Soaking Prayer vs. Centering Prayer

In the Evangelical world, whenever the phrases “contemplative prayer,” “meditation,” or “divine contemplation” are brought up in discussion, they are either met with suspicion, retaliation, or ignorance. They are almost always resisted. Contemplative prayer, or the practice of “being still, and knowing that God is God” (Psalm 46:10), has come in many forms throughout the history of Christian spirituality. The ascetic contemplations of the Desert Fathers, the “hesychasm” of the Eastern Orthodox monks, the “meditations on the life of Christ” in the Catholic Church, the “prayer of quiet,” the simple “beholding the Lord” with the Quietists, the “silent worship” of the Quakers, the “tarrying” of the Pentecostals, and the “seeking God’s face” of the Charismatics.
     In the 1970s, a group of liberal Catholic monks became leaders of the “centering prayer” movement. This was New Age and borrowed Eastern meditation practices and incorporated it into Christian meditation. In the 1990s, in the Third Wave movement, “soaking prayer” developed–no New Age stuff involved. The presence of the Holy Spirit fills the contemplators. This is especially popular in Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. It is not New Age, but an authentic restoration of contemplative prayer. But centering prayer on the other hand, is definitely New Age.

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