Contemplative prayer focuses on one particular word that is repeated all through the prayer. This type of prayer mimics a meditative, centering practice due to the one particular-word concentrate and repetition.
The objective of contemplative prayer is to draw close to God and make one particular greater capable to hear God’s voice by eliminating distraction and minimizing anxiousness. It is in some cases referred to as a breath prayer or listening prayer.
What Is the Contemplative Prayer Controversy?
Some theologians think that the contemplative practice of repetition, the concentrate on breathing, and the contemplation of pictures or icons seek to empty the person’s thoughts and then usher the person into an altered state of consciousness—like New Age meditation. These scholars warn of deception and express concern that this practice could supply a spiritual experience—one that could not be with the one particular correct God.
Henri Nouwen and other people like Rick Warren, Larry Crabb, and Beth Moore would disagree. They think ‘being still’ is an essential spiritual discipline so one particular is capable to draw close and hear God.
John Ortberg, author and teaching pastor at Willow Neighborhood Church, states, “It is one particular factor to speak to God. It is yet another factor to listen. When we listen to God, we get guidance from the Holy Spirit.”
Concentrate on the Family members maintains, “There is absolutely nothing unbiblical or anti-Christian about solitude, silence, and contemplative prayer. Not, at any price, as they have been practiced inside the context of Christian history. As a matter of reality, these disciplines are portion of a time-honored tradition. They’ve been central to the church’s spiritual life for centuries.”
There are some contemplative prayer advocates who think that humans have divinity inside, and it can be reached via contemplative prayer, producing the cross of Jesus unnecessary for union with God. This is, in impact, praying to your self as if you are God and is not in line with Christian theology.
There are great arguments for and against this form of prayer. But it seems that if the contemplative prayer practice follows particular suggestions and maintains biblical content material, it could be an successful and potent private prayer time for the seasoned believer.
Newer believers, these who are not as familiar with God’s word and character, could want to develop much more spiritually mature prior to attempting it.
How Does God Communicate with Us?
God communicates with His men and women in a lot of approaches: His word, the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-31), dreams (Genesis 37), visions (Genesis 15), His voice (Exodus four), a burning bush (Exodus three), a speaking donkey (Numbers 22), and via His messengers the angels (Luke 1).
Peter, Paul, and John every had private prayer experiences:
Possibly the way we hear from God is much less essential than the thought He communicates with us via His word and other suggests. Experiences outdoors of the Bible will have to be tested against what we know of His character and what is stated in His word. If the message conflicts with His word or character, the message is not from God.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:eight).
Author and Pastor Tim Keller argues for contemplative prayer by intersecting theology, encounter, and prayer. Keller says, “Biblical mediation suggests 1st to consider out your theology…Second it suggests to function in your theology…Third it suggests to pray up your theology.” He goes on to say that if you do these points, “your theology will intersect with your encounter.”
How to Pray a Contemplative Prayer
Just before starting your prayer, ask your self, “Do I know God nicely? Do I know His word and His character?” To know Him nicely is to know His voice and not be fooled by an imposter. It is getting capable to discern what is of God and what is not.
If you have studied Scripture, know the Lord, and know what you think, you are prepared for contemplative prayer.
Maintaining the cautions in thoughts although following Tim Keller’s prayer protocol, here’s my recommendation for how to pray a Christian Contemplative Prayer.
Locate a quiet and comfy spot to study and to pray—a place totally free from interruption or distraction. Just as Jesus did when he removed himself from the crowds in order to pray (Mark 1:35).
Opt for godly content material that brings glory to Jesus: a word, Scripture verse, godly high-quality, or chapter from the Bible.
Close your eyes. Fill your heart, concentrate your thoughts, and feed your soul with the Scripture that relates to the selected word, principle, or characteristic.
Study it, ponder, and reflect.
Use your concordance to come across comparable and overlapping verses.
Once more, study, ponder, reflect.
Apply it by asking, “How would my actions, attitudes, or relationships be various if I place this verse or characteristic into practice?”
Pray in Jesus’ name. This is accomplished with the understanding that we can enter the throne space of God with our requests and petitions since of the cross. Pray with a humble countenance in the expertise of who God is and who you are.
Now is the time to listen—the time to move from your head to your heart. Be nevertheless, be quiet, just be. Wait. Maintain your eyes closed, your physique nevertheless, and your thoughts on Jesus. You could (or could not) sense a message from the Holy Spirit. This message or word will have to line up with God’s character and the Bible or it is not of God.
So generally, we study Scripture with only our minds and pray without having listening to the promptings of the Spirit. When praying, speaking, and listening to God, believers need to in no way empty their minds but sustain mindful concentrate alternatively.
Meditation in Eastern religious practices encourages emptying of the thoughts Christian mediation need to not. Be intentional and concentrate on the Lord, His character, and His word. As Keller describes, merge your theology with your encounter in prayer. Be ready to encounter a heart transform from the one particular correct God.
It seems the most significant argument against contemplative prayer is the workout of repeating a word or phrase in order to empty the thoughts. This is a concern as it may possibly make space for Satan to move in.
We are meant to fill our minds with the points of God, not empty them. God desires us to be sensible. He made us to really feel and to consider.
This form of praying has the prospective to be a potent encounter. It could lessen the common distractions a lot of of us encounter for the duration of prayer considering that it calls for and develops concentration.
Contemplative prayer is a private prayer to a private God. But it will have to be accomplished wisely with faith-filled intentionality and a biblical concentrate.
“See to it that no one particular requires you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the planet, and not according to Christ. For in him the complete fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.” (Colossians two:eight-9)
Lori Wildenberg, speaker, parent coach, and author of 5 parenting books which includes: Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Give the Prodigal a Way Household and The Messy Life of Parenting: Highly effective and Sensible Techniques to Strengthen Family members Connection. For much more information and facts go to www.loriwildenberg.com
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