What is Entering ‘The Presence’ Really all About?
1 Timothy 6:16 “Who only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach to; whom no man has seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.”
Contemplative spirituality is an extremely demonic and dangerous practice for any person who desires to live a Christian life. Contemplative prayer does not involve contemplating while you pray. Quite the opposite in fact. Yes, the Bible tells us to pray using our minds (1 Corinthians 14:15), and this is also meant as contemplation. But praying with your mind and the unscriptural practices of Contemplative prayer are two different things.
Contemplative prayer begins with Centering prayer where the person will focus on a word or a phrase and repeats that word over and over for a period of time. The repeating of a word of phrase is also known as a Mantra. The purpose of repeating words is to clear one’s mind of outside negativity so that God’s voice may be more easily heard. After completing the centering prayer, the person is to sit still and wait and listen for direct word from God, and then feel and enter ‘His presence’.
This might sound innocent, but it is an occult practice and you will connect with something other than God. The bible describes how one should pray, and it does not involve, ‘waiting‘ and’ silence‘ – “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God..” (Philippians 4:6) and “23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. 24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:23-24; Jer 29:12; Matt 7:7; Matt 21:22; Mark 11:24; Luke 11:9). These verses clearly show us that biblical prayer is comprehensible communication with God, and not an arcane, mystical meditation.
This is what the renowned occultist Alice Bailey had to say about entering into ‘God’s presence’
“Much has for ages been said and written anent the practice of the Presence of God and today one of the
interesting events of the time is the emergence of various “techniques” for achieving the realisation of
this Presence, of inspiration, of light and of contact.
I will put to you three questions, and in their answering, we will find indication of the meditation to be
given to you later.
1. What do you understand by the thought of the Presence? Of Whom and what is this Presence?
2. What is it that prevents contact with that Presence and hinders you from standing in its light?
3. Can you draw up a technique of meditation which will be for you the way into the Presence?
Answer these three questions and realise that for you the contact with that Presence-consciously and
with understanding of the process-is the goal for the remainder of your life experience in this
particular body. I seek for no mystical understanding. That type of theoretical understanding is the
heritage of most aspirants. They have the vision of this contact. I seek a definite comprehension and I
give you the clue to the work in the following sentences which (if subjected to due thought) may induce
“Duality is visioned by the seer. He sees the Presence. He sees, and seeing knows that he exists and
likewise that which is seen.
“The knower blends the two in one. He sees the Presence as himself. He merges with its light. Behind
the Presence gleams that awful radiance which shrouds the One and Only. Before the Presence stands
the aspirant. Within the Presence, through the merging process, is peace, is union, the end off ear, the
end of difference, joy, love and light.”
Your meditation, therefore, is to be along these lines. The form you can draw up yourself during the
next few months. The theme will emerge in your consciousness if you move slowly, ponder deeply and
feel no sense of pressure. Revelation will come through quiet thought and daily brooding.”
— Discipleship in the New Age, Volume 1, pg 388-389, By Alice A. Bailey, 1972 BY LUCIS TRUST
Be still, and know that I am God
Many use the verse Psalms 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God” as justification that mediation is biblical, however if you look at this verse properly:
1 To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. 4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. 6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. 7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. 8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. 9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
You will see that this actually has NOTHING to do with mediation, but is an EXHORTATION as God tells the believer to surrender and know that He is God and know that He is in control when the world is tumbling in around us. God says, be still (be weak, let go, release, surrender and know) that I am God, know that He is the saving power in our lives. We must stop trusting in ourselves and place our trust in God. The heathen can do what they want, but God will be exalted in the end no matter what. Psalm 46 refers to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and to the establishment of the Kingdom of God.
Please note the below is not Christian, it is very much occult –
A list of christian meditation methods:
Relaxation / Centering methods–These have been called recollection in Christian religious life. With recollection, you “re-collect” yourself to be fully present. These are the primary means of “centering down” to prepare for more deliberate meditation, and yet, they are effective meditative methods in their own right.
