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Thread: Differences between mystical meditation, contemplative prayer, and Biblical Prayer *Merged*

  1. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evoo327 View Post
    Okay, threadjack over. Thanks again!
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    What do we mean by meditative prayer? Is there such a thing as Christian meditation? Isn’t meditation non-Christian? According to Richard Foster, “Eastern meditation is an attempt to empty the mind. Christian meditation is an attempt to fill the mind” (Celebration of Discipline). Rather than emptying the mind we fill it with God’s word. We must not neglect a vital part of our Judeo-Christian heritage simply because other traditions use a form of meditation. (Online source)
    Isn't it a good thing to fill your mind with God's Word? :O
    I was going to be a Calvinist, but it just wasn't meant to be!


  3. #183
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    Quote Originally Posted by lorenei View Post
    Isn't it a good thing to fill your mind with God's Word? :O

    Yeah I agree to this. I don't get why this is so wrong...

    Thomas tells readers to repeat a word for 20 minutes in order to still the mind. This is the basic principle in all Eastern and occultic methods
    I have done this with Bible verses. Read the Psalm 119 and see how many times "meditate" or something along the lines of focusing all attention on God's word, on His precepts, on His law is mentioned.

    I don't understand what these guys are really getting at with Driscoll and Chandler and the New Calvinism. and believe me, I am not a fan of Driscoll, but he's still a brother in Christ.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lorenei View Post
    Isn't it a good thing to fill your mind with God's Word? :O
    As long as you are engaging with it.

    There's two extremes here you don't want to get caught up in.... empyting the mind, or filling it (even with scripture) with something meaningless for the purpose of repetition without engaging with it.

    We can pray scripture, and meditate upon scripture, but we are supposed to be actively thinking about it.. what it means, how we can apply it to our own lives, worshiping God with it, talking to God.

    When Jesus prayed, he was actively talking to the Father. He never repeated words over and over, said things that were meaningless, or emptied His mind. He prayed conversationally, with His whole mind engaged in the process. He meant what He said, and said what He meant. We are to do the same.

    Read John 17, for Jesus' prayer for the church. Nothing "mind empyting" or "mind filling" or mystical here.

    John 17

    1These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

    2As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

    3And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

    4I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

    5And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

    6I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

    7Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.

    8For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

    9I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

    10And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

    11And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

    12While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

    13And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

    14I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

    15I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

    16They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

    17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

    18As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

    19And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

    20Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

    21That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

    22And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

    23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

    24Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

    25O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.

    26And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
    I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (Rev. 3:8,10)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Craisin View Post
    Yeah I agree to this. I don't get why this is so wrong...

    Thomas tells readers to repeat a word for 20 minutes in order to still the mind. This is the basic principle in all Eastern and occultic methods
    I have done this with Bible verses. .
    Nowhere in the Bible does it say to repeat a word for 20 minutes and still the mind. That is man-made, mystical nonsense that is supposed to put you into an altered state of mind.

    In fact, Jesus warns us against "vain repetitions". Don't do it.
    I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (Rev. 3:8,10)


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    Quote Originally Posted by lorenei View Post
    Isn't it a good thing to fill your mind with God's Word? :O
    Fill in an active way, yes. The contemplatives believe no such thing, they see empty minds as prerequisite to being filled. Not Biblical in the extreme, not what David spoke of when he "meditated" as he was fully engaged in the process.

    Quote Originally Posted by Craisin View Post
    I have done this with Bible verses. Read the Psalm 119 and see how many times "meditate" or something along the lines of focusing all attention on God's word, on His precepts, on His law is mentioned.

    I don't understand what these guys are really getting at with Driscoll and Chandler and the New Calvinism. and believe me, I am not a fan of Driscoll, but he's still a brother in Christ.
    As I said above, real contemplative prayer/spirituality is not an active mind exercise. It is quite the opposite, in fact, as it requires the practice (discipline) of silence. It is oddly something one needs to master, as with other disciplines, and there are many. We may be talking apples and oranges here, as to what you do.

    Imagine the silliness of God needing a system that takes time to learn and master just so we can draw close to him. Demonic to the core!

    What a foolish exercise!
    There is One King, and He is not this guy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightelf View Post
    Well this surprises me, and then it doesn't.


