"Contemplative Prayer" EXPOSED!
By David J. Stewart
There is a heresy circulating in many churches today called Contemplative Prayer, or Centering Prayer. The following is taken from centeringprayer.com...[emphasis added]
Centering Prayer is a METHOD OF PRAYER, which prepares us to receive the gift of God's presence, traditionally called contemplative prayer. It consists of responding to the Spirit of Christ by consenting to Godís presence and action within. It furthers the development of contemplative prayer by quieting our faculties to cooperate with the gift of Godís presence...
Centering Prayer is drawn from ancient prayer practices of the Christian contemplative heritage, notably the Fathers and Mothers of the Desert, Lectio Divina, (praying the scriptures), The Cloud of Unknowing, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila.. It was distilled into a simple METHOD OF PRAYER in the 1970ís by three Trappist monks, Fr. William Meninger, Fr. Basil Pennington and Abbot Thomas Keating at the Trappist Abbey, St. Josephís Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts.
Christian Contemplative Prayer is the opening of mind and heart - our whole being - to God, the Ultimate Mystery, beyond thoughts, words and emotions, whom we know by faith is within us, closer than breathing, thinking, feeling and choosing; even closer than consciousness itself. The root of all prayer is interior silence. Though we think of prayer as thoughts or feelings expressed in words, this is only one expression. Contemplative Prayer is a prayer of silence, an experience of Godís presence as the ground in which our being is rooted, the Source from whom our life emerges at every moment.
Method of prayer? Where do we read in the Word of God about "methods" of praying? Contemplative Prayer sounds more like New Age meditation! Centering Prayer is of the Devil. Notice the statement above... The root of all prayer is interior silence. What? That's crazy! From Genesis to Revelation, prayer in the Bible always involves actively asking God for something. We read in 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." The Bible tells us to make our REQUESTS known unto God. This is the ONLY manner of prayer taught in the Scriptures. 1st Peter 5:7 states... "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." While the world is getting drunk, sinfully partying, consulting with psychics, and committing suicide to deal with their problems; Christians need to take their burdens to the Lord in prayer, and meditate upon the Word of God (Psalm 1:1-2). Prayer is not a method, it is a conversation with our Creator.
Jesus condemned the prayers of the heathen, who THOUGHT they would be heard for their "much speaking"... "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking" (Matthew 6:7). God is NOT impressed with chants, religious silence, prayer books, vain repetitions, Rosary recitals, or Contemplative Prayer. God wants us to talk to Him normally. When we pray, it should be from our heart, as if we were talking to a friend. Prayer is not some mystical religious experience. Prayer is simply going to God with our thoughts, needs, problems, concerns, worries, decisions, etc. God speaks to us through His Word, the Bible. We speak to God through prayer. God's Holy Spirit will speak to us through the Word of God (Hebrews 1:2).
Contemplative Prayer is just another gimmick, to steer people away from a genuine walk with God. There are NO methods of walking with God, anymore than there are methods for a child to cry out to his parent for help. Phooey on formalism! Away with ceremonialist rituals! God is not impressed by religious performances, prayer recitals, or silent prayer. The only prayer which God accepts is prayer based upon the precious blood of Jesus Christ...
"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus" -Hebrews 10:19
"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:15,16). Jesus is Precious!
Ye Must Be Born Again!