Good Stuff Found on the Web — First Hand Report on Contemplative Prayer Seminar

Thanks to Jim Pierce’s blog, Confessional Bytes, I came across this posting by Frank Gillespie, author of the blog “Putting Out The Fire” talking about his first hand experience at one of the South East District’s seminars on Contemplative Prayer and Spiritual Formation.

Frank Gillespie talking in the intro from Confessional Bytes:

“A bit ago I attended a Prayer and Spiritual Formation workshop put on by my district; the SED. When the class was over I was even more concerned about the direction of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod than I was ever before. This post will be the first in a series of posts on the class. I haven’t decided how many posts to write just yet because there is just so much material that I could spend years on this topic alone. Spending that much time on one topic would bore me to tears and that isn’t something I would look forward to. We’ll see how it all plays out…

According to the presenter the purpose of the workshop was “to reintroduce prayer forms and spiritual disciplines that were lost”[2:47] and that we’d be in our time together experiencing and “reclaiming our ancient heritage going way back, right to the New Testament” The presenter lamented the fact that most pastors (and the laity emulating their pastors out of ignorance) only knew how to pray by talking to God and said that he hoped that we would “experiment” and use some of the prayer forms introduced. He also stated that he would be willing to make suggestions as to where we should go as a congregation and that he has worked with over 45 congregations as well as working with several districts other than the LCMS.”

Read the full report over on Putting Out the Fire and keep an eye on Frank Gillespie’s site for more reports on his experience.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


Good Stuff Found on the Web — First Hand Report on Contemplative Prayer Seminar — 22 Comments

  1. I don’t know what your concern is as stated above, or rather not stated above. Are you saying that you are for “only” speaking to God without form or are you saying that you would like to see prayers that are part of liturgy brought back? Personally after wandering around in the world of evangelicalism for a long period, I am all for abandoning the kind of prayer that just wanders ie “Lord, we JUST want you to heal this person” or “Father God, we JUST want you to help us buy the car that is in your will”. In other words, those kinds of prayers seem to be directing God instead of asking Him for those this we need. Could you be more specific?

  2. Lutheran Lady, the presenter was NOT talking about prayers in the Liturgy, but rather prayer forms that he claims were “lost” by the church. Also, the prayers and the focus of the workshop were not God the Father or Christ but rather the Holy Spirit who the presenter says we “don’t focus enough on.” Those are his words not mine.

  3. All, I’m gonna be away from my computer for most of the weekend and will not be able to address specific questions here or at POTF. I’m going to reporting what I saw with very little commentary for the first series of posts (but ya’ll are welcome to comment your hearts out) and will deal with the serious problems of the workshop in post 4 or 5.

  4. @Lutheran Lady #1

    One concern is that the presenter was introducing a meditation form, common in eastern religions, where participants were asked to “visualize” breathing in the Holy Spirit as light and exhaling darkness. When Jesus told us how to pray He didn’t not say to visualize breathing in the Holy Spirit and we certainly don’t exhale the darkness of our hearts or death. The focus on breath is also part of these sort of eastern meditation practices. The whole purpose for these sort of meditation practices is to rid the mind of “noise” and empty it so one can have a greater, deeper spiritual experience. This type of praying belongs with Hindu and Buddhist practices, not Christian.

  5. Jim is right. Also, our Lord gave us examples in how to pray, not only with the Lord’s Prayer but in His own prayers to the Father and the Psalms. Shall we seek another way to approach the Father other than the way He has shown us? Also the focus should never be on us and our own practices to reach spiritual heights, especially from other religious traditions, or discredited heresies such as Gnosticism, but always trusting Him and the the work He is doing for our spiritual “formation.” Sanctification is His work,not ours. It’s not our own project. If we seek Grace, He has given us the means of Grace, but it is all Him us-ward.

  6. How about praying that these clowns be converted to historic Lutheranism! And then, perhaps they may see that the best prayer of all to pray is our Lord’s Prayer and to pray it every day, even several times a day? From there, we could show them “The Treasury of Daily Prayer” and even “The Meditations of Johann Gerhard”?
    One thing I hope passes into oblivion soon is the feigned humility prayers of “Lord, we just…” !!!

  7. @Carl #12

    So, let me just get this straight. You just wann get rid of the word “just” in prayer, because you just find it offensive and just kind of phony?