    After all, Calvinists already have no problem letting man's theology (Calvin's, John MacArthur's, etc) skew their understanding of the Bible, so why not follow other men into mysticism. They like to say they are on solid ground being "sola scriptura" and all, but as long as they deviate from the Bible, they aren't as solid as they claim.
    To be fair to those who identify themselves as Calvinists, they are not letting Calvin and MacArthur skew their understanding. They believe that Calvin and MacArthur's teachings best represent the biblical understanding of the sovereignty of God. You may not agree with that but that doesn't mean they are rejecting the Bible and following these two great Bible expositors. To hold to this would be the equivalent of a Calvinist/Amillennial believer saying that people here reject the Bible and hold to man's theology (Lindsey, LaHaye, etc...). It really isn't a fair charge to make against fellow believers in Christ who deserve better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by injeralover View Post
    To be fair to those who identify themselves as Calvinists, they are not letting Calvin and MacArthur skew their understanding. They believe that Calvin and MacArthur's teachings best represent the biblical understanding of the sovereignty of God. You may not agree with that but that doesn't mean they are rejecting the Bible and following these two great Bible expositors. To hold to this would be the equivalent of a Calvinist/Amillennial believer saying that people here reject the Bible and hold to man's theology (Lindsey, LaHaye, etc...). It really isn't a fair charge to make against fellow believers in Christ who deserve better.
    I pray these believers will quit following men and follow scripture.



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    Quote Originally Posted by injeralover View Post
    To be fair to those who identify themselves as Calvinists, they are not letting Calvin and MacArthur skew their understanding. They believe that Calvin and MacArthur's teachings best represent the biblical understanding of the sovereignty of God. You may not agree with that but that doesn't mean they are rejecting the Bible and following these two great Bible expositors. To hold to this would be the equivalent of a Calvinist/Amillennial believer saying that people here reject the Bible and hold to man's theology (Lindsey, LaHaye, etc...). It really isn't a fair charge to make against fellow believers in Christ who deserve better.
    Then why don't they put the teachings of Calvin and MacArthur away, and just be "Bible Christians"? Why identify themselves as Calvinists? Because they are following a man-made doctrines.

    I've challenged Calvinists before, to put the books away and just argue their case from what the Bible says. They won't do it. They have to keep refering to articles written by those men in order to defend their beliefs.
    I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (Rev. 3:8,10)


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  10. #190
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnceWasLost View Post
    Fill in an active way, yes. The contemplatives believe no such thing, they see empty minds as prerequisite to being filled. Not Biblical in the extreme, not what David spoke of when he "meditated" as he was fully engaged in the process.
    I can't remember where I heard this, it was in one sermon or another, but I heard that the word for "meditate" that David had used meant along the lines of mulling something over, considering, dwelling on it, thinking about it; like a cow chews cud all day long. It would be an active kind of thought process, not a passive (empyting) one.

    Kind of like what was said earlier, about talking to God about it, worshipping with it, applying it to your life, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evoo327 View Post
    I can't remember where I heard this, it was in one sermon or another, but I heard that the word for "meditate" that David had used meant along the lines of mulling something over, considering, dwelling on it, thinking about it; like a cow chews cud all day long. It would be an active kind of thought process, not a passive (empyting) one.
    Exactly.
    There is One King, and He is not this guy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evoo327 View Post
    I can't remember where I heard this, it was in one sermon or another, but I heard that the word for "meditate" that David had used meant along the lines of mulling something over, considering, dwelling on it, thinking about it; like a cow chews cud all day long. It would be an active kind of thought process, not a passive (empyting) one.

    Kind of like what was said earlier, about talking to God about it, worshipping with it, applying it to your life, etc.
    I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (Rev. 3:8,10)


    I'm a Navy mom.

  13. #193
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightelf View Post
    Nowhere in the Bible does it say to repeat a word for 20 minutes and still the mind. That is man-made, mystical nonsense that is supposed to put you into an altered state of mind.

    In fact, Jesus warns us against "vain repetitions". Don't do it.
    to repeat "a word"....now that makes sense. I repeat words, I meant when it comes to memorizing Scripture.

    Yeah I would agree to what you are saying here then. Thanks!

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    Default Ken Silva: Just Say No To Contemplative/Centering Prayer

    JUST SAY NO TO CONTEMPLATIVE/CENTERING PRAYER
    By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Oct 24, 2011 in AM Missives, Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism, Current Issues, Features, Rick Warren

    Evangelicals are quick to praise Charles Spurgeon, who stood tall for the purity of God’s Gospel during the Downgrade Controversy.

    Unfortuntely, there really doesn’t seem to be any Spurgeon on the horizon today in what’s truly is a New Downgrade No-Controversy With Its Apostles Of Unbelief.

    Spurgeon reminds you what squishy evangelical leaders have forgotten concerning the pletora of false teachers littering the landscape of the church visible right now.

    False prophets don’t simply announce themselves as such; and they most certainly don’t like being exposed:

    “The preachers of false doctrine dislike nothing more than the premature detection of their doings. Only give them time enough to prepare men’s minds for the reception of their ‘new views,’ and they are confident of success. They have had too much time already, and any who refuse to speak out now must be held to be ‘partakers of their evil deeds.’”

