Contemplative Prayer–An Invention of Satan: The Basic Teachings

Contemplative prayer is a type of prayer that I believe is an invention of Satan to keep the church from true and correct prayer, and therefore, from following God’s will and from enjoying true intimacy with Him. The basic teaching behind contemplative prayer is that God (the Christian, personal God) is in all things and all people—even non-Christians. They believe that He is located at the very center of every person.


Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton, one of the chief founders of contemplative prayer wrote, “…At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusions, a point of pure truth…This little point…is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody.”

Contemplative prayer, therefore, is the attempt to contact God at the center of our being and contemplate Him with our soul. The method of contemplative prayer is much like the Raja Yoga and TM, except that Christian words are used for the mantra. Thus they believe that if the sacred words are Christian words it will become a Christian prayer. And so, this is how they justify using a Hindu method. They would say it is just a technique or a tool of prayer. If one uses the name of a Hindu god you will get a Hindu god; but if you use a Christian word you will get Christ.

Of course the Christian must disagree with using this method of prayer. Even if Christian words are used, this method of the mantra is wrong. It is using vain repetitions, which Jesus spoke against in Matthew 6:7.

The reason contemplative prayer uses the same breathing exercises and the mantra as Yoga and TM is because it is after the same result—to empty the mind. And they do this because they say that it is not the mind that must contemplate God; it is the soul. For this reason, they say that the mind must be empty so the soul can be free to contemplate God within them.

I understand, but disagree with what they are saying, because I believe that the mind is part of the soul—that the soul is made up of the mind, the affections and the will. And so I disagree that the mind must be empty. The mind should never be empty. When we contemplate God with our soul we also do it with our mind. Therefore, when we pray we must think and feel and pray in words—words that express our thoughts and feelings. This is the natural and right way to pray.

Another difference from Yoga and TM is that in these the belief is in pantheism—that everything is god (the impersonal god). Hence, they seek to find their own impersonal divine essence. In contemplative prayer, however, they believe in a personal God whom they believe is in everything (this is called panentheism). They seek to find this personal God inside of them and to contemplate Him with their soul.

This post is an excerpt from my books Joy of Prayer and Prayer A to Z.

About Stephen Nielsen

I'm an author, a self publisher, and a painting contractor. I live in beautiful Minnesota, USA . Welcome to my blog site.
This entry was posted in Part 4, How the Devil Tries To Pervert Our Prayers, Prayer A to Z Excerpts, Quietness in Prayer and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Contemplative Prayer–An Invention of Satan: The Basic Teachings

