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We know that voices that speak to you can cause havoc in your life. The stories fly in from media sources of those who “hear” voices telling them to do awful things like kill people or to harm oneself. We rightly determine that the source of these voices are evil and demonic.
Christians however often believe themselves protected from such deception. This is far from the truth. Our adversary the devil disguises himself as an angel of light. 2 Corthinians 11:14. He knows that his true identity needs to be hidden or else be outright rejected.
The problem is that Christians are often no longer satisfied with walking in faith and Sola Scripture. They are lured into seeking experiences. Meditative practices offer such spiritual delusion.
I speak from past experience. I was drawn into pentecostal theology of receiving personal “words”. It was pleasant. I was filled with joy at being used by the Lord. I wept with gratitude and humility. But something was wrong and I knew it. Nagging thoughts sent red flags.
I started praying for truth no matter how hard it would be to my pride. And it was pride. My thoughts got twisted. Surely the Lord would use me in this way because of my deep humility. I was led to 1 Samuel 15:23.
“For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”
This verse cut to my very soul and my sin was exposed. The scales fell from my eyes.
Encountering voices in contemplative prayer . . .
he who is not from God does not listen to us.
By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
—The Apostle John, 1 John 4:6, NASB
Through practicing the discipline of solitude and silence, contemplative spiritualists hope to hear God personally speak to them. As one nationally known personality stated on the Be Still DVD, “intimacy automatically breeds revelation.” But if a voice speaks, there is some question regarding its identity. Therefore in the video’s same segment, “Fear of Silence,” Richard Foster offers advice about how to discern who might communicate in the stillness. He said:
Learning to distinguish the voice of God… from just human voices within us… comes in much the same way that we learn any other voice. Satan pushes and condemns. God draws and encourages. And we can know the difference.
Though there could be others, Richard Foster admits to cacophony of possible voices that might speak: first, human voices within and without (a source that could involve hearing oneself speak, in which case, contemplators would be listening to themselves); second, the voice of Satan or demons; and third, God’s voice.
In order to determine whose voice might be speaking, Foster provides criteria. If the voice ispositiveand reaffirming, then the voice is God’s. If however the voice is negative and that like a bully who “pushes and condemns,” then the voice must be that of Satan. To discern whether or not the voice is human, Foster offers no advice.
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This is an excerpt from
Potentially Harmful and Dangerous Spiritual Practices
Compiled from numerous sources by Chris Lawson
Contemplative Spirituality / Spiritual Formation (Please read note below)
- “Ancient Prayer” Practices
- Awareness of Being
- Being in the Present Moment
- Beyond Words
- Breath Prayers
- Centering prayer
- Dark night of the soul
- Divine Center
- Divine Mystery
- Ignation Contemplation
- Inner light
- Jesus Candles
- Lectio Divina
- Mantra prayers
- “Palms Up, Palms Down”
- Practicing the Presence
- Prayer of the Heart
- Prayer Stations
- Sacred Space
- Slow Prayer
- Spiritual Direction
- Spiritual Disciplines
- Spiritual Formation
- The Jesus Prayer
- Thin Place
- The Silence
SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRITUALITY PRACTICES:
The contemplative spirituality catch phrases and practices referred to above are used by Eastern occultists, religious mystics, and many “well-intentioned” Christians. Almost the enitre list of these practices has been gleaned from Eastern mysticism and the occult – and they have been brought into Christian settings. Due to the massive explosion of experience driven Christianity and the endorsements of many well known personalities, these practices are now thought by many to actually be “Christian”.
It must be clearly noted however that “Christian mystics” gleaned these practices from Eastern religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism. (See The Desert Fathers, Fr. Bede Griffiths, Fr. Thomas Keating, Thomas Merton, etc.) As such, they are “Christianized” forms of non-Christian practices. Even biblical prayer has been convoluted and re-defined as “centering prayer”, the “Jesus prayer”, “slow prayer”, “mantra prayer”, “meditation” (unbiblcal forms), etc.
We make special note of this here because oftentimes the “results” that people experience from these Eastern practices are contrary to biblical theology and balanced Christian practice. With this in view, it is no wonder that a number of so-called Christian leaders in our age have adopted a pantheistic, occult worldview – in place of a biblical, Christian worldview. The proof of this can be found in their books and sermons. The tragic end result of this is that many undiscerning church-goers (and quite a number of true Christians) are now being subjected to and influenced by an unbiblical Christianity. This new Christianized form of Eastern spirituality is an amalgamation of Eastern occult practices mixed with theologically corrupted biblical terminology. In theory it has major problems and in practice it can very quickly lead to spiritual delusion.
