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.


About John Boruff

John Boruff is a Philosophy and Religion graduate from UNC Pembroke. In his free time, he blogs about the Christian life; and has special interests in evangelism and spiritual gifts. He identifies himself as a Reformed Arminian Pentecostal. He’s also a husband and dad. John loves street preaching. His influences are Leonard Ravenhill, David Wilkerson, John Wesley, Charles Finney, etc. John is always in the process of writing; and is posting free e-books on this site for cultivating a deeper Christian life. Among them are his 'How to Experience God' and 'The Gospel of Jesus Christ.' He is currently working on the lives of great prophets in church history—from Catholic saints to Protestant reformers and revivalists. He is also working on a Biblical theology of poverty alleviation.
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