A large number of Christian celebrities and evangelical churches promote contemplative prayer (CP). Through meditation the practitioner is brought into an altered state of consciousness that differs radically from normal waking consciousness. The goal of CP is to unite the practitioner with God. But is this practice biblical? CRN correspondent Marsha West examines what the scriptures teach on meditation and lays out what’s biblical and what’s not. She writes:
In Joshua 1:8 God said: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.” So, what exactly did God have in mind when He told Joshua to meditate on His word? Well we can be certain of one thing. The Lord was not suggesting that Joshua sit in the lotus position and repeat a mantra until he attained altered states of consciousness. “These help bring one into states other than normal waking consciousness, in which a person becomes open to mystical experience, the spirit realm, or cosmic consciousness,” warns Bill Muehlenberg.
The sort of meditation God had in mind was not Eastern meditation. He has made it clear that His people are not to adopt pagan practices and those who do are out of His will. The purpose of eastern-style meditation is to “seek the God within.” That’s pantheism, brethren. People who hold this view believe that God is all and all is God. “A tree is God, a rock is God, an animal is God, the sky is God, the sun is God, you are God, etc.” The biblical view is that God is separate from His creation. Genesis 1:1-30
More on biblical meditation in a moment, but first…