Another very serious problem that can arise through the use of a number of these practices is direct, overt contact with the spirit world apart from God. The technique or practice of “Centering prayer” as contemplatives call it, has a very strong potential to introduce well-intentioned people to occult practices such as Clairvoyance, Clairaudience and Clairsentience, etc. The Bible calls this divination, a form of the occult condemned by God Himself (Deuteronomy 18). Click here to see many references of the biblical condemnation of divination in any form).
It is very simple to do the research and find out just where these practices originate from and how they have crept into the church. Sadly, many refuse to look at the facts!
Madame Guyon: Catholic, Mystic, Apostate
Fundamental Baptist Information Service
P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061,
First Published March 21, 2001 & Updated June 9, 2004
Used By Permission
The writings of Madame Guyon (1648-1717) are very popular today in evangelical, charismatic, and ecumenical circles. Guyon was a Roman Catholic who had visions and other mystical experiences and wrote about them in her published works.
Guyon wanted to enter a convent when she was a girl but her parents would not allow it and arranged her marriage to a 37-year-old man when she was only 15. It was an unhappy marriage and she turned increasingly to her mystical experiences and a search for “union with God.”
After he husband died in 1676, she gave herself wholly to her mystical pursuits. She joined a group of ascetic Quietist Catholics led by a Barnabite monk named Francios La Combe. She toured parts of France, Switzerland, and Italy for five years with La Combe, from 1681-86. La Combe taught that meditation of God requires a passive (quiet) state of contemplation that goes beyond the level of the conscious thinking process.
Guyon claimed that she went through a series of spiritual states through her mystical experiences. The first, which she called “union of the powers,” lasted eight years. During this time, she felt drawn to God alone and drawn away from people. The second state, which she called “mystical death,” lasted seven years, during which she had a feeling of detachment from God and was plagued with deep mental depression and thoughts of hell and judgment. She frequently had dark, weird dreams, which she considered a form of revelation. In the third state, which she called “the apostolic state,” she claimed that she was absorbed into and united with God. During this time, she preached, but she did not preach the gospel; she preached mystical experiences.
As she fasted to the extreme and often went without sleep, her mystical experiences increased. She experienced what she thought was union with the essence of God. She had mental delusions or demonic visitations such as envisioning “horrible faces in blueish light.” She went into trances, which would leave her unable to speak for days. During some trances, she wrote things that she believed were inspired (Guyon, An Autobiography, p. 321-324). She claimed that she and La Combe could communicate with one another for hours without speaking verbally. She believed she could speak in the language of angels.
In 1688, Madame Guyon was arrested on heresy charges and imprisoned in a convent for several months. In December 1695, she was again imprisoned, this time for seven years. Released in March 1703, she spent the final 15 years of her life on the estate of her son-in-law.
Her work on prayer, “A Short and Very Easy Method of Prayer,” was first published in 1685.
THE POPULARITY OF GUYON’S WRITINGS
After her death, Madame Guyon’s works were published by a Dutch Protestant pastor named Poiret. In the 1700s, her books were popular among some Lutherans, Methodists, and Moravians.
For many decades, Moody Press has published an edition of Madam Guyon’s Autobiography. It contains no disclaimer of Guyon’s spiritual and doctrinal errors. In fact, the introduction states, “We offer no word of apology for publishing the autobiography of Madame Guyon, those expressions of devotion to her church, that found vent in her writings.”
At its online web site, Campus Crusade compares Madame Guyon’s Autobiography with John Bunyon’s Pilgrim’s Progress and recommends it without reservation.
On visits to evangelical colleges and seminaries, I have noticed that Madame Guyon’s works are featured prominently in the bookstores and are used in courses on spirituality.
Madame Guyon was included in the book Women Used of God by Ed Reese. The Joyful Woman magazine ran a half-page ad for the book in the September-October 1994 issue. The book contains brief biographies of 50 “Women Leaders of the Christian Cause” and is described as “Ideal for young people (especially girls) looking for role models.” In addition to Guyon, these “role models” include radical Pentecostal female preachers Kathryn Kuhlman and Aimee Semple McPherson.
THE ERRORS OF MADAME GUYON
There are some correct and helpful insights in Madame Guyon’s writings, but taken as a whole they are unscriptural and dangerous. Following are some of the errors:
1. SHE EMPHASIZED THE SURRENDER OF HERSELF TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WITHOUT RESERVATION.
Madam Guyon spoke of her goal as “perfect obedience to the will of the Lord, submission to the church” (Guyon, Autobiography). She was referring, of course, to the Catholic Church.
