Contemplative prayer: Not contemplative and not biblical prayer

Contemplative prayer is a mystical practice that is making inroads in all sorts of churches. Don’t be taken in by it.  If you really contemplate on scripture and then pray to God, that’s great.  But that isn’t what is meant by contemplative prayer.  It involves repetition of phrases, in opposition to what Jesus taught (Matthew 6:7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.”).  It implies that there is formula you can use to “experience” God.

Prayer is the primary way you talk to God, not the primary way He talks to you.  If you want to hear from God, read the Bible.  If you want to audibly hear from God, then read the Bible out loud.  If God communicates to you other ways then that is his prerogative, not his obligation.

25 thoughts on “Contemplative prayer: Not contemplative and not biblical prayer”

  1. I am often quoted that verse from Matthew when someone criticizes Catholics about praying the rosary. I don’t consider praying the rosary “heaping up empty phrases” though. The 6 different prayers said during a rosary have deep meaning for me, and for all Catholics, but sometimes I do doubt if the rosary is truly biblical or not.


    1. Glenn,

      Really, dude. I’m usually with you on most things, but your last was uncalled for. If you have something to say about Catholicism, say it. Explain it. Preach what you see as the truth, but don’t be nasty. If the ritual has meaning to the Catholic, who are you to say it is nothing? I have doctrinal issues with the RC, but I also have issues with those who insist that all Catholics are damned. They may be, but that’s between them and God. A better way, at least when commenting to people you don’t know at the blogs of others, is to employ the love we are called to give when preaching the truth. Here, Jennifer made a comment and you took her head off. Bad form, my man. Bad form.


      1. Marshall, all I did was make a statement of fact. It was just a simple shrug of the shoulders with a clear statement about what the Rosary is. It was not taking anyone’s head off, nor was it bad form, nor was it nasty. It was just a simple response to her claim about the rosary. If a Mormon had said something about his temple garment protecting him, I would have said, “The temple garment is worn because of superstition.” Nothing mean, nothing rude, just a simple statement to counter a claim.

        Alerting someone to the fact that what they just promoted as being right and proper is really just supperstition, is not unloving. To allow a statement like that to stand does nothing but give tacit approval.

        I tend to think people are mature enough to understand there is not malice in such statements.


      2. How is it superstition? Superstition is defined as: 1 a : a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation b : an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition 2: a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary.
        Black cats, walking under ladders and broken mirrors are superstition. I don’t consider prayer as an act driven by fear or ignorance. Please Glenn, clarify what you mean.


      3. Jennifer,
        The entire Romanist system is based on lots of superstition. Prayers to saints for protection, indulgences to reduce time in an imaginary purgatory, prayers to Mary for intercession, teaching that outside the Romanist church there is no salvation, worrying about confessing all the sins that can send you to purgatory, believing that the priest magically turns wine into blood and a wafer into flesh, etc. Roman Catholicism has burdened believers with so many unbiblical, aberrant, apostate and even heretical practices that the true Roman Catholic has no way of knowing for sure that they are saved.

        Catholic practices fit into every one of your definitions for “superstition.”


      4. Wow. You really don’t understand Catholicism at all. We don’t pray to saints for protection. We ask them to pray FOR us, much like anyone would ask a friend or church congregation to pray for them. Has anyone ever asked you to pray for them?

        The same goes for praying to Mary, The first two lines of the prayer are straight out of the bible. The first from what the Angel Gabriel said to her when he first greeted her, and the second from Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary when she went to visit her. The second half of the prayer is asking her to pray for us sinners, just as anyone would ask someone to pray for them.

        Purgatory is mentioned in the bible. It may not be mentioned by name, but it is there. In 2 Maccabees 12:46, Matthew 5:26, Revelation 21:27.

        To claim that celebrating the Eucharist is unbiblical, aberrant, apostate and heretical is ridiculous.
        Jesus himself commanded the Apostles to celebrate it during the last supper. Luke 22.19 “And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’

        Catholicism DOES NOT teach that non-Catholics will not go to heaven. It teaches that salvation is obtained through Jesus.

        Hope that clears up a few misconceptions for you.


      5. Jennifer,

        I fully understand Romanism. If you want to know for sure, take a look at my blog and the articles I have written exposing their dogma. I cite directly from the Romanist Catechism, as well as other Romanist publications, in my articles. I have studied Roman Catholicism for at least 30 years.

        You pray TO the saints for protection. You pray to them to pray for you instead of going directly to God through Christ. The old salt about them being no different than asking a friend to pray is total nonsense, nowhere found in Scripture. In fact, every Christian is a saint according to the Bible, so why are you selective in only praying to those who Rome has declared special. Same goes for Mary. She has no special inroads with God. ALL our prayers are directed to God through Christ as our mediator. Even asking someone else for prayer doesn’t bypass the mediator Christ. Show me ANYWHERE in the Bible where we are to pray to those who are dead, or that we pray to anyone other than God.
        I demonstrate the unbiblical nature of this here:

        The Mary of Romanism is NOT the Mary of the Bible. Borrowing passages from the Bible to pray to Mary does not make it right.

        Purgatory is not in the Bible at all, not even hinted at. It is a heretical idea, claiming that Christ’s work on the cross was not enough to take away the punishment for our sins; it says that we have to work for it in addition to His payment.

        The Eucharist as taught by Rome is idolatry, worshiping a wafer as Christ. It is superstitious “magic” performed by a priest, not anything like the Last Supper. If it was as Rome says, then how could Jesus sitting there be eating and drinking himself?

        And while you’re at it, you might take a look at my article about the papacy and the magisterium.

