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But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

Friday, 18 September 2015 09:47

War Room’s Priscilla Shirer’s Contemplative History, and Why It Matters Featured

Written by mywordlikefire

For You have abandoned Your people, the house of Jacob, Because they are filled with influences from the east, And they are soothsayers like the Philistines, And they strike bargains with the children of foreigners. (Isaiah 2:6)

“…I knew the Lord was calling me to experience Him in prayer in a brand new way.” [1] —

For You have abandoned Your people, the house of Jacob, Because they are filled with influences from the east, And they are soothsayers like the Philistines, And they strike bargains with the children of foreigners. (Isaiah 2:6)

“…I knew the Lord was calling me to experience Him in prayer in a brand new way.” [1] — Priscilla Shirer

Contemplative prayer, which Priscilla Shirer referred to as her “brand new way” some years ago, is in reality an ancient way. It is essentially the same as New Age or Eastern meditation, but disguised with “Christianese” terminology. Those who participate and enter the silence, as it is called, open themselves to great deception.

Now, because of the success of the War Room movie, Shirer is going to have many fans flocking to her website, and purchasing her products. Those who buy Shirer’s book, Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God Speaks, will discover Shirer’s affinity for contemplative prayer.

Contemplative prayer is a primary factor to consider as we watch the visible church depart from sound doctrine. It is foundational to the International House of Prayer (Mike Bickle) and Bethel Church of Redding, California (Bill and Beni Johnson).

Popular leaders and teachers such as Rick Warren, Beth Moore, and Tim Keller have promoted contemplative prayer.

How was Shirer introduced to this practice?

She writes, “…a friend sent me a book on silent prayer. The book explains how purposeful periods of silent prayer can help believers hear God’s voice. I was very drawn to the spiritual journey of the author, and I read the book twice. As my heart burned within me, I knew that the Lord was calling me to experience Him in prayer in a brand new way.” [2]

Thus fascinated with this newly discovered concept, Shirer then read a Bible verse which she perceived as a Word from the Lord: As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. (Ecclesiastes 5:1, NLT)

“It confirmed the message of the book I had been so drawn to and what I sensed the Holy Spirit was leading me to do.” [3]

She was further amazed to learn that some of the women from her church were going to participate in a “silent prayer retreat. Women would gather to spend 36 hours of silence in anticipation of hearing the voice of God.” [4]

She had read about this in the book on silent prayer, but now here were people actually talking about the same thing. Shirer seems to have taken all this as part of God’s plan.

Priscilla Shirer apparently found the contemplative experience to be powerful and alluring. And then, the most significant of these “coincidences” happened. Fox Network reached out to her. According to Priscilla, “They were creating a program on contemplative prayer called ‘Be Still.’ They asked me to be a part of this project that was designed to help Americans see the importance of spending time before God in stillness. I knew immediately that God wanted me to be a part of the project.” [5]

And so she was, along with Beth Moore. The Be Still video was released in 2006. Nine years later, Priscilla Shirer still has an explanation on her website as to why she chose to be on the DVD. [6]

Lighthouse Trails issued this strong warning about the Be Still DVD:

The Be Still DVD, released April 2006 by Fox Home Entertainment, and featuring Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Calvin Miller and Beth Moore has one main message: You cannot know God if you do not practice the art of going into the silence.

That silence the DVD refers to is a special state of mind, different than normal prayer, and the DVD introduces an array of meditators, from a number of religious persuasions, to tell viewers about this state of silence. From those who promote guided imagery (Katherine-Brown Sultzman) to those who promote interspirituality, the DVD should not be classified as Christian. Jesus Christ is rarely mentioned, nor is the gospel presented. What is presented is a deceptive collection of dangerous commentaries, and there should be a warning label on the cover – NSFA – Not Safe For Anyone. [7]

Not Safe For Anyone.

As Ray Yungen has explained, our minds are like rushing rivers. Our thoughts go here, go there, our thought process is active and continuous. In contemplative prayer, Eastern meditation, and New Age meditation, all thought is stilled. The active river of our minds is dammed up–the rushing river is now a still pool of water. This can be done by repeating a word or phrase over and over until thought ceases and one enters the silence.

Contemplative teachers in the Christian camp will not advise believers to focus on a repetitive Eastern style mantra like “Ommm” (for example), but rather on a word or phrase like “Jesus” or “Abba Father,” or a scripture verse. In this way, the contemplative prayer appears “Christian” but nevertheless serves as entrance to the silence.

The silence of contemplative prayer is rich ground for false visions, lying “christs,” and supernatural experiences. This practice can addle or alter theology, and seems to lead to an inability to distinguish between Catholic teaching on Salvation and the Truth of the Bible. It has also served as the road to interspirituality.

When Beth Moore shared a vision she claimed was from God that apparently included Catholicism as part of the Body of Christ, was this something she was given during contemplative prayer?  Video

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Some years ago, the contemplatives came up with a brilliant answer to Christians who saw the similarity between contemplative prayer and Eastern and New Age meditation. It was explained that New Age and Eastern practitioners strive to empty the mind whereas Christian contemplatives, on the other hand, seek to fill the mind with God.

This clever marketing ploy has drawn many into the deception of contemplative prayer–which is really not prayer at all.

