Below is information I have copied from www.deceptioninthechurch.com . The writer has done his homework and gives a good description of Contemplative Prayer and why it is not Biblical. Later, I will post some of the dangers of this type of prayer and explain why God tells us in His Word to avoid these things.
There is a prayer practice that is becoming popular within the evangelical church. It is
primarily known as Contemplative Prayer. It is also known as centering prayer, listening
prayer, breath prayer, and prayer of the heart. Promoters promise physical, mental and spiritual benefits desiring to bring about positive social change. The essential function of contemplative prayer is to enter an altered state of consciousness in order to find one’s true self, thus striving to find God.
Proponents of contemplative prayer teach that all human beings have a divine center and that all, not just born again believers, should practice contemplative prayer. To achieve the state of
emptiness, one uses a “mantra,” a word or phrase repeated over and over to focus the mind while
striving to go deep within oneself. The effects are a hypnotic-like state: concentration
upon one thing, disengagement from other stimuli, a high degree of openness to
suggestion, a psychological and physiological condition that externally resembles sleep
but in which consciousness is interiorized and the mind subject to suggestion.
Contemplative prayer claims for itself the experience of God, while setting aside external
realities and overcoming the “otherness” of God. It takes these characteristics not from
Christian tradition but from Hinduism, through the medium of Transcendental
Meditation. The practice of TM is Hinduism adapted by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a
Hindu guru, for use in a Western cultural setting. Fr. Pennington, one of the authors of
centering prayer and an ardent supporter of TM, says, “Mahesh Yogi, employing the
terminology of the ancient Vedic tradition, speaks of this ‘to plunge into deep, deep rest
for fifteen or twenty minutes twice a day’ as experiencing the Absolute.”
The prayertechnique may also incorporate the Buddhist Zen practice of Zazen, or sitting
meditation, which involves the detached observation of the thoughts.
Paul writes in scripture, “So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also
pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.” (I
Corinthians 14:15 NIV). He does not say that he will pray with the spirit and clear the
mind, but with the spirit AND the mind. Clearing ones mind as to be vacant, and trusting
God to fill it with whatever He desires, not only has no biblical grounding but also is an
open invitation to spiritual invasion of unfriendly familiars. Buddhists call this state
Nirvana or Satori, the New Age calls it “at-one-ness”, and Christian mystics perceive they
have experienced some kind of ecstatic union with God.
“Mike Bickle, director of the International House of Prayer claims that God is restoring
contemplative prayer to the church. He goes on to claim that contemplative prayer is a
God ordained means of entering into the fullness of God, and that the brightest lights in
church history have been Roman Catholic mystics who lived during the dark ages. He
went on to say the western church had much to learn from these mystics …
[ Mike Bickle states]: “Everybody is called to live in the contemplative lifestyle. Everyone!
Everyone! Everyone! That’s one of the great strongholds we have to overcome resistance
to contemplative prayer.'” “The Protestant wing of the western church, which is a tiny
percentage of the Body of Christ…, is nearly completely (98%) unaware that the Holy
Spirit is restoring contemplative prayer—center stage—to the church… The Holy Spirit is
restoring this precious jewel (contemplative prayer) to the body of Christ. This is the God
ordained means of attaining the fullness of God.”
Mike Bickle quotes from the contemplatives (his word for mystics) and announces that he will be teaching from the Sacred Pathways (which promotes the carrying of symbols or icons,
choosing a mantra and visualizing God). Each one of these things is contradictory to the
Word of God, which forbids imagery and vain repetitions in prayer.
He insists we need to study the lives and writings of the Roman Catholic mystics, and
because the bookstore chain of Barnes and Nobles has carried so many books in this
regard, he says (in all earnestness) that “B & N is prophesying to the church that we need
the mystics,” and he wants to know why the church isn’t picking up on the fact that God is
calling the entire Body of Christ to live lifestyles of contemplative prayer?
Mike Bickle says the most inspiring light in all of Christianity came from the Roman
Catholic mystics during the dark ages.
These are all quotes from Bickle on the mystics:
“mystics is a legitimate term… I don’t want to fight the war…so I’m just saying
contemplative prayer, but I mean the mystics—even here at IHOP I say, lets just stay
with contemplatives …I don’t have time to argue… so I call them the contemplatives…. I
don’t want to go into the semantics, the debates…so, I’m calling it the contemplatives… I
don’t have time to argue… but I need the mystics.”
“They, the mystics, are some of the brightest lights in all of history… there has been the brightest
lights in all history for men and women of abandonment in the dark ages… somewhere
we have to say the dark ages were the luminaries in the grace of God…they were
“…a study of the lives of the mystics, the contemplatives, through history, and clearly
the most inspiring, compelling examples of history, in my world, have come out of the
Catholic dark ages. I can’t find anything like it in modern times, in America, in the
“…we need a little Holy Spirit catalytic jump start. We need to see where a few have
gone before us, and say if they did we can, and we can go further… and if you’re going
to go deep into that well, I’m sad to say, the vast majority of them are going to have
Catholic roots in history.”
The writings of Father Thomas Keating (the modern day father of contemplative prayer)
are also promoted at IHOP. Mike Bickle says he is an example for us of “a way to a
deeper life in God.” He went on to say, “The protestant world is in great need of
examples like these that will beckon us to the fullness of God.” – audio message
Contemplative Prayer pt1 by Mike Bickle
So essentially, Mike Bickle is telling the Body of Christ is that we are woefully deficient in having lost God’s fullness and need to look to New Age Eastern philosophy and to Roman Catholic mystics as examples in how to restore it.
And his advice to questioning, spiritually languishing, and anguishing souls (who didn’t
know their real problem was that they wanted more of God—until he told them so) is
this, “Don’t evaluate yourself, don’t evaluate others. Just keep going after it.” – audio
message Contemplative Prayer pt1 by Mike Bickle
In plain language that means don’t read or listen to anything discerningly or analytically.
Don’t question anything or anybody—not even yourself (except evangelicals of course).
Just go with what feels right.
… I wonder if Jim Jones, David Koresh, Stewart Traill, Aum Shinrikyo, Charles Manson, Claude Vorilhon and Joseph di Mambro told their followers the same thing…. don’t question it, don’t think about it, don’t analyze it, just go with what feels right.”
Because, as Mike Bickle says, “the Holy Spirit offends the mind.” I’m offended all right, but it isn’t by the Holy Spirit. It’s by the false teachers that twist Scripture and lie in the name of the Lord.