Contemplating Contemplative Prayer

Q. Re: Body, Soul, and Spirit. Another excellent article. Profound. Raises a question for me though. I have a brother who is into contemplative prayer. I have warned him of the criticisms of the practice. I have sent him articles that Bob Dewaay has written, where he argues that intent is not an adequate reason for what he calls crossing the boundaries against divination found in the Bible. Your article makes me wonder if my brother may be more correct. He is seeking to silence the soul (which is still sinful) to make his spirit (which is united with the Holy Spirit) more dominant when he meditates.

What do you say about the contemplative movement?

A. The purpose of contemplative prayer is to enter an altered state of consciousness in order to find one’s true self, thus finding God. This is done through a process in which one empties the mind of thought through repetition, usually of a “sacred” word or phrase or focus on the breath. While it would seem innocent enough, it’s actually a technique borrowed from Hindu meditation that has come into mainstream Christianity through Catholic monastery practices. Jesus didn’t teach this, the gospels don’t proclaim it, and the Apostles didn’t practice it.

Romans 12:1-2 tells us that once we choose to present our whole beings as living sacrifices God by refusing to conform to the pattern of this world, our actions will become more and more consistent with God’s will for us. We don’t need fancy techniques, especially those borrowed from pagan religions to accomplish this, because it’s what God desires for us. He’ll gladly help us achieve it as soon as we decide that’s what we want.

Share Button