    “As Mr. Spurgeon says, ‘A little plain-speaking would do a world of good just now. These gentlemen desire to be let alone. They want no noise raised. Of course thieves hate watch-dogs, and love darkness. It is time that somebody should spring his rattle, and call attention to the way in which God is being robbed of his glory and man of his hope.’” (Online source)

    With neo-Gnostic private “revelations” becoming the norm now within evangelicalism, Apprising Ministries begins with the incontrovertible fact that emphasis on so-called “Christian” mystic traditions was a core doctrine of the theology of the Emerging Church from its very inception circa 1997.

    Corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM), as taught by gurus Dallas Willard and his spiritual twin Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster, slithered into Young Adult and Youth ministries as so-called Spiritual Formation. Little wonder, for that dubious duo were key mentors of the EC.

    The crown jewel of CSM is a supposed spiritual discipline known as Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP); however, this is actually a form of meditation while in an altered state of consciousness—i.e. transcendental meditation—lightly sprayed with Christian terminology. No way around it; warped “wordless” prayer.

    In other words, Biblically it’s not prayer at all. With this in mind I point you to the segment below by Christian apologist Chris Rosebrough from his October 10th, 2011 Fighting for the Faith radio program. This all came about because of Rick Warren Ministry Recommends Mantra Centering Prayer.

    Well, for a couple of days; then in his typical “does he, or doesn’t he believe” style, the article discussed in that prior piece vanished suddenly without explanation. Rosebrough tells us of the F4tF segment to follow:



    I play a 2008 interview with Thomas Keating, one of the three Cistercian Monks responsible for creating Centering Prayer. In that interview Keating explains how the goal of Centering Prayer is to discover that YOU ARE GOD.



    Knowing this, my question is, “Why on Earth would an article about Centering Prayer have ever been posted at Rick Warren’s site?”


    Warren claims he is a Calvinist and a admirer of Jonathan Edwards.



    That being the case, how is it possible for an article that teaches a mystical practice developed by Roman Catholic monks that has as its goal that a person would achieve the understanding that they are god ever be approved for publication on a website that is read by hundreds of thousands of pastors around the world?



    I hope that we get an explanation from Rick Warren. But, I wouldn’t bet on it. (Online source)

    Rosebrough’s right; today in timid pouty postmodern evanjellyfish, there’s nearly no one left with any spiritual backbone who will demand we have explanations for such things now affecting so many.


    http://apprising.org/2011/10/24/just...tering-prayer/
    For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21)

  15. #195

    Default Contemplative Prayer

    At the time when the Beth Moore threads 1st came out, I had not heard of her. Since then, I have seen Bible studies of her listed on the a few church signs, and that in itself, I found odd. Anyway, I am currently reading through the threads on here about Beth Moore and contemplative prayer. After I 1st heard the term, contemplative prayer, I really did not know what it meant. To me, I thought that it was just focusing on God, and praying. Apparently, it entails MUCH more than that. I looked it up to see exactly what it is and of course, got the clearest answer from gotquestions.org. Anyway, I am still confused...

    How exactly does one Biblically meditate and what does the term mystical meditation mean? I am looking for answers in layman's terms. Thanks in advance.

    I do know the below listed verses are about meditation.

    Psalm 104:34 Let my meditation be pleasing to Him; As for me, I shall be glad in the Lord.

    Psalm 63:6 When I remember Thee on my bed, I meditate on Thee in the night watches,

    Link: http://www.gotquestions.org/contemplative-prayer.html

    Question: "What is contemplative prayer?"

    Answer: It is important to first define “contemplative prayer.” Contemplative prayer is not just “contemplating while you pray.” The Bible instructs us to pray with our minds (1 Corinthians 14:15), so, clearly, prayer does involve contemplation. However, praying with your mind is not what “contemplative prayer” has come to mean. Contemplative prayer has slowly increased in practice and popularity along with the rise of the emerging church movement—a movement which embraces many unscriptural ideas and practices. Contemplative prayer is one such practice.

    Contemplative prayer begins with “centering prayer,” a meditative practice where the practitioner focuses on a word and repeats that word over and over for the duration of the exercise. The purpose is to clear one’s mind of outside concerns so that God’s voice may be more easily heard. After the centering prayer, the practitioner is to sit still, listen for direct guidance from God, and feel His presence.

    Although this might sound like an innocent exercise, this type of prayer has no scriptural support whatsoever. In fact, it is just the opposite of how prayer is defined in the Bible. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6). “In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:23-24). These verses and others clearly portray prayer as being comprehendible communication with God, not an esoteric, mystical meditation.