- Relax in a tranquil environment: Choose your spot, and savor the setting. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a waterfall or another natural setting, a park, watching a sunset, taking in a work of great art in a museum, quieting your soul in a church, or any other kind tranquil environment. Take time to savor peaceful sights, sounds, smells.
- Body scan: I feel…. my head feels…my chest feels… etc. Move throughout your body, simply noting your physical sensations
- Progressive relaxation: (progressively tensing then relaxing muscle groups, etc.)
- Focus on the breath Feel the breath going in and coming out of out the nostrils. Or on the rise and fall of the abdomen or chest in conjunction with your breathing. (If it’s extremely quiet, you may be able to focus on your pulse.)
- Environment scan: I hear this, I see this, I smell this, I feel this, etc.
- Focus on a fixed object or sound. Concentrate on something outside of you: for instance, a flower, painting, candle, crucifix, icon, or the sound of water, wind, or traffic.
Listening to meditative music-There’s really no need to explain this one-its about as simple as it gets. Stop worrying, put down your work, sit down or lie down, and listen-really listen-to relaxing music. It can be a wonderful preparation for entering deeper into divine Presence. [DTW note: Also called ‘Soaking prayer’. It focuses on obtaining a spiritual experience by seeking out the presence of God and then resting in God’s presence. This is done by playing some gentle worship songs or soaking worship music, either sitting or lying down, and praying short, simple prayers for an extended period of time, the same as with Contemplative meditation, keeping your mind free of other thoughts – removing negative thoughts. At the point when you sense God’s presence through some type of manifestation like tingling skin, a sensation of heat or cold, or even a gentle wind seemingly blowing through your body, you are to just ‘soak’ in that ‘presence’. Soaking starts off innocently, but quickly deteriorates into a trance-like meditative state.]
Chant-The earliest Jewish Christians worshipped God with chanted prayers in the synagogue. The gentle, exultant, undulating sounds of different styles of chant have been part of Christian worship ever since. A few forms:
- Ambrosian chant
- Gregorian chant
- Hildegardian chant
- Byzantine chant
- Russian and Greek Orthodox chant.
Most recently, Jacques Berthier of the ecumenical TaizÃ© community in France has been developing a gorgeous modern style of chant which has enriched worship in Christian churches and communities throughout the world.
Singing in the Spirit-In some Pentecostal and Charismatic congregations, “the Spirit flows” and people begin singing spontaneous praises, either in tongues or in their own language. When it’s done slowly and softly, it can be a profound meditative experience.
These techniques combine elements of the focusing techniques described above, as a starting point, but they intend to give the meditator an experience of something of God-for instance, a direct experience of His love, a message from Him, the experience of touching another in the communion of saints, bringing the Word to life, etc., through using the imagination as a portal to the sacred.
Visualization-(This is an ingredient in most of the things that follow. Infinite variations are possible.)
This is using the imagination to aid in a spiritual experience. All of the following methods use visualization as a key ingredient. Possible visualizations are virtually inexhaustible. Here a just a few possibilities:
- Imagine yourself in a peaceful scene.
- Put yourself in a scene from the Gospels.
- Visualize yourself sharing another’s suffering.
- Imagine yourself as a pebble, dropping into a lake, representing God.
- Imagine yourself with God.
- See God within you [perhaps as a fire, a pool of water, or a golden light]. Or “picture” God within your heart, your blood, your breath, etc.
Guided meditation-This is similar to the above, but with someone or something guiding you through it, helping you visualize. Guided meditations are often dynamic, as opposed to the previous meditation methods. For instance, in a guided meditation, you might progress from one place to another, or ask a question and listen for an answer. You might “meet” a person who is there to show you something, or face something which directs you to make a choice. Guided meditations often have a purpose in mind, such as inner healing, physical healing, or seeking God’s will, etc.
