In the last few days, posts have been brought to my attention on Facebook regarding “soaking prayer” and whether it is a practice which Christians should participate in. For my part, it is a practice which I cannot recommend for a variety of reasons including it’s close association with mysticism and Eastern mediation practices.
Meditation and prayer (as understood and defined in the Bible) is an active process.
Prayer is communication with God in which we are an active participant. Methods of prayer (such as contemplative or soaking) which recommend focusing on a single word such as “Holy”, “Lord”, or whatever, are employing techniques of Eastern mediation (which has as it’s goal a “silencing” of the mind) and “vain repetition” spoken of by Jesus in his teaching on prayer in Matthew 6:7-13 NLT:
“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.”
This does not mean, however, we cannot be find peace in His presence as we find shelter in God through prayer, meditating on His word by studying, ruminating, considering, and learning what it means. The Bible is God’s written word. It is in scripture we learn of God’s character and nature, we see Him through the person of Jesus Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Consider these words from Psalm 62: 1-2, 5-8 NLT:
I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.
There is peace which passes understanding as we grow in our relationship with God. Submitting to Him, seeking the Lord in all things. It’s in this way, we can wait in His presence, trusting the Lord’s plans and promises are good. Being in God’s presence does not require “soaking” or emptying our minds to hear His voice or experience His amazing love.
For me, engaging in practices which are part and parcel of mysticism or occult practice have no place in worship of the true God. What I experience in relationship with the Lord through prayer and learning His word is a much more rich and all encompassing part of my daily walk with Him.