Tuesday, December 31, 2013

MEDITATIVE or CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER: Good or Bad?

"Prayer that is based on relationship and not transaction may be the most freedom-enhancing way of connecting to a God whose vantage point we can never achieve and can hardly imagine. ...... "We need not bang a drum or bring animal sacrifices to get God's full attention; we already have it."
(Quotes from Philip Yancey's book on prayer)

Meditative or contemplative prayer may be one of the most divisive issues in Christian thought today.  Some say it is a great way to draw closer to God while others claim it is a tool of the devil and is drawn from the occult. There isn't any need to discuss the issue with folks who hold a strong opinion on the subject. No matter which side they take they know they are right.

There is a certain group of people who are almost universally discouraged from engaging in anything close to meditative prayer.  I am speaking of those of us who have been given a psychiatric label.  We are discouraged from getting too deep into anything spiritual because it might cause us to become delusional or less compliant with our medical treatment.

Yes, I know that people talk about us having a spiritual side, but few programs trying to help the people considered seriously mentally ill have a spiritual component to them.  In fact, I personally don't know of any although I am sure there are some.

I would like to see the funding sources such as Medicaid and the states take seriously the fact that we have a spiritual dimension.  The truth is that many of the phenomena labeled in DSM-5 may be a spiritual crisis and not a mental health issue at all.

Let me ask you this simple question.  If you were the victim of childhood sexual abuse, do you think it would be of more help to see a therapist or to go to a place where other abuse victims were seeking the solace for their souls in God's creation and by drawing closer to the Creator?

This coming year I hope folks will give some thought to how they can help those of us labeled with a mental illness draw closer to the embrace of the One who only wants to show us grace.   

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