by Julie T.
In discussing Brad Jersak’s book Can You Hear Me? with a friend, it came up that Jesus’ instructions on prayer were not exhaustive. The Lord’s Prayer isn’t the only prayer in the Bible; we are not limited to praying just those words. My friend agreed that there are things directly forbidden by Scripture, such as divination and sorcery; but she suggested that different prayer methods could fall into an area of Christian freedom, where it is not directly commanded, but also not directly forbidden.
I agree that Jesus’ instructions, which include the Lord’s prayer, are not exhaustive teaching on prayer; the rest of Scripture should also be studied. Because the Scriptures Jersak used to support listening prayer were typically used out of context, I tried to hunt for other examples. I didn’t come up with any solid examples of listening prayer or inner healing prayer/visualization. The Bible records people having visions from God, but not by means of a believer walking another person through steps of healing, or by a believer visualizing an inner meeting place with God. Am I missing some biblical examples?
My friend and I agreed that divination and sorcery are prohibited in Scripture; it seems that where we differ is that I fear that listening prayer/visualizations might actually be divination. How do we define divination, and how do we draw the line between seeking after God (who is spirit) and divination?
Divination is the practice of seeking knowledge of the future or the unknown by supernatural means. My understanding is that trying to contact spirits or get information from spirits is divination and would not be acceptable for a Christian. When New Age practitioners are seeking a spirit guide, they are practicing divination (and they do tend to get a response from a demon). I already pointed out that they use the same techniques that Jersak recommends in his book. Is “divination” okay as long as the person you’re trying to contact is the Holy Spirit? Would you approve tarot cards as long as you prayed first and asked Jesus for guidance? (I’m not saying this as a joke – there is a ministry called Christalignment that uses “Destiny Cards,” which are basically tarot cards.) Would you be fine with using a Ouija board as long as you are trying to contact the Holy Spirit?
Because divination is prohibited in the Scriptures, I want to stick with communicating with God/spirits in the ways that Scripture specifically permits. Saul was able to contact Samuel after he died, through a witch. It was real – it worked – but God says it’s off limits for us. Speaking to God in prayer is fully approved and commanded. But doing exercises and practices to try to see Jesus or hear His voice directly? I’m not convinced it’s been permitted in Scripture.
Part of evaluating a doctrine or practice is looking at the fruit it produces. (That’s why I wanted to look into Jersak’s doctrine – to see if he was accurately preaching the Gospel after being immersed in his practices for some time.) And I didn’t want to just look at Jersak, but what about other people who do these practices? Where does it lead?
Here’s an extreme case, but it’s essentially the same thing Jersak said we could do when we share the Gospel – just hold their hands, have them close their eyes, and help them meet Jesus right now! Christalignment does this (after they use their Destiny Cards) Watch and see.
Next is a video critical of Christalignment that includes footage I couldn’t find posted separately; the point is to show you the destiny cards, and then ladies sharing their experiences about meeting Jesus (one claims that Jesus touched her in ways she’s been longing to be touched … no joke.)