        As to your last statement about salvation:
        Pope Innocent III, in 1208 AD said, “With our hearts we believe and with our lips we confess but one Church, not that of heretics, but the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church, outside which we believe that no one is saved.”
        Pope Pius IX, in 1854 said, ”It must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved; that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered therein will perish in the flood.”

        And these are just two of many similar statements by Popes throughout the centuries. There are a lot of double-talking excuses and “explanations” given nowadays to make the meaning different from the intent of the original authors. If they had just said “outside the Church” then current excuses and explanations would be correct in that if one is saved by Christ then he is a member of the “Church.” But these Popes (who are infallible in their dogma according to Rome) made the claim about people outside the “Roman” church – a specific organization. So are these popes infallible or not? If they are, then Rome says you must be a member of the Roman church. Even worse, para. 847 of the Catechism teaches a form of universalism, in that the claim is that people “who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those to may achieve eternal salvation.”. Well, Paul says that NO ONE is without excuse. And, we cannot be saved by ANY works.

        So you see, Jennifer, I am well informed as to Romanist doctrine and have no “misconceptions”. I pray that my comments will open your eyes to the truth about Romanism and that you leave that organization. I do want to make it clear that I am not saying you are not saved or not a Christian. I have known many, many Christians who were saved in the Romanist Church, in spite of Romanists teachings. That is between you and God. However, my point is that Rome is not of God, and places heavy burdens of works and superstitions on its followers.


      6. Just because you cite it doesn’t mean you understand it. Its like trying to debate the bible with an atheist… totally pointless. Have a good evening and God Bless.


      7. Jennifer,
        You are so very wrong with your last statement. I fully understand Roman Catholicism. As I said, I have been studying it for almost 30 years. I have studied much of actual Catholic publications (Catechism, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma; Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, many Papal Encyclicals, etc, etc – all in my personal library and I’ve read cover to cover in my studies), have read many apologetics books by numerous ex-Catholics, etc.

        You make the same claim Mormons do – that I can’t understand their teachings even though I cite them. I am an ex-Mormon and have studied their faith in depth for almost 40 years and yet am given no credibility because I am not a Mormon. So you do the same because I am not a Romanist.

        Should I say the same to you – that debating with you is like trying to debate the Bible with an atheist? It’s a great ad hominem attack, but it doesn’t respond to my arguments.

        I pray that God will open your eyes to the truth.


      8. Jennifer,
        You are a ROMAN Catholic as opposed to an Orthodox Catholic. You follow ROMAN Catholic teachings. I am indeed prejudiced against false teachings, be it Romanist, Mormon, JW, Christian Science, et al. Heresy is heresy no matter where it is found, and ALL Christians should be prejudiced against heresy.

        But I notice you identified yourself as a “Catholic” instead of “Christian.”


      9. When “Catholic” meant “universal” and the “Catholic Church” meant the universal church which included all Christians, then “Catholics” were indeed the first Christians. But Roman Catholicism was a johnny-come-lately, organized by powerful politically-oriented men who were corrupt in many ways (if you looked at my article about the papacy you would see how many achieved their position by paying for it, killing for it, etc, and how many were horribly immoral people, taught heresy, had rival popes, etc). Roman Catholics killed anyone who dared object to their false teachings – that is not “Christian” by any means of the word. Roman Catholics forced baptism on Jewish babies (and others) because they believe baptism makes one saved. Roman Catholics killed people for owning Bibles (they didn’t want people to learn the truth), and even for translating Bibles for people to read in their own languages. I could go on with a litany of anti-Christian teachings and behaviors of the Romanist church almost since its inception. With Rome it has always been about power and control over the people.

        The only Roman Catholics who are Christians are those who find the true Christ in spite of Rome’s teachings. And even then, like you, they cling to Rome for direction in their lives, holding on to the many superstitious teachings. I know many Christians who still follow Rome out of fear.


      10. My Church is St. Joseph CATHOLIC church, not Roman Catholic, just Catholic. The Church’s Mission statement reads like this: “We of St. Joseph Parish are a body of Catholic Christians guided by the Holy Spirit and dedicated to participating more fully in spreading the Good News. We are committed to building community, celebrating God’s work through the sacraments and liturgy, witnessing God’s presence through evangelization, loving and servicing all people, and continuing the education of our parish family, thereby enabling all to grow in the love of Our Savior, Jesus Christ.
        Notice that it says “Catholic CHRISTIANS” not Roman Catholic.


    1. Ross, the number of priests that abuse children are a very small percentage compared to all other professions, Where is your rage over those people? Where’s the rage over public school teachers, counselors and coaches that sexually abuse children? Where’s the rage over youth pastors from Protestant sects that abuse children?


  2. MILLIONS of Children had been abused by Catholic priests, I ALREADY KNOW that sexual abuse and pedophiles to take place in public schools and everywhere including in the Government, I know all about what Dominique Strauss Kahn had done. I KNOW ALL ABOUT ALL THIS SO DON’T TELL ME THAT I HAVE A PEA SIZED BRAIN!!! FOR GOD’S SAKE, EVEN ONLY ONE RAPE WILL MAKE ME SO ANGRY!!! I don’t care how few these Catholic priests are pedophiles, even one small sin will lead to a very great sin!!! The Catholic Church was responsible for mass genocide, the Catholic Church had supported German Nazis, the Catholic Church ( Vatican) is very Rich. The Catholics are Mary worshipers, Pope lovers, keeping all the Dogmas e.t.c. I have to tell you the reality of their sins,DON’T BLAME ME, BLAME SATAN!!!


  3. I burst out in tears, I say Where is the true Salvation? Where is the Real Jesus? Why God to allow Idols and false Religions to creep on me? I felt I am far away from Jesus and there is no hope for me. It is better for me to commit suicide in order to flee away from all these false Religions.


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