Review: Mike Bickle on Contemplative Prayer (part-1)


Is God restoring contemplative prayer to the Church? 

Mike Bickle, director of the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, and a well-known leader in the Prophetic Movement, says he is.

Bickle also claims that contemplative prayer is a God-ordained means of entering into the fullness of God, and that the brightest lights in church history have been Roman Catholic mystics who lived during the dark ages. He went on to say the western church had much to learn from these mystics.

Anti-evangelical propaganda is prominent throughout his message. He informs his followers that they are constantly being put on the defensive by, and apologizing to, evangelical Christians for their intensity toward God by saying “Other Christians force us to hide our intensity—to wear a façade. “…even believers in Jesus…are made uncomfortable and intimidated by our spiritual intensity.”

However, he comforts them with the good news that they don’t “have to wear any façade” when they got together in little oasis’ “like this” (meaning his and other prophetic meetings). He continued his barrage against evangelicals by saying, “They don’t grasp it at all—being introduced into the deep realms of love.”

He claims the church of the western world has abandoned its inheritance to have the fullness of God (through contemplative prayer).

Bickle freely admits to pursuing eastern religious philosophies and had nothing but criticism for the Western Evangelical Church.

According to him, evangelical Christians are a pathetic and ignorant bunch. He says of us:
  •  “The Protestant wing of the western church, which is a tiny percentage of the Body of Christ…, is nearly completely (98%) unaware that the Holy Spirit is restoring contemplative prayer—center stage—to the church… The Holy Spirit is restoring this precious jewel (contemplative prayer) to the body of Christ. This is the God ordained means of attaining the fullness of God.” audio message Comtempolative Prayer pt1 by Mike Bickle

He quotes from the contemplatives (his word for mystics) and teaches from the Sacred Pathways (which promotes the carrying of symbols or icons, choosing a mantra, and visualizing God). Each one of these things is contradictory to the Word of God, which forbids imagery and vain repetitions in prayer.

He insists we need to study the lives and writings of the Roman Catholic mystics, and because the bookstore chain of Barnes and Nobles has carried so many books in this regard, he says (in all earnestness) that B & N is prophesying to the church that we need the mystics, and he wants to know why the church isn’t picking up on the fact that God is calling the entire Body of Christ to live lifestyles of contemplative prayer?

Below are quotes from Mike Bickle about contemplative prayer:
  • “Every one in the Body Of Christ is called to live lives of contemplative prayer...”
  • “Everybody is called to live in the contemplative lifestyle. Everyone! Everyone! Everyone! That’s one of the great strongholds we have to overcome (resistance to contemplative prayer).
  • “…contemplative prayer, you gotta get over that hurdle! Barnes & Noble is prophesying it! 
  • Hurtle one we gotta understand it’s for everybody! Everybody is called to the fullness (contemplative prayer). We’re all going to go into this thing!”audio message Comtempolative Prayer pt1 by Mike Bickle

Another hindrance to contemplative prayer, says Bickle, is that we need to dismantle (“we” meaning evangelical Christianity) the idea that church history began with Martin Luther (I wasn’t aware we had that idea until he informed me of it).

Bickle says the most inspiring light in all of Christianity came from the Roman Catholic mystics during the dark ages. Below are quotes from Bickle on the mystics:
  • “mystics is a legitimate term...  I don’t want to fight the war…so I’m just saying contemplative prayer, but I mean the mystics—even here at IHOP I say, lets just stay with contemplatives …I don’t have time to argue… so I call them  the contemplatives…. I don’t want to go into the semantics, the debates…so, I’m calling it the contemplatives… I don’t have time to argue… but I need the mystics.”
  • “[They are] Some of the brightest lights in all of history… there has been the brightest lights in all history for men and women of abandonment in the dark ages… somewhere we have to say the dark ages were the luminaries in the grace of God…they were Catholic priests.”
  • “…a study of the lives of the mystics, the contemplatives, through history, and clearly the most inspiring, compelling examples of history, in my world, have come out of the Catholic dark ages. I can’t find anything like it in modern times, in America, in the protestant world.”
  • “…we need a little Holy Spirit catalytic jump start. We need to see where a few have gone before us, and say if they did we can, and we can go further… and if you’re going to go deep into that well, I’m sad to say, the vast majority of them are going to have Catholic roots in history.”audio message Contemplative Prayer part 1 by Mike Bickle

Bickle minimized the violence of middle age Roman Catholicism by saying, “But didn’t Catholics do some funny things…? Well, when you stand before the Lord you’ll find out you did some funny things too.”

Bickle heavily promotes Bernard Clairvou, who he falsely claims was a quiet little monk who only wanted to "stay in his hermitage, praying and reading The Song of Solomon." He is clearly impressed with Clairvou’s healing ministry but leaves out the part where Clairvou traveled extensively as a major instigator of the second crusade. He says, “Bernard Clairvou became my most inspiring life outside the Bible.”

The writings of Father Thomas Keating (the modern-day Father of contemplative prayer) are also promoted.

Bickle says these two men are examples, for us, of “a way to a deeper life in God.” He went on to say, “The protestant world is in great need of examples (like these) that will beckon us to the fullness of God.” --audio message Contemplative Prayer, part 1, by Mike Bickle

Mike Bickle detracts from the Bible and leading of the Holy Spirit (which is always according to what has already been written--Isaiah 8:20) by telling the Body of Christ that we need new light because we are woefully deficient in having lost God’s fullness and need to look to New Age Eastern philosophy and to Roman Catholic mystics as examples in how to restore it.

And his advice to questioning, spiritually languishing and anguishing souls (who didn’t know their real problem was that they wanted more of God—until he told them so) is this, “Don’t evaluate yourself, don’t evaluate others. Just keep going after it.” audio message Contemplative Prayer, part 1, by Mike Bickle

In plain language that means don’t read or listen to anything discerningly or analytically. Don’t pay attention to scripture, which directs believers to question and judge all things according to the Word of God. Bickle's advice is don't pay attention to anything or anybody—not even to your own inner conviction. Just go with what feels right. 

How does that jive with the psalmist who wrote, "Search my heart O God and test my thoughts…? How does it line up with the verse, “There is a way that feels right…?”

Bickle Quotes are taken from the audio teachings of Mike Bickle on Contemplative Prayer at:


For a Biblical view of contemplative prayer see:

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