I would like to emphasize that I have appreciated the Kendrick brothers for their Christian, family friendly films. (Fighting The Giants, Fireproof, Courageous)

War Room’s Priscilla Shirer is an author, speaker, and Bible teacher. As previously mentioned, this movie is going to bring many women into her sphere of influence.

Unfortunately, because of her promotion of contemplative prayer, that’s not necessarily a good thing. In her book, Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God Speaks, Shirer writes,

“As I meditate upon a verse, I will often insert my name or a personal pronoun into it to make it more personal. If I’m reading and meditating on a Bible story, I will become the main character so that it’s not merely someone else’s experience with God, but my own. I often ask myself what God would have me do as a result of what I contemplated.” [8] (Bold mine)

She becomes…in the Bible story…the main character?

So, it would not be Moses, but Priscilla and the Burning Bush? (Exodus 3:2-4)

Not Elisabeth, but Priscilla, Mother of John the Baptist? (Luke 1:13)

Not Eve, but Priscilla, wife of Adam? (Genesis 2)

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5-6)

No matter what historical Bible figure she “replaces,” this is wrong. Where did Priscilla Shirer get this idea the Lord is okay with people inserting themselves into God’s Word as…Bible characters?

It is probable this is from contemplative teacher Jan Johnson. According to Priscilla Shirer, “Years ago, I got a chance to meet Jan Johnson albeit only by phone – and yet in the short time we spent talking, I was encouraged and redirected in so many ways. As a young woman trying to navigate the ins and outs of my relationship with the Lord, Ms. Jan spoke wisdom into my life that was extremely pivotal in my life – personally and in ministry.” [9]

Jan Johnson is quoted in Shirer’s book, Discerning the Voice of God. (p. 145-46) Johnson is an advocate of guided meditations. Brother Lawrence, Dallas Willard, and other contemplatives are also quoted.

On her own website, Jan Johnson asks, “Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be present in the Christmas story? How might you have felt if you were Zechariah or Elizabeth, Mary or Joseph? What if you had been an angel, a shepherd, or one of the wise men? In this online retreat featuring Jan Johnson’s Advent guide, you’ll be invited to become part of the events surrounding the birth of the Christ child. You’ll be invited to ‘taste and see’–to live inside the story for a while.” [10] (bold mine)

This is unholy. I am sorry. There is no other word for it. This goes beyond arrogant, beyond disrespectful. People like Wycliffe and Tyndale died for the Word of God so that we could…pretend to replace saints and angels in Bible stories as if we were putting on clothes for a costume party?

This doesn’t honor God–it makes it all about us.

Jan Johnson has an Ignatian background. [11] Ignatius of Loyola was a fierce opponent of the Reformation, and founder of the Jesuits. The Jesuits are big on contemplative prayer. Ironic that Ignatius, this fierce soldier of Roman Catholicism, is invading the Protestant church centuries after his death.

According to a writer on a pro-Ignatian website, “Ignatian spirituality sees the same with the stories in the Bible. Our imagination can place ourselves in the boat with Jesus and his friends on the stormy sea. Or at the table at the Last Supper, listening in on the conversation, even participating. Ignatius says if we let our imagination free, not forcing it or “scripting” it, God can use it to show us something. I recall, in my own prayer, the vivid scene with Mary and Martha. I was one of their friends waiting for Jesus to arrive to raise from the dead our brother Lazarus. We spoke about Lazarus’ life and how much we missed him. But then our friend Jesus came along and brought him back to life. You should have seen the tears and embraces as the four of us rejoiced.” [12]

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. (Galatians 6:7)

One writer describes Jan Johnson’s approach to meditating with Advent and Christmas stories: “Johnson invites readers to enter into the stories through a sort of neo-Ignatian approach she calls ‘participative meditation.'” [12]

Here’s the thing. I know Priscilla Shirer doesn’t see contemplative prayer as spiritually dangerous. Nor will thousands of women who see War Room, buy her book and/or the Be Still DVD, and follow her spiritual lead.

Source Notes:

  1. Priscilla Shirer, Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God Speaks, p. 39
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid
  5. Ibid.
  6. http://www.goingbeyond.com/ministry/ministry-faqs/
  7. http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/bestilldvd.htm
  8. Priscilla Shirer, Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God Speaks, p. 39
  9. http://www.goingbeyond.com/blog/wisbits/
  10. http://www.janjohnson.org/taste_-_see.html
  11. Jan Johnson, Education: BA, Christian education, Ozark Christian College; journalism courses, UCLA; spirituality courses, Azusa Pacific University; graduate, Academy for Spiritual Formation; Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola 30-day Retreat, 2006; D.Min. Graduate Theological Foundation (Ignatian Spirituality & Spiritual Direction), 2006
  12. godinallthings.com/2012/05/24/dreams-imagination/
  13. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithforward/2014/11/early-christmas-joy-meditating-with-the-advent-and-christmas-stories/
Tagged: be still dvd, beth moore, bethel church redding, christian entertainment, christian movies, contemplative prayer, faith, history, IHOP_KC, meditation, priscilla shirer, unholy, visions, war roomimage

Authors: mywordlikefire

Read more http://mywordlikefire.com/2015/09/18/war-rooms-priscilla-shirers-contemplative-history-and-why-it-matters/