2. SHE FOCUSED ON HAVING AN EXPERIENCE OF GOD RATHER THAN KNOWING HIM BY FAITH THROUGH THE BIBLE.
This is the essence of mysticism. To the contrary, though, the Lord Jesus exalted faith over sight and experience (Jn. 20:29). Paul said “we walk by faith not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). And faith only comes from the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). It does not come from within or from experiences. Madame Guyon was not Bible centered in her Christian walk, and that is a grave and fatal error.
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International House of Prayer has always been influenced by the Catholic mystics. Their bookstore on prayer is loaded with New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) authors such as Dutch Sheets, Cindy Jacobs, Chuck Pierce, C. Peter Wagner and James Goll. Dallas Willard adds another touch of controversy. Then I see that Beni Johnson of Bethel Church, Redding, is also on the list. Her daughter Jenn Johnson (Jesus Culture) recently spoke to young people about angels and their f–rting contests. Please read this article as now Francis Chan is scheduled to speak at IHOP. We are being asked to contact him with a warning.
A great testimony and another example of mysticism infiltrating the church.
Mike Bickle admits Catholic Contemplative influence on IHOP-KC
From the Office of Public Relations, Franciscan University of Steubenville, 11/9/12:
“The International House of Prayer (IHOP) was founded in 1999 by Mike Bickle, who says that many IHOP teachings draw upon the works of St. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, as well as contemporary Catholics including Father Henri Nouwen and Father Thomas Dubay, SM. The IHOP 24 hour prayer room, he says, was inspired by the spiritual practices of Catholic European monks, such as St. Bernard of Clairvaux. ‘I’ve always had a passion for Catholic-Christian unity, and enthusiastically welcome this years Catholic track,’ says Bickle. ‘We may have different religious traditions, but we focus on fellowship, and unity and Jesus being glorified in prayer, worship, and teaching.’”  (bold mine)
Read article HERE
About four years ago, I was interacting with two youth leaders from IHOP. One of them, Zach, had a large website which featured a link with all of his recommended reading or “library”. I can confirm that all of the books listed in the below article were in his “library”. It was confirmation of the root of Catholic mystism behind this aberrant and cultic ministry.
Source My Word Like Fire
Keith Major is a former Protestant missionary, pastor, and IHOP-KC staff member who converted to Catholicism in 2009. Major was baptized in a Catholic church at age three, but his family began attending a Protestant church when he was eight years old. As a Protestant missionary, Major helped smuggle 100,000 Bibles into Russia. He served for years in Russia and Poland.
Describing his path to his 2009 conversion to Catholicism, Major stated that International House Of Prayer founder Mike Bickle encouraged him to learn about Catholic mystics. According to Major, “Being that the Director [Bickle] was a Catholic until he was twenty, he highly recommended people to read Catholic mystics, particularly Bernard of Clairvaux, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Teresa of Lisieux, Francis de Sales, Catherine of Sienna…” 
What was Bickle’s purpose in this? “He would just say if you want to know more about contemplative prayer, these are the people who have mastered it. But when you read it, spit out the bones,” said Major.  (bold mine)
Unfortunately, contemplative prayer is really the same thing as Eastern or New Age meditation, only painted with Christian terminology. The goal is to enter the silence, which is accomplished by emptying the mind of all active thought. In this mental void, spiritual deception can and does occur. This contemplative (meditative) state potentially opens people to the influence of lying spirits.
And he said, Take heed that you be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draws near: go not therefore after them. (Luke 21:8)
Contemplative prayer is far removed from genuine biblical meditation, which occurs when the Word of God is read and pondered, ruminated upon, and where the mind remains active in thought.
The foundation of IHOP-KC teaching rests upon contemplative prayer. Mike Bickle wants the book, Fire Within, which celebrates the Catholic, contemplative teachings of John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, “to be the manual for IHOP-KC.” [3 ] Bickle has taught contemplative prayer to his IHOP-KC flock, which he calls “communing prayer.” [4 ]
Both IHOP and the Catholic Church look to Catholic mystics like John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila for spiritual truth. Such IHOP/Catholic contemplative commonality does much to explain IHOP’s “partnership” with the (Catholic) Steubenville Conferences at Onething 2012.
Ex-IHOP staff member Keith Major is now Marketing Coordinator at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. There is still obviously a connection with International House Of Prayer. On Major’s blog is an announcement for “Catholic Track at IHOP’s Onething conference 2012.” 
