First of all, the premise of the question, that an altered state is prayer and therefore protected by God, is erroneous. No where in Scripture are we taught that it is necessary to enter into an altered state of consciousness in order to communicate with God in prayer. God may have spoken to people, such as the prophet Daniel while he was asleep and dreaming – which is an altered state of conciousness – but this wasn’t required of Daniel. He simply went to sleep one night and God chose to communicate with him.
This is far different from deliberately chanting ourselves into an altered state and expecting God to respond to us. Not only is this presumptuous, it’s also dangerous.
Why? Because being in an altered state leaves us vulnerable to spiritual influences the same way that we’re vulnerable to suggestion while in a hypnotic trance.
Hypnotists use a variety of tactics to get us into this trance, such as asking us to use guided imagery and imagine ourselves into a “happy place”, to speak in a soothing voice that is timed to the patient’s breathing, and to use repetitive words or phrases to bring a person into a trance.
All of these methods are used in popular “prayer” forms today such as mindfulness meditation, transcendental meditation, guided imagery, Centering prayer, and a host of other eastern-style meditation techniques.
And just as the hypnotized person is left open to suggestion by the hypnotist, so they are left open to the suggestions of Satan and his minions. This is because a person’s will is suspended during an altered state and they are unable to defend themselves.
This could explain why there is such a long list of negative post-hypnotic reactions that accompany hypnosis, such as psychotic-like delusional thinking, panic attacks, personality changes, antisocial acting out, loss of concentration, confusion, depression, to name a few.
In fact, this is precisely why stage hypnosis has been banned in so many countries and why persons who conduct mass-hypnosis demonstrations such as those seen on the Dr. Oz show, are so irresponsible.
In fact, even the Church condemns these trivial uses for hypnosis. While hypnosis is not morally forbidden to Catholics, this is only if the hypnosis used “does not tend to an illicit end or one which may be in any manner evil.”
What most people don’t know is that all of these symptoms can occur in the wake of any kind of induced altered state, not just hypnosis.
With the rapid influx of so many new prayer gimmicks, especially methods that encourage people to “blank the mind”, it’s a good idea to take stock of just what techniques you’re using to enter into prayer with God. Is it with the humility of Moses who simply went away to a place of solitude and beseeched the Lord to help him, or are we pridefully putting ourselves into trances with the hopes of “connecting” with Him via our own resources?
On Thursday, March 27, at 8:00 p.m. EST, Women of Grace is hosting a webinar where we will explore the various methods of prayer in use today that alter consciousness and explain not only their dangers, but why this approach to God can actually be cutting us off from the One we seek!
Click here for more information.