A Presbyterian church pamphlet I recently found at a local library entitled “Enjoying the Presence of God” states: “It isn’t a matter of achieving God’s presence , but of surrendering to that presence that is already within…” The pamphlet also quotes Russian mystic Theophan the Recluse: “To pray is to descend with the mind into the heart, and there to stand before the face of the Lord, ever-present, all-seeing, withing you.”
Contemplative prayer is essentially occultic prayer. One of the chief exponents says: “Prayer is standing in the presence of God with the mind in the heart; at that point of our being where there are no divisions or distinctions and where we are totally one. There God’s Spirit dwells and there the great encounter takes place… before the face of the Lord, all-seeing, within us. – Henri Nouwen, The Way of the Heart, [p. 73-74]
This concept of prayer is NOT based on the Biblical model – wherein Jesus instructs us to pray “IN THIS MANNER – Our Father WHO IS IN HEAVEN…”. This is addressed to the Heavenly Father; to the God who is outside our bodies and far above and beyond us.
Occultic contemplative “prayer” is turned inward, allegedly toward “God within”. This inward prayer for the Christian “believer” is said to be to “the Holy Spirit”, BUT NOWHERE in Scripture are we told to pray to the holy Spirit, or to any “god within”! Strangely even non-believers are encouraged to practice this.
Jesus gives many NT references to the “Heavenly Father” – NONE to any kind of “god within”. Of The Spirit He says: “The Spirit of truth… He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you!” – John 16:13-14. God’s Holy Spirit never draws attention to Himself and we are never encouraged to worship or pray to God as the Holy Spirit.
The concept of the “God within” comes from Hinduism – specifically the Vedic Bramanic texts. The god Brahma (or “Shiva”, depending on the sect) is said to pervade and indwell everything. In the panthestic “Advaita” schools this is the known as Brahman, with which devotees seek to “merge”. In the schools that purport to worship a personal God, the same concept [of Brahman] is used but alleged to be the Paramatma, or “super-soul”, an all pervading form of “Vishnu”. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paramatman.
No matter the “school” followed, the Hindu concepts are all foundationally pantheistic/ impersonalist and much of New Age occultism is built on these concepts. Wiccans describe occult meditation as “The spiritual practice of mental concentration upon (or openness to) the Divine… to consciously connect with our real Self, and the Divine… to reach your full spiritual potential, meditating is the golden road. It has a lot to offer your Wicca practice.” – fr: http://www.wicca-spirituality.com/meditation.html
People are being sold a bill of goods that promises a “Deeper” spirituality and “intimacy” with God, and in their quest for spiritual experiences, they are being deceived en mass. To practice this contemplative “meditation”, and “Descending with the mind into the heart”, and there, “Surrendering to that presence”, is nothing short of an open invitation to demonic influence or worse.
Jesus warned: “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah!” – Matthew 16:4; And “…the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him!” – John 4:23