Excerpts from

CBN Presents Soaking Prayer Seminar

Serious Problems with this Practice

Lighthouse Trails  - June 24, 2008

See the rest of the newsletter here





Catch the Fire Ministries. CBN posted an article about Evans who is the USA Coordinator for Soaking Centers. The article, titled "Soaking in the Spirit," explains that "the aim of soaking prayer is to put oneself in an attitude of stillness, focusing on Jesus without an agenda."

Evans, originally from South Africa, is now part of the training staff for the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, the church in Canada where the "Toronto Blessing" began. In an article written by Evans titled "How to Experience the Father's Love," she says that soaking prayer "is a simple practice that was lost to the majority of the Church for centuries" (see Desert Fathers).

On the TACF website, where a description and instructions are given about soaking prayer, it says that those who practice soaking prayer will often respond with falling or lying on the floor, where they "soak in God's presence." 1 Instructions for soaking suggest turning on "intimate worship music with meaningful words that quiet your soul and help you draw near to God." Results can include: a feeling that a heavy weight is on the body, an electric tingling in the hands and feet, and a warm sensation going through the heart.

While the instructions on the TACF website are rather vague, there is no question that soaking prayer is something that must be taught and practiced. Offering numerous soaking prayer Kits, including one for teens, special soaking prayer music, and "soaking essentials" (pillow and blanket), along with an entire training seminar on how to start your own soaking prayer center, is evidence that what is being taught goes beyond the realm of a biblical quiet time where a believer reads the Word, meditates mindfully on it, and prays.

The goal in soaking prayer is to quiet the soul and enter into a stillness. Once in this stilled state, the participant can supposedly feel God's presence and hear His voice, and thus experience His love and perhaps healing from wounds of the past. But being able to shut off the mind to enter this stillness is not something that can take place naturally, and this is where contemplative prayer and soaking prayer become basically synonymous. On the TACF website, one of the topics taught at the Soaking School is actually called "Contemplative Prayer."2 The "meaningful words that quiet your soul" are indicative of this.

In a revealing article about soaking prayer, Roger Harper, a UK chaplain, stated: "Soaking prayer is a modern form of contemplative prayer ... The Toronto church sees soaking prayer as one of the main ways in which they encourage people to be open to the Holy Spirit ... Joyce Huggett notes, 'a fresh touch of God's Spirit often opens the door to contemplative prayer.'" While some claim that soaking prayer is different than contemplative prayer, it is interesting that this article points readers to Richard Foster and Henri Nouwen. Interestingly, in Harper's article, he writes about John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard Church movement.

"John taught that there are signs that the Holy Spirit is on a person. 'Some of these phenomena are obvious: weeping, cries, exuberant and prolonged expressions of praise, shaking, trembling, calmness, bodily writhing and distortions, falling over (sometimes referred to as 'being slain in the Spirit'), laughter and jumping. Other phenomena are more subtle: slight trembling, fluttering of the eyelids, faint perspiring, a sheen on the face, ripples on the skin, deep breathing..' Wimber also said that people sometimes experience a sense of heaviness or tiredness, weeping or drunkenness."
These symptoms that Wimber describes, along with the electric tingling and warm sensations described at TACF, are also the signs of what is called the Kundalini effect. Ray Yungen discusses this:

"[K]undalini is a Hindu term for the mystical power or force that underlies Hindu spirituality. In Hinduism it is commonly referred to as the serpent power. St. Romain, a substance abuse counselor and devout Catholic lay minister, began his journey while practicing contemplative prayer or resting in the still point, as he called it.... Having rejected mental prayer as "unproductive," he embraced the prayer form that switches off the mind, creating what he described as a mental passivity. What he encountered next underscores my concern with sobering clarity:

"Then came the lights! The gold swirls that I had noted on occasion began to intensify, forming themselves into patterns that both intrigued and captivated me ... There were always four or five of these; as soon as one would fade, another would appear, even brighter and more intense ... They came through complete passivity and only after I had been in the silence for a while."
"After this, St. Romain began to sense 'wise sayings' coming into his mind and felt he was "receiving messages from another.' He also had physical developments occur during his periods in the silence. He would feel 'prickly sensations' on the top of his head and at times it would 'fizzle with energy.' This sensation would go on for days."3
In A Time of Departing, Ray Yungen talks about a Life Times magazine article about a woman who was initially skeptical about mystical experiences. Her skepticism evaporated when she discovered that meditation was "a powerful force":
"Soon I began to notice unusual sensations in my body while meditating. It felt like energy flowing through me. In the morning I woke up feeling happy and energetic and filled with a glowing warmth as though I had been sleeping in the sunshine on a sandy beach. Gradually the sensations became stronger and after a while it seemed like electric currents were coursing through my body. My fingers tingled and I felt a slight throbbing in the palms of my hands. I had no inkling of the significance of this energy until one night in a very lucid dream, I was told that I could heal."4
Thus, we can see that what happens to a person during Hindu or New Age meditation is the same as what happens during contemplative prayer or soaking prayer.

While TACF and Evans use several Scriptures to support their belief in soaking prayer, a look at these Scriptures do not indicate that a method like soaking is being suggested at all.
"Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still." Psalm 4:4

"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." Psalm 37:7

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
These verses in no way indicate that a mystical practice is engaged in order to still the mind. When the Bible says "be still," it is talking about trusting the Lord, not becoming anxious or agitated, but resting and trusting in Him. And there is nothing in Scripture that suggests we will experience these physical symptoms when in God's presence or when spending time in prayer.

In an article titled "Toronto-Blessing: Christian Based Magic?," the writer describes the symptoms that occur during meetings with Swami Baba Muktananda:
"The Swami would transfer what was called "guru grace" to his followers through physical touch (shaktipat). This "grace" triggered the gradual awakening of the Kundalini which in turn produced various physical and emotional manifestations.

"These included uncontrollable laughter, roaring, barking, hissing, shaking, etc. Some devotees became mute or unconscious. Many felt themselves being infused with feelings of great joy and peace and love. At other times the "fire" of Kundalini was so overpowering they would find themselves involuntarily hyperventilating to cool themselves down."
When CBN presents their Spiritual Gifts Seminar this coming Tuesday with Marguerite Evans, we pray that participants will have their eyes opened and see that soaking prayer is not biblical prayer but could put them into contact with realms that would endanger their spiritual wellbeing.

Notes (not live links):

3. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Silverton, OR: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2nd ed. 2006), pp. 48-49, citing Philip St. Romain, Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality, Crossroad Pub. Co., 1995, pp. 20-29.

4.Mary Ellen Lafferty, "The Joys and Frustrations of Being a Healer" (Life Times, Issue Number 3), p. 59.

More research on soaking prayer.

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