The unregenerated man looks within, and finds nothing. There is no inner peace, no ritual, philosophy, no lofty argument that will ever bring it.
"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit,
according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the
world, and not according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8).
That is how deception works. It's the blending of empty philosophies with what we are already familiar with. It packages poison in a pretty package with a bow. Satan wants to make his poison attractive, so when you read about "contemplative prayer" it puts together two good words to make a poison result. Many people think that 'contempative prayer' means contemplating God via prayer. It does not.
Words like Vision casting, missional, emergent, centering prayer, gifting, unity, spiritual formation, spiritual disciplines and tolerance are just a few words that the dark side has co-opted, injected with poison, and launched aloft via milkweed seeds to waft into unwary churches with no screens on their windows.
For example, centering prayer sounds good. Here is the definition of what it is and how to do it.
"Centering prayer is popping up within the emerging church movement. Centering prayer, also known as contemplative prayer and listening prayer, is the practice of relaxing, emptying the mind, and letting one's self find the presence of God within. It involves silence, stillness, patience, sometimes repeating something, and the practice of "not knowing" as the person seeks God's presence." (source).
So what's wrong with seeking God's presence? Relaxing? Because meditating, or contemplating God, does not involve emptying the mind and allowing a whatever presence to enter. That is just asking for trouble, it being so occultish. Meditating on God's word means actively contemplating Him, via bible verses. (Psalm 63:6, "When I remember Thee on my bed, I meditate on Thee in the night watches." Psalm 119:15,23,27,48,97, same source as above.). It means thinking. Not emptying. You see how contemplative prayer is the opposite of what the bible says to do? The term does not mean what you think it means.
""be still"; not that they should be like sticks and stones, stupid,
indolent, and unconcerned at the commotions that were in the earth, and
be unaffected with the judgments of God, and be wholly silent and
inactive; but that they should not be fearful, nor fretful and
impatient, or restless and tumultuous; but be quiet and easy, resigned
to the will of God, and live in an assured expectation of the appearance
of divine Providence in their layout." (Gill's Exposition).
It means your mind is calm because you have contemplated God, His statutes, and you rest easy knowing He is in control.
If you are asking "are we there yet" because you've gotten involved in the trap of stilling the mind in expectation of a presence to endow you with information, peace, or any other emotion, it is because you will never 'get there' that way. Any Christian knows the 'are we there yet" question is moot: when we hear the trumpet, we'll be there in an instant. Everything else until the trumpet sounds or we stop drawing breath is a slog through lively, active, mental contemplation of Him. In other words, STUDY!
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