Here at Disciplers Bible Studies our aim is to encourage people to read and study the Bible. It is through the Bible that we learn about God and how He desires us to live. And that’s important because as the Creator of all things and Sovereign over all things, we need to know how to approach Him. Pretty much everyone, whether Christian or not, will come to a time in his or her life when they will feel a need to call upon God. But what is the best way to approach Almighty God? A dear friend and sister in Christ, Angela Stanley, wrote a post to her Facebook page that helps answer that question. Because of the excellence of her post and the timeliness of her subject, we want to share with you Angela’s “warning about the dangers of contemplative prayer.” Angela is both a student and a teacher of God’s Word. She serves with Shepherd’s Heart Prison Ministries in North Carolina, teaching a Disciplers class at Southern Correctional Institution. Here is what Angela wrote.
“God has been focusing my mind on the dangers of contemplative prayer since a discussion on James 1:5 during Bible study this past week. As I've reflected on His Word, this is what I've found. James wrote, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God" (James 1:5).
What does asking or seeking God look like?
How many of you have ever discussed the need to "pray about everything"?
How many of you have ever been encouraged to "spend time in prayer"?
Those are Biblical commands (Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2; Ephesians 6:18), however, New Age thinking has now entered the church and believers are being misled. They are being told to meditate, to clear their minds so that they can hear God speak His wisdom and direction to them.
But God has already spoken His wisdom and direction to us...in His Word (Colossians 316; Romans15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16). Our prayers should not be empty-minded, but should be filled to overflowing with God's Word. Our prayers are simply to reflect the directions and promises God has already given us in His Word. As we meditate upon His Word, God will guide the prayers of our hearts so that we can request whatever is needed to act in accordance with His promises and direction in our lives. We do not need to seek gnostic wisdom that no one else has yet received, or superficial peace by emptying our minds so we can be spiritually united with God.
Have you ever tried to tell someone whose world is falling down around them to empty their mind and meditate on God? They can't! Fear is overwhelming them! Instead, they must overcome their fear with faith, and faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). True lasting peace comes to those who meditate on who God says He is and on what He says He is capable of. We learn about that revealed God by reading God's Word, not by meditating on who we THINK God is.
God never calls His people to empty their minds and meditate on who they think God is. God clearly tells us in His Word who He is, and He emphatically states repeatedly, that we are to meditate on His Word (Psalm 1:1-3; Joshua 1:8). God gives that direction so we will not be misled by other spiritual voices as we pray. Yes, OTHER spiritual voices (1 John 4:1; 2 Corinthians 11:14). If our minds are not protected by and stayed on God and His Word by the inspiration of His Holy Spirit other spiritual voices can seek to direct us (Ephesians 6:10-12).
Beware of emptying your mind to seek God. In 1 Corinthians God exhorts believers to not only pray in the Spirit, but to pray with their minds as well. What are we putting in our minds so that our minds are stayed on God and His Truth during meditative prayer? Psalms 119 tells us what to put in our minds. "I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word" (Psalms 119:15-16)."You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You" (Isaiah 26:3). Peace, true lasting peace, can be found through prayer when one's mind is stayed on and stirred by the God of the Bible.
May God's written revelation of His precepts, ways, statutes and words fill our minds to overflowing so that we are protected against any unbiblical practices...even unbiblical practices of prayer. Protect your prayer life by grounding it in God's Holy Word, ensuring that your meditations are pleasing to God's heart. Protect your prayer life by girding your waist with God's Truth and by taking up the Sword of the Spirit, God's Holy Word, before you pray (Ephesians 6:14-17).
If you would like to read more on this subject, here is the link to an article written by the Christian Research Network on the dangers of Contemplative Prayer. http://christianresearchnetwork.org/topic/contemplative-prayer/
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.