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We Christians go on a lot about the importance of prayer! But what is it? The most basic answer, I suppose,  is “talking to that Personal Mystery we call 'God'.” Prayer is not meditation or passive reflection, although these are often equated with prayer. Prayer is the primary way we Christians communicate our emotions and desires with God. It can be audible or silent, private or public, formal or informal but it must always be offered in faith in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Christian prayer is the whole of our desire to enter into conscious and intimate communion with God. Prayer is co-operating with God to bring about his plan for us, not trying to bend him to our will.

What is called 'Contemplative' prayer has recently increased in practice and popularity among Christians. This is a meditative practice where the practitioner focuses on a word and repeats that word over and over for the duration of the exercise. The purpose is to clear one’s mind of outside concerns so that God’s voice may be more easily heard. After a  'centering' exercise, the practitioner sits still and listens for direct guidance from God, and feels His presence. By design, this form of prayer focuses on having a mystical experience of God. Mysticism, however, is purely subjective, and does not rely upon scriptural truth. Can it be harmful to Christians? Contemplative prayer is no different than the meditative exercises used in Eastern religions and New Age cults. Its most vocal supporters embrace an open kind of spirituality among adherents from all religions, promoting the idea that salvation is gained by many paths, even though Christ himself stated that salvation comes only through him.


What you call "Contempletive" prayer is basically identical to Eastern meditation techniques I was taught long ago. The key to success in that technique was to concentrate on the sound of the word, so not to choose a word that would have any meaning to you. I still remember the sound I used for many years.

As for framing prayers within the construct of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, that wouldn't work well for any other religious beliefs. Within Lakota Red Road spirituality, we offer prayers at Ceremony, and in Lodge, ending the with "Mitakuye oyasin", "we are all related" because we don't pray for ourselves, we only pray for others.

- Erulisse (one L)
For a Christian like myself prayer must always be offered in faith in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.