    Contemplative prayer, by design, focuses on having a mystical experience with God. Mysticism, however, is purely subjective, and does not rely upon truth or fact. Yet the Word of God has been given to us for the very purpose of basing our faith, and our lives, on Truth (2 Timothy 3:16-17). What we know about God is based on fact; trusting in experiential knowledge over the biblical record takes a person outside of the standard that is the Bible.

    Contemplative prayer is no different than the meditative exercises used in Eastern religions and New Age cults. Its most vocal supporters embrace an open spirituality among adherents from all religions, promoting the idea that salvation is gained by many paths, even though Christ Himself stated that salvation comes only through Him (John 14:6). Contemplative prayer, as practiced in the modern prayer movement, is in opposition to biblical Christianity and should definitely be avoided.
    “My Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40)


    BTW, my son is now in the 8th grade!

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    I don't have the time today to answer all your questions, but I would love to point you into the Psalms. I encourage you to read them. There is a great deal of information there to answer your questions without directing you anywhere else.

    I pray that you are blessed. David had so much to say about this and nothing is better for teaching you about what the Bible says that the Word of God (and the Holy Spirit) itself!

    There are 150. You can read them all within a month and take notes every time you see anything about contemplating, thinking about, and meditating in them and see what the Lord has to say!

    Blessings, Nicole

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mommytoa3rdgradeboy View Post
    How exactly does one Biblically meditate and what does the term mystical meditation mean? I am looking for answers in layman's terms. Thanks in advance.
    Easiest answer is this:

    Biblical meditation was an active filling of the mind in a very measured and engaged way. David would contemplate/consider/ponder etc every aspect of what was on his mind.

    Contemplative asks us to disengage and empty the mind before God can "speak". IMO, and in all practical application, there is no difference between contemplative spirituality and any Eastern mysticism, or that of catholic mystics.
    There is One King, and He is not this guy.

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    One of the premier contemplatives today is a guy names Richard Foster. Here is a sample of his works, and so as to be clear, I own these books so as to quote and not be accused of copy and pasting someone else.

    At the outset I need to give a word of warning, a little like the warning label on a medicine bottle
    Contemplative prayer is not for the novice. I do not say this about any other form of prayer. All
    are welcome, regardless of proficiency or expertise, to enter freely into adoration and meditation
    and intercession and a host of other approaches to prayer. But contemplative is different. While
    we are all equally precious in the eyes of God, we are not all equally ready to listen to "God's
    speech in His wonderful, terrible, gentle, loving, all embracing silence.

    (Richard Foster Prayer: Finding the heart's true home pg. 156 1992 edition)

    I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering
    deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as supernatural guidance that is not
    divine guidance. While the Bible does not give us a lot of information on the spiritual world, we
    do know enough to recognize that there are various orders of spiritual being and some of them
    are definitely in cooperation with God and His way.

    We will discuss in considerable detail the spiritual warfare we wage in a later chapter. But for
    now I want to encourage you to learn a practice of prayers of protection.

    My own approach is to preface a time of contemplation by speaking this simple prayer: "By the
    authority of almighty God I surround myself in the light of Christ, I cover myself with the blood
    of Christ, and I seal myself with the cross of Christ. All dark and evil spirits must now leave. No
    influence is allowed to come near to me but that it is first filtered through the light of Christ, in
    whose name I pray. Amen.

    (Richard Foster Prayer: Finding the heart's true home pg. 157 1992 edition)
    AND

    Perhaps the most common misconception of all is to view meditation as a religious form of psychological manipulation. It may have value
    in dropping our blood pressure or in relieving tension. It may even provide us with meaningful insights by helping us get in touch with our
    subconscious mind. But the idea of actual contact and communion with a spiritual sphere of existence sounds unscientific and fairly
    unreasonable. If you feel that we live in a purely physical universe, you will view meditation as a good way to obtain a constant alpha
    brain wave pattern.

    (Celebration of Discipline pg.17 1978 edition)
    Alpha is what any new ager looks to attain to commune with the divine self.

    Foster is a dangerous wolf if ever there was one, and yet I would wager most pastors have some of his writings. All the ones I have are for the sole purpose are research so as to warn the flock.
    There is One King, and He is not this guy.

  19. #199

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    I am sorry for not responding sooner. I have been super busy at work and although I can read everything on RR from my phone, it takes forever and a day to post anything, so I very much prefer to use a desktop for replying to anything on here.

    Thanks for the responses, everyone!

    I think this topic is just over my head. I am guessing since I have no grasp of the concept of emptying my mind that I have never prayed contemplatively. It is impossible to 'empty' a mind. It works 24/7. Sometimes, I wish I could 'turn off my mind'! I don't understand why anyone would believe such a thing.
    “My Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40)


    BTW, my son is now in the 8th grade!

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