,

    My two cents,

    I think what you and others teach is on this subject can be very hard to understand. That is if 1. One has very little knowledge of the word of God. 2. And/or little to no discernment. No disrespect intended…

    For me it was more the discernment that alerted me to something being wrong after being away from the church for over 25+ years. Coming back to the church was a very confusing and even hurtful. This place of worship that we called God’s house was changed and I was having trouble understanding why.

    God’s word helped for sure to sort some of it out but Holy Spirit gave me the warnings and after that I found your site that explained what I was feeling. You know that moment when something clicks and you say, (literally out loud) YES…YES & THANK YOU JESUS.

    Can’t wait to read what Matt has to share ( I do believe I have read his research before) and I’m Looking forward to your next lesson as well.

    God’s Blessings,
    Vicki

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  5. Hi Brother Paul,
    Long comment. I came across the NAR and SMM reading what is commonly called discernment sites. Being someone who loves writing, I was alarmed that such movements exist and I thought of penning something about what I was reading to warn others, but I felt a restraint within me – I can’t say whether it was my fears or God restraining me. Later on, I found something disturbing about the critics of these ‘movements’. To the best of my knowledge as far as I’ve researched, nothing exists as the NAR. Its critics who are mostly anti-pentecostals who don’t believe in the five-fold ministry today, brought about the popularity of the phrase which was originally coined by Peter C Wagner to describe what he was observing as a resurgence of the five fold ministries. Few would talk about the NAR if so much was not written about it online. Another disturbing thing is articles about the NAR mostly have as references other articles of other critics. Thirdly, Michael Brown, whom many NAR critics call out as one of the leaders of the movement, was alarmed to find out he was associated with a movement he doesn’t know exiar, he came out to call the discerners for discussion. I didn’t follow to see what happened, but it seemed none of the discerners were willing.
    I’d feel the same way about the SMM. I recently read the description of the mission on a ministry site involved in the SMM, at least, that is what they said. It was all about taking the gospel and the word to the mountains (spheres) that influence society. I don’t see anything wrong with that. We are commanded to go and preach. Is one method the only method? In honesty, I feel like the critics have gone to extreme in condemnation without looking beyond the surface, and discerners today can be some of the most loveless and graceless Christians.
    I admit I still need to learn more about these movements, in which case I’d gladly repent in favor of the truth.

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    1. Hi Jane;
      I fully understand what you are saying about loveless criticism and I do agree there are a lot of folks (even myself at times) who could do better in that area. And also there are WAY to many who ‘throw out the baby with the bath’ when it comes to discerning false teachings and false manifestations. I plan to address these matters in my next article.

      Yes, there is no concrete organization or denomination called the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). That title is used by many such as myself to categorize a movement among the Believers of this age that embraces and promotes 1). a non biblical expression of doctrine, 2). a non biblical structure of authority, 3). and a non biblical view of the role of the Church in this world.

      Most of what I call NAR false prophets do not believe in a coming Antichrist or time of tribulation (they are Amillennial or Preterists). Many do not even believe in the Second Coming! They either say Christ has already come, or will come spiritually within the Church.

      To understand the danger of this movement you must understand the unbiblical nature of Dominionism Theology which basically says the Church will take over the world (for God) and usher in an age of righteousness. The picture of the end-times the Bible paints is one where Jesus returns and rescues a Church that has been decimated and persecuted to the point of near extinction by Antichrist in an age of great worldwide tribulation and chaos; not a world where the Church has gained complete dominion and oversees a utopian society ruled by Christians.

      We are called to win souls to Christ that will serve him in HIS coming Kingdom; not build an earthly ‘Kingdom Now’ (as Dominionism is also referred to). Christ’s kingdom will arrive when he does; he is bringing it with him. The evangelism we are called to involves reconciling souls to God thru the message of the Cross; not building a righteous societal structure that will dominate the world.

      Please pray and continue to seek a deeper understanding of these matters. I know it can be hard to grasp but this NAR/SMM/EC movement is actually Satan at work in the midst of the Body of Christ seeking to steer the undiscerning into the coming global religion. I guarantee you that is the agenda at work. And it becomes even more apparent when you look deeper and see the ecumenical nature of this movement/mindset. Why are all these NAR/Emergent Church gurus meeting with the Pope, or preaching acceptance of/blending with other religions? SCARY STUFF!!!!!!!!

      Thank you Jane for your comments; and also for the insight and grace you share in your writings;
      Paul Benson

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