    I just wanted to check that out, and you can just let me know if I’m right.


  8. Yohannes,
    Have you ever listened to one? They go on……………..
    but a “wejus” prayer could be summed up as “Lord, if you’ll [only] do everything we ask, we’ll [merely] thank you. 🙁

    [I’m not enthusiastic about “revival style” extemp prayer either.]

    But, hey, “whatever lights your fire.” 🙂

  9. @Carl #12
    The presenter said the goal was NOT nor should be to convert folks to Lutheranism, historic or otherwise. He said he would be happy if people went to the insert the denomination church down the street.

  10. @Frank Gillespie #15
    “He said he would be happy if people went to the [insert the denomination] church down the street.”

    Then the [denomination] church down the street should sponsor his presentation!

  11. @Helen #14

    I get it. I’ve just listened to way too many. They just irritate me. I just wanna ask that “wejus” (I love the term, Helen) goes away.

    Justhannes (aka Yohannes). (Or just “Yo” if you just like)

  12. Jim,
    I’m so glad you wrote this, saw it at your blog first. The best I can do is say thank you. It’s frightening, that when this is brought into a congregation, the mindsets that must be in place to allow CP, to slither in! And SLITHER IN, is how it happens, 97% of the time. You are rather kind, in this post, describing CP. CP masks fallen beliefs, departures from Scripture, the blending other religions, let alone Lutheran (or any other) foundational doctrine. Ask any true Hindu, or practitioner of Yoga, if this in any way, can be morphed into “Christian”. No…it never can be. The East has had influence centuries before now, there is nothing new under the sun, folks.

    “This is a new, bright & shiny way to “pray”. Oh, forget what Jesus said, we discovered the “red phone” to the Trinity!!!! And guess what?! All it takes is action & effort from you, not Them, YOU.”

    In case anyone should misunderstand, this is about your showy & braggart actions to prove yourself to be, “better & more” than you are (or the next guy), if you should attempt this, you are on an even plane w/Trinity, and all you have to do to achieve a “special relationship” w/Them, is to do prayer, this way. It is why they support & encourage doing this.
    It’s like the Assembly of God, if ya don’t speak in tongues, you don’t have the Holy Spirit. If we didn’t buy that snake oil, why did so many “Divine Office” holders, in LCMS, buy this snake oil? Numbers, actions, & $$$. It packs the house, so to speak. But….what is quality, of what packs the house? Quantity, versus Quality. What does our Lord seek? Multitudes or a true loving & REPENTANT & HUMBLE heart? You will never find those, among practitioners of CP. It’s the hook that works, “did God really say….?” The most ancient of lies, from the father of lies. It worked in the Garden, and it still works today.

    It is now our issue, but it has been a heresy, in other denoms for quite some time. It has nothing to do with a “denom” it has to do with what we were warned against in Scripture. Wolves in sheep’s clothing, scoffers, He is over here or over there, and the broken hearted lament, that those have departed from their first Love.

    Lutherans, don’t teach & encourage our children to play with Ouija Boards, shame on those who teach them to play with “prayer boards” from the East. They are both, in the end…
    the same thing.

  13. @Johannes #17
    I just wanna ask that “wejus” (I love the term, Helen) goes away.

    I can’t “tm” the term; I got it from my Pastor. 🙂
    But I don’t think it’s original with him either.

    Down here in “fundy” country (it is really too bad to hang the babtis with all of it!) we can get quite a dose, if we are unwise enough to listen to televangelists, or radio gospel.

  14. More people need to read and become informed about this Reclaim Prayer Conference that promotes mysticism and other unsound prayer practices. It may come in like an “angel of light” but will bring in the darkness possibly by the method of “The Frog in the Kettle” in order not to alarm the congregations in the LCMS Churches.
    The pastors that attended may bring along a group of members, elders and staff that he can influence with these practices. I have seen this occurring in my own church and have seen the subtle ways they are permeating the church with what was learned at the workshop.
    LCMS beware and watchful and dilegent before this permeats throughout the synod.
    Praise God that Frank Gillespie has courageously brought this into the light for all to examine. Pray for him!

  15. That poor [mythical] frog !!!

    Any frog with sense (most) would get out of hot water if he could.

    Which may put him ahead of Missouri congregations!

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