The announcement states, “The International House Of Prayer is partnering with Steubenville Conferences in the first ever Catholic Track at Onething in the Kansas Convention Center this December 28-31. Archbishop Joseph F. Nauman, Scott Hahn, Ralph Martin, Mike Bickle, Misty Edwards, Matt Maher, Audrey Assad and others will be sharing. Join with over 25,000 attendees as this year’s theme is Encountering Jesus and His Transforming Power through living out the Sermon on the Mount.” [6 ] (bold mine)
By partnering with the Catholics in the Onething conference, IHOP-KC is sending a message to every young person in attendance that praying to Mary and the saints, believing in purgatory, even believing the Eucharist to be the literal body and blood of Christ, are not important differences.
But the most important issue is that of Salvation.
According to qotquestions.org, “The most crucial problem with the Roman Catholic Church is its belief that faith alone in Christ is not sufficient for salvation. The Bible clearly and consistently states that receiving Jesus Christ as Savior, by grace through faith, grants salvation (John 1:12, 3:16, 18, 36; Acts 16:31, Romans 10:9-10, 13; Ephesians 2:8-9) The Roman Catholic Church rejects this. The official position of the Roman Catholic Church is that a person must believe in Jesus Christ AND be baptized AND receive the Eucharist along with the other sacraments AND obey the decrees of the Roman Catholic Church AND perform meritorious works AND not die with any mortal sins AND etc., etc., etc. Catholic divergence from the Bible on this most crucial of issues, salvation, means that yes, Catholicism is a false religion. If a person believes what the Catholic Church officially teaches, he/she will not be saved. Any claim that works or rituals must be added to faith in order for salvation to be achieved is a claim that Jesus’ death was not sufficient to fully purchase our salvation.” (bold mine) click to read gotquestions.org article
One of the Catholic speakers is Ralph Martin. One of Martin’s books, The Fulfillment of All Desire, is about Catholic mystics. It was this contemplative book, read while fasting, that further influenced Major to become a Catholic. Ralph Martin’s endorsement of IHOP is on the IHOP-KC website. 
The young IHOP people are so sincere, so hungry to draw closer to God. Yet they are being led by those who believe the way to God has been paved by Catholic, meditating mystics.
1. Interview on The Journey Home, go to approximately 34:55 mark Link here
2. Interview on The Journey Home, go to approximately 35:10 Link here
7. IHOP endorsed by Ralph Martin http://www.ihopkc.org/about/endorsements/
Reprinted by Permission
Other articles on this site:
This is one of the most important series I have ever read. Please carefully read all this information. Spiritual deception is at an all time high.
Quantum Mysticism Goes to Market
COSMS, CODES, AND CRYPTOLOGIES, Conclusion
I had been deceived into believing that I was going to hear from God by sitting in silence by waiting and listening. Now please know that I was not expecting an audible voice, nor did I ever hear one, but I was definitely influenced in my thinking during these times of silence. What I did EXPERIENCE was a beautiful illumination of light. It was so wonderful that I don’t have the words to describe it. I was convinced that this was the glory of God and wanted all of my loved ones to have this wonderful experience.
I was sincerely seeking God, but sincerity apart from the Word of God leads to deception. I was diagnosed with severe Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2005 and had been on my knees crying out to God for relief from the severe pain. Pain so bad that I couldn’t walk on my feet or even wear shoes. My hands so swollen and painful that I couldn’t hold a fork, wash my hands, or go to the bathroom by myself. But what Satan intended for evil God used for good. God allowed this terrible time in my life to test my faith and like Peter even thought it seemed as if my faith had failed as I fell for a Satanic trap, God’s power is greater and set me free.
It all started by believing that I needed to be quiet to hear God speak to me. I had read a book by Madame Guyon, the Catholic mystic when I was in my early twenties and had a mystical experience that had really frightened me, so I put away the book. When I had the experience in 2006, I remembered the first experience and pulled back out this book. Eventually I became aware that she was a Catholic mystic and was set free from this deception and realized I had been practicing contemplative prayer. The worst fruit of this deception is how I felt special and better than my fellow Christians because I had this experience. How utterly humbling to find out that I was so deceived.
It is a long story, but I just wanted to contact you because there are so few “Christians” anymore with whom I can fellowship. I have a wonderful friend, but she lives far away and we talk everyday on the phone. Then I have my older sister who is a wonderful Godly Christian lady, but she lives far away, but mostly everyone I know has been infected by Babylonian mysticism in one way or another and they don’t see the need to come out of it. It is heart breaking as I weep over the condition of the churches.
Like you I spend all of my free time reading the scriptures. That and sharing my faith with anyone who will listen are the only things that interest me in this world. I want to walk so closely with the Lord that He takes me like Enoch and Elijah. That is my goal and hearts desire. Surely it won’t be much longer, but even though there is much darkness, it seems more is to come.
Come Lord Jesus,
Valerie can be reached at
Got80@aol.com if you have any questions for her.