  1. Hi Stephen,
    My name is Eric Nielsen and I would like to clear up a few things in your article, that I feel will help you to better understand the misunderstanding by Christians, when it comes to these new techniques for reaching God.
    First and foremost, everyone needs to understand that regardless of religious belief, even if a person is an atheist, if they use any of these methods long enough and properly, all people will reach God-Consciousness. When I speak of this place, I truly mean they will reach the same place that Jesus discovered that He and the Father are One. This is the place that Jesus was talking to Nicodemus about when they discussed being reborn. (John 3: 1-7)
    Understand that I don’t say this lightly or to mislead anyone. This is a fact that every religion shares with us. Some share the experience as I and the Father are One, others say I Am That, and still other say Thou Art That. There truly is only one God and it is the same God that every religion talks about. Where we misunderstand our various religious beliefs; well, this comes from the way different cultures express the same to their people. The problem is with language. Language fails us in our attempts to explain the infinite.
    Forty years ago I learned to meditate using TM. When I learned this method the instructor never said that meditation was designed for reaching God. After only three months of practice I accidentally did everything correctly and saw this place. This is the place that everyone stands before God as their soul.
    It is a place you never forget, because you literally leave this world behind as though it never existed. When you’re there, you have no idea that you ever existed and even your previous concept of what God is, vanishes as well. The soul can be better understood by researching the word Atman in Wikipedia.
    The first mistake is that the Fathers who brought Contemplation to Christians should have done, was title it something different, because it contradicts what the meditation or prayer is designed to do. This method is designed to literally have a person temporarily drop their five senses, which are what keeps us anchored to life in a way people don’t understand.
    As you know, it is at the Tree of Life that the soul gets its first sense of self as it leaves the Kingdom of God/ Garden of Eden. Part of why that is, is because the soul gets the five senses at this time in preparation for entering life or the many kingdoms in heaven of which earth is one.
    The repetition of a word or a phrase is the way you must do things in order to leave this world for the kingdom of God. In fact nuns and monks would do this sort of repetition 6,000- 15,000 times a day with the hope they would reach God.
    As far as the bible’s phrase in Matthew 6: 7, that has to do with repeatedly asking God for things you need, as though God doesn’t know what you need already. Matthew 6 also refers to what all people are doing at the Wall in Jerusalem when they pray in public. For those that only want to be seen as holy—well they have received their reward.
    Many Christians that are doing Centering or Contemplative prayer are missing the mark by reaching a place of inner calmness, where they then begin to talk to God and ask for things. This is not what any of this is all about.
    People, who reach a nice state of being / calmness, should not stop and mess with trivial matters. No, they should continue the repetition, while not wanting anything for their efforts, until they succeed in dropping this world/ mind (analytical mind or the mind of duality). Then they will experience pure awareness, which is our consciousness shared with God as the untainted soul. It is the non-dual mind.
    Very Respectfully,
    Eric Robert Nielsen
    Author of: “Beyond God’s Veil… A True Story of Piercing the Cloud of Unknowing”

  2. Thank you for reading my post and commenting. You have explained well how you believe, but as a Christian I don’t believe as you do. I am not of the Catholic faith; I am an evangelical. I believe that we can’t know God through any method or meditation technique. Being born again, as Jesus taught to Nicodemas is not by meditation; it is by our faith in God, and in HIs Son Jesus Christ. Jesus told Nicodemas that if he would believe in Him as the Son of God he would not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). We can know God in a personal way only through our trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. He died on a cross and paid the penalty for our sins.

    Yes, there is only one God, but all religions don’t really know HIm. We can know Him only through His Son Jesus Christ–not by any meditation method.

    I believe in the Bible as the very word of God–God’s revelation to man. There is nothing in the Bible about any kind of meditation method to reach Him. Meditation as it is mentioned in the Bible is to be on the word of God–to think on the word with the intention of obeying it. Our meditaion should always be to fill our mind with God’s word, never to empty the mind.

    I will write a couple more posts on the subject of contemplative prayer if you care to follow it.
    Thank you again for taking the time to comment, though our beliefs are much different, and our understanding of God is vastly different.

    • Hi Stephen,
      I guess we will have to agree to disagree, but there is a whole lot going on through prayer and meditation than you know. I would ask that you research what I have said a little more. For example, Google Therese Neumann. She is a Catholic mystic that tapped into this inner place and could actually live off God’s energy by drawing it directly out of her surroundings. She lived the majority of her life eating only one communion wafer per day. No water or anything else. She would loose 8 pounds or so each Friday when she would get those stigmata wounds and regain the 8 pounds she lost within 24 hours, only to do this week after week. Her example is the point of the whole Rome against Greek Orthodox argument of third century Christianity, where they argued for centuries as to which was better, direct experience of God from going within one’s self or just having faith.
      Anyway, I liked your article, even though I disagree.
      Remember, there are many, very knowledgeable teachers in all religions. They have traveled the Silk Road since before Jesus’ time, sharing spiritual knowledge for many thousands of years. We in the West can learn a lot about this subject by not being afraid to seek additional knowledge beyond our Christian borders.

  3. Eric,
    I know what is going on out there. I don’t agree with it. They are not taping into God’s energy; they are taping into the demonic realm, and it is dangerous! Of course there is energy there, but not of God. The devil is an angel of light. We don’t need any additional knowledge. The Bible is sufficient (2 Tim. 3:16-17). I just completed another post: The Roots of Contemplative Prayer: The Desert Fathers. Would you like to take a look at it?

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