incantational worship and prayer?

worshipWell this is a long overdue subject for myself and I want to apologize to all my readers who may of become infected by my ignorance. And I only hope that you too will see His Light upon this subject.

First I want to ask you one question… How shall we pray?

If this scripture is not your answer, then maybe do a re-evaluation and ask Jesus.

Luke 11:1-4
Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Our Father in heaven,Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.”

Now I am going to give you some history leading up to this subject. Lately, I have been visiting the IHOP site and checking in on their “Live Prayer/Worship”. I am not going to sit here and degrade the ministry–however I simply am going to ask that if you are wondering what is TRUE and what is FALSE–just ask Jesus. He will teach you His Truth about all things–for His word says that He pours out His wisdom freely–if we ask.

So back to the history of this matter. During the time of listening to these worship sessions I periodically would notice a “trend” in their worship and did not understand it. And I noticed that it would be “grinding” to my husband as he heard it. Now my husband is extremely discerning and yet when he discerns something that I also need to discern, he simply asks the Lord to reveal it to my heart so that I may “see” the truth of the matter.

One night as I was listening to this “live worship/prayer” from IHOP, I was online praying some friends. Just as I was quiet before the Lord, I heard Him speak softly to my heart the word “incantation”. Now even though His voice was quiet, it caused me to literally jump in my chair! I quickly looked up the word “incantation” and turned the music off! And this is what I found.

An incantation is the words spoken during a ritual. such as those in praise of a god, in witchcraft or when casting a spell. It comes from the Latin incantare, meaning ‘to utter an incantation’, which would be done by an enchanter. Another name for an incantation is mantra.

Examples are “Abracadabra” as might be said by a magician during a trick, or the Stunning Spell in the Harry Potter books.

Notice the phrase, “in praise of a god” not in praise to GOD! If you look in scripture at the psalmist David you will find no incantations as He worshipped the Lord or prayed. So why is it that we today feel the need to constantly “grind at the wheel” when the Lord hears every word we utter?

I must say–I was shocked at the word He spoke to my heart and felt sheepish for even going down that road and needed to repent!

Look at this definition…

Ritual recitation of verbal charms or spells to produce a magic effect.

A formula used in ritual recitation; a verbal charm or spell.
A conventionalized utterance repeated without thought or aptness; a formula: the pious incantations of the administration

Is Jesus a genie? Do you have a magic lamp? Does God have a special formula to bring His presence in to your midst?

If you answered “no” to all these questions, then why do we worship Him that way? I am a worshipper. I have played piano for over 20 years and sang since I was small. And yet, my desire is to worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth.

John 4:23-24
23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
KJV

Luke 18:9-14
9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great self-confidence and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a dishonest tax collector. 11 The proud Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially like that tax collector over there! For I never cheat, I don’t sin, I don’t commit adultery, 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For the proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored.”
NLT

Psalms 51:17
17 The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit.
A broken and repentant heart, O God,
you will not despise.
NLT

Psalms 66:18-20
18 If I had not confessed the sin in my heart,
my Lord would not have listened.
19 But God did listen!
He paid attention to my prayer.
20 Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer
and did not withdraw his unfailing love from me.
NLT

Matthew 15:8-9
8’These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far away.
9 Their worship is a farce,
for they replace God’s commands with their own man-made teachings.’ ”
NLT

2 Corinthians 1:12-13
12 We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have been honest and sincere in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own earthly wisdom. That is how we have acted toward everyone, and especially toward you.
NLT

Ezekiel 22:30-31
30 “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one. 31 So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them in the fire of my anger. I will heap on them the full penalty for all their sins, says the Sovereign LORD.”
NLT

So I guess what I have learned from this is that I don’t need to repeatedly recite and chant the same thing over and over again to get the Lord’s attention–He hears me and desires that I praise Him for who He Is not what I can get from Him.

so with that said, what are your thoughts on this controversial subject?

shalom,
amy

5 thoughts on “incantational worship and prayer?

  1. hmm, a link showing what you were listening to that drew you to that conclusion would help. Otherwise, I can’t really speculate.

  2. Thanks. Yeah, if you say, go to IHOP, it’s like saying go to the First Baptist Church, because there are so many churches by the same name.

    Frankly, I’m not seeing a problem in this particular instance. I thought it was a good example of prophetic worship. I’m not really seeing anything that would really be considered incantation, except when they are repeating themselves over and over. If that is what you are referring to, I don’t necessarily have a problem with it, except where the Bible discusses vain repetitions as a part of prayer, which I believe is discussed in Matthew 6. The only people who could say if it was vain is those people and God. I can honestly say that sometimes when I pray I am so at the end of my wits that all I can say is “Jesus, I need you” over and over. That doesn’t mean I am being vain in repeating what I am saying. If I am repeating myself for a show, then yes, I will be having a problem with following the Biblical model of prayer and worship.

    A good rule of thumb is to benchmark what we are doing against Scripture. If what we are doing is biblically sound, then we are in a good place, and the Spirit will be with us.

  3. I was quite suprised to hear you use the word “incantation” in relation to the worship at IHOP. The repetitive choruses could indeed be incantation if your heart is not right. However, the repetition also serves as a form of meditation. The mystics would often mutter portions of scripture over and over in the Lectio Divina. The repetition of the phrase helps the reality and meaning of that phrase to sink deeper into our hearts…it helps it go past the surface thoughts to deeper ones. It could also be empty ritual…ritual is only empty if your heart is. Anyway…matter of perspective

  4. Looks like the pot is being stirred, eh? Thank you both for your comments on this subject. What I find even more interesting is that you argue or shall I say “bring perspectives” to God–not me. I only wrote about what was spoken to my heart by the Lord. There have been times when the worship there has been sweet, but the time that I was listening of which I wrote about, the Lord was not pleased. And for me I desire to be holy and pure before Him. And if it means turning off music that He does not find pleasing as I wait upon Him, then so be it.

    ps. yes, Justin..there are times that I do the same in crying out to the Lord…

    Romans 8:26-27
    26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. NKJV

    blessings java dudes!

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