Kything-this is lovingly experiencing your spiritual connection with the Lord, or with nature, saints, friends, etc. Often even mental dialoging or conversation is possible. In their excellent book on the subject, Kything: The Art of Spiritual Presence, Drs. Berne and Savary outline three simple steps:
1. Center yourself in God.
2. Lovingly focus on God or the person or thing you want to kythe with, and
3. Make contact through visualization.
This is an extremely powerful way of sensing your connections to the Lord and to what is known as the “communion of saints,” the fellowship of all creatures in God. Once contact is established, you might dialogue with the other. For instance, if you’re kything with a holy person or with Christ, “talk” with him and listen to his responses. Remember that although imagination is the vehicle, it does not in any way mean that the contact is not “real.”
Repetitive techniques-Repetitive methods have the advantage of being relatively easy. The calm repetition of a word, phrase, or short petition calms the mind, and allows one to begin entering the sacred Presence of God.
- Breath prayers-Many possibilities, silent or softly spoken. I breathe in Your peace, and breathe out my worry, for example. These can often be done with physical exercise, such as walking, yoga, or tai chi.
- Mantra-A prayer that quietly, slowly, mindfully repeats a prayer phrase or word, like “Maranatha,” (Fr. John Main) or “My God and my All” (St. Francis). Many mantras are also breath prayers, silently spoken with the rhythm of the breath.
- the Jesus Prayer-Perhaps the most time-honored Christian mantra prayer, practiced in the Eastern Churches for about 1600 years. There are many variations, ranging from: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner,” to simply the name of Jesus. Traditionally, one progresses in this discipline in three stages: praying it out loud, praying it silently with the breath, and praying it in the heart.
- Rosary prayer-the most popular rosary (the Dominican rosary) reflects on fifteen scenes from the life of Christ, with repetitions of several prayers. It’s probably best done with visualization. There are other rosaries as well, such as the Dalriadian rosary, the Fiat rosary,the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Franciscan Crown, the Anglican rosary, and Eastern Orthodox prayer beads. Even Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims use prayer beads for the meditative repetition of mantras, or the names of God.
Contemplative techniques- These usually require a quiet place. “Contemplation” in Christian meditation traditions has a meaning quite different from its everyday meaning of “mulling things over.” Contemplation literally means “time together” and time together with God is the beginning and the end of contemplation.
- Slow prayer-St. Teresa of Ãvila recommended this technique to another nun: Pray the Lord’s Prayer, but take an hour to pray it. Spend a few minutes entering into each individual phrase, until it becomes truly the prayer of your heart, and you become the prayer.
- Contemplative Prayer, or Contemplation-just quietly, lovingly being completely with God. This is probably the hardest kind of meditative prayer, because you’re not seeking any experience, thought, word, or feeling for yourself, just Him alone. The idea in contemplation is to just be, and just love, without “meditating” per se, or even thinking. And in just being with and loving God, you will spend “quality time” with God, the source of your being. The source par excellence on the subject is the spiritual classic, The Cloud of Unknowing.
- Awareness of Being-this is the method suggested by the outstanding sequel to the Cloud, The Book of Privy Counseling. Begin with simple awareness that you are, that you exist, here and now. Sense your own being, and rest in it. The second stage is this: as you become fully aware of your being, realize that God is your being, and rest in awareness of his being, your shared being. (This is one of my favorite methods.)
- Centering Prayer-Popular in many Catholic circles-it’s a specific technique of contemplative prayer which uses a short “prayer word” such as “God,” “love,” “Spirit,” or “Jesus” to quiet the mind when distracting thoughts intrude. Another technique is to use a mental image as the “prayer word.”
- Lectio Divina-(pronounced lekt-see-o di-vee-na) “Spiritual reading” of the scriptures or any other spiritual writings. This is a combination method which has been practiced for centuries by Benedictine and Trappist monks and nuns. The four steps of lectio divina tie together Scripture reading, prayer, visualization and contemplation. Usually a very short passage is recommended, a sentence at most, and perhaps only a word.
