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Monday, October 15, 2012 | Comments (4)

Your prayer life has a significant impact on your spiritual growth. Prayer submits your will to the Lord’s, it aligns your desires with His purposes, and it cements His truth in your heart. In the end, it’s much more than simply bringing your requests and concerns before the Lord.

Over the last several weeks here on the GTY blog, we’ve been weighing the biblical and practical merits of some popular methods of stimulating your spiritual growth, commonly referred to as spiritual formation. In particular, we looked at how to get the most from your study of God’s Word by comparing some modern patterns of spiritual formation to time-tested principles of Bible study and interpretation.

But if you’ve heard or read anything from proponents of spiritual formation, you know that prayer figures heavily in their methodology. In fact, it was several questions about a specific method of prayer—contemplative prayer—that prompted this blog series in the first place.

Contemplative prayer isn’t really prayer at all—at least in an active sense. It’s essentially a form of passive meditation. Usually it involves repeating a few words from a verse of Scripture, a spiritual phrase, or a name for God, all the while anticipating some special guidance, insight, or a word from the Lord.

The model for contemplative prayer isn’t found in Scripture. It’s a hybrid of rituals adopted from the Catholic church and Eastern mysticism. And most critical, it lacks a mechanism to differentiate between the voice of the Lord and your own emotions and imagination.

Make no mistake—God has spoken, once and for all, through His Word. You don’t need to sequester yourself in solitude or practice some mystical incantation to receive His truth and grow spiritually. You simply need to submit yourself to His will as revealed in Scripture.

Any pattern for prayer that uses your emotions or imagination as a receptor for God’s revelation is an invitation for theological error and spiritual confusion to take root in your life.

Instead of trying to manufacture some momentary, mystical experience with God, believers must cling to the unchangeable truth of His Word. Rather than searching for subjective personal insight, we need to reinforce our knowledge of Scripture and our dependence on the Lord through a consistent, biblical prayer life.

Tomorrow we’ll look at a key figure in Scripture—a true prayer warrior, whose faithful prayer life should be a model for our own.

For now, we want to hear from you. What prayer methods have you used in the past? Have you been encouraged to try contemplative prayer? What were the results?

GTY Staff


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#1  Posted by Jonathan Albert  |  Monday, October 15, 2012at 2:18 AM

John's teaching hit me a few weeks ago when he said that the longest prayer in the Bible can be read in less than seven minutes (Psalm 119 notwithstanding). My prayers almost exceeded an hour every night, but that was the only time I ever did it. I'd literally pray the same thing every night, too. It was all my own formula, but now I'm learning to speak from the heart, albeit ever so slowly.

I struggle with prioritizing my prayers as Jesus taught; I almost always jump to confession, rather than starting with worship, but I usually feel unworthy to utter the high praises of God when my heart needs to be cleansed. Every night it seems, I'm always focusing on how short I come, how far I am from arriving at the perfection of the image of Christ Jesus. I know He is able to save to the uttermost, I know he is the author and perfecter of my faith, but I never love enough, I'm never kind enough, and my thoughts are always terribly distracted from God.

#3  Posted by Joe Cardona  |  Monday, October 15, 2012at 6:42 PM

Amen, brother.

#4  Posted by T. Samone  |  Tuesday, October 16, 2012at 1:21 AM

You say you’re Christian

But really

You’re a contemplating mystic

You’re just like your father

“gifted”

amazing miraculous talent - Counterfeited

What I have come to realize

when God open my eyes

is that your lies - aren’t restricted

You are in the church

infecting people with your sickness

asking them to be silent and listen

“Listen for the voice of God”

but We Have the Holy Spirit!

So get this!

He is always speaking and we’re obedient / We listen

We are transformed / bearing fruit / and forgiven

So what do we need with your pagan spiritual discipline?

This is nonsense given to us

by seducing demonic spirits

The Lord says, DO NOT DO WHAT PAGANS DO!

These 66 Books are TRUE!

Jesus said, “Watch out that no one deceives you.”

Be alert, sober minded so you can pray!

Spiritual Discernment is what is needed today!

We must cast out these demons and pray the way

Jesus taught us to pray!

1 Timothy 4:1, 2 Corinthians 11:14, 1 John 4:1, Deuteronomy 18:9, Matthew 24:4, Matthew 24:24, 1 Peter 4:7, 1 Peter 5:8, Colossians 4:2, 1 John 2:27, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, Ephesians 6:10-18, Matthew 28:18, Philippians 2:9-11

Please Note: If one is required to take spiritual disciples or spiritual formation courses at the university level - Be diligent in prayer. I would like to encourage you to pray scripture and study Matthew 6:9-13 and John 17. Cry out to Jesus for more indwelling of the Holy Spirit and plead for the spiritual gift of discernment. May you have the eyes of Christ, in Jesus’ name, I pray.

May you be blessed by Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who sits at the right hand of God and is to be forever praised! Amen.

#5  Posted by Eugene Burgio  |  Friday, October 19, 2012at 4:28 PM

I agree that prayer is much more than simply bringing your requests and concerns before the Lord. The Lord does not need to be told what to do, as the lord already knows what must be done, so if we try to use prayer to tell and direct the Lord to do our bidding, are we not making an error? Instead shouldn’t we be giving our thanks, love and reverence to the Lord for all that we already have?