- Reading (lectio)-slowly until you reach a verse, or perhaps even just a word that speaks to you.
- Praying (oratio)-repeating it prayerfully, slowing, invoking God’s help and presence in “entering in.”
- Meditation (meditatio)-This can be many different things, from “slow prayer” to visualization. If the passage is a scene from the Gospels, for instance, you might picture yourself talking with Christ or other figures in the scene. If the passage is a simple word, slow prayer and merging with the word might be your meditatio.
- Contemplation (contemplatio)-resting quietly and lovingly in God. See contemplation, above.
Mindfulness techniques-Mindfulness is moving meditation to the next level, taking the awareness beyond the meditation seat and into your whole life. The goal of mindfulness is living life deliberately in the Presence of God, and not “sleepwalking” throughout the day. God is always with us, but we can’t be aware of His Presence with us in this moment without awareness-mindfulness-in this moment. Mindfulness makes all time sacred time.
- Being in the present moment. Be aware of where you are, what you’re doing, who you’re with. Focus on the here and the now.
- Every act is a rite. As much as possible, keep a sense of holiness throughout even the most mundane tasks. You might even tell yourself, “Here I take the sacred shower,” or “now I quiet my holy screaming little ‘gift from God!'”
- Every act is a prayer. Lifting up the “Holy Sparks” of God for everyone n everything that you do. Dedicate ordinary actions like running, walking, cleaning a room, as prayer to help a friend, promote peace, etc. If you’re experiencing pain, you might offer it as a personal sacrifice to God, or as a prayer for another.
- Practicing the Presence of God-Keeping a mindful awareness of God, around and within you throughout the day.
Contemplative prayer is designed that the person who practices it will ultimately have a mystical experience with ‘God’ (not the God of the Bible, but ‘a god’). Mysticism, however, is purely an emotional practice, and does not rely upon facts at all. The Bible on the other hand is the Truth and we can rely on it. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. “ (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Everything we know about God is based on fact because it comes from the Word of God. The moment you start to trust Gnosis or experimental knowledge over Biblical knowledge you place yourself outside the commandments of Scripture and you disobey God.
‘Christian‘ Contemplative meditation is no different from the meditation used in New Age movement / Satanism and that of Eastern religions. The most avid supporters embrace a spirituality which promotes that all religions (all paths) lead to the same God, where the Bible states, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).
All forms of Contemplative prayer is occultic and has been modernized into the modern-day prayer movement – it is unbiblical and should definitely be avoided at all costs.
The Blood of Jesus Christ
1 Peter 1:18-19 “18Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”
We don’t hear enough these days about the precious blood of Jesus, ” But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Jesus paid a debt of sin that He did not owe, because we owed a debt of sin that we could not pay. Our sins had to be paid for with Jesus’ blood.
In the Old Testament, the people’s sins were only atoned for i.e, (covered for) once a year. Leviticus 17:11 states, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” This verse speaks of the blood of animals, which were sacrificed to temporarily cover the sins of the people in the Old Testament, until the Messiah would come and offer the perfect Sacrifice of Himself to God the Father.
We read in Hebrews 9:12 concerning Jesus, “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Jesus’ blood didn’t atone for our sins; but rather, took them away forever!
Mat 26:28 “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
Jesus is our High Priest
Hebrews 9:13-14 “13For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? “
When you become born again, the blood covering washes away our sin and is a covering that presents us holy and unblameable and spotless in God’s sight. In order for us to come before God, into His presence, you can only come to the Father through Jesus Christ His Son. Once you accept Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross to save you and repent of your sin, His blood covers you once, so that you can appear spotless before God. If it was not for Jesus’ Blood you would not be able to stand before God.
Jesus brings you into God’s presence – This is the Biblical understanding of God’s presence.
Ephesians 2:13 “But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Ephesians 3:12 “in whom we have boldness and confident access to God because of Christ’s faithfulness.”