Visualization in Prayer

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Blik

Senior Member
Dec 6, 2016
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I'm not angry at you at all. And there is certainly cause for what i have said. So not what Jesus said don't apply.
There is a difference between visualizing something being described, and creating images in your imagination of God, which you said that you do.
Anger has not part in discussing scripture. We need to discuss it.

Between you and I, you are accusing me of creating an idol by visualization, and you have no basis for doing this. It is wrong for you to do.

I also think it is wrong to say that we must monitor our thoughts so as we pray that we can not allow pictures of what the Lord is speaking of to come to our mind. This is a normal way our brain works, and we are to pray with our entire heart, mind and soul through our love of our Lord. I am suggesting we do this, and you are suggesting that to do this is the same as people who use visualization to create such as material wealth for them. I think that is trying to stop people from using all their mind and love for the Lord in prayer and I would like very much for you to stop doing this.
 

Blackpowderduelist

Well-known member
Sep 2, 2020
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Babylon
Anger has not part in discussing scripture. We need to discuss it.
Yes we do. I think its a top priority.

Between you and I, you are accusing me of creating an idol by visualization, and you have no basis for doing this. It is wrong for you to do.
So just what are you doing if you ",imagine an image of God"?

I also think it is wrong to say that we must monitor our thoughts so as we pray that we can not allow pictures of what the Lord is speaking of to come to our mind. This is a normal way our brain works, and we are to pray with our entire heart, mind and soul through our love of our Lord.
I think you have not understood what I have been saying at all. Of coarse when we pray and say we pray for someone, we picture their face, or if we pray about material things we may see in our minds the things we pray about.
My problem is visualization of God, or a "sinless world" or any other type of idyllic conceptual " envisioning."

Yes we are to take every thought captive and make it obedient to the word of God.

I am suggesting we do this, and you are suggesting that to do this is the same as people who use visualization to create such as material wealth for them. I think that is trying to stop people from using all their mind and love for the Lord in prayer and I would like very much for you to stop doing this.
It sure is what it seems that you are saying, too me, and apparently several others here who have spoken on this thread.

You are certainly free to clarify and what you intended to say.
 

Blik

Senior Member
Dec 6, 2016
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Yes we do. I think its a top priority.

So just what are you doing if you ",imagine an image of God"?

I think you have not understood what I have been saying at all. Of coarse when we pray and say we pray for someone, we picture their face, or if we pray about material things we may see in our minds the things we pray about.
My problem is visualization of God, or a "sinless world" or any other type of idyllic conceptual " envisioning."

Yes we are to take every thought captive and make it obedient to the word of God.

It sure is what it seems that you are saying, too me, and apparently several others here who have spoken on this thread.

You are certainly free to clarify and what you intended to say.
What I am doing as I think of the Lord with my whole mind is to keep in mind all scripture tells us of Him and making that as read as possible. You say that is wrong to do, I say it is right. You take what is of God and try to make it part of what the occult does of trying to create something they want by using their imagination to do that, even though loving and thinking of the Lord with our whole hearts and minds is something that should never, ever, be dragged through such dirt as what you are accusing it to be.

I think your dirty, accusing, occult type thoughts should go away, get them off a Christian site.
 

Blackpowderduelist

Well-known member
Sep 2, 2020
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Babylon
What I am doing as I think of the Lord with my whole mind is to keep in mind all scripture tells us of Him and making that as read as possible. You say that is wrong to do, I say it is right. You take what is of God and try to make it part of what the occult does of trying to create something they want by using their imagination to do that, even though loving and thinking of the Lord with our whole hearts and minds is something that should never, ever, be dragged through such dirt as what you are accusing it to be.

I think your dirty, accusing, occult type thoughts should go away, get them off a Christian site.
I thought you wanted to have a discussion and come to an understanding, that I may have possibly missunderstood you.
But I see that I let my gard down and you decided to unleash venom.

I think that you should clarify what you mean. Because I think you mean that you imagine an image of God when you pray, and imagine idyllic concepts like a sinless world.
 

crossnote

Senior Member
Nov 24, 2012
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. Because I think you mean that you imagine an image of God when you pray, and imagine idyllic concepts like a sinless world.
Ya think?
Blik-"Give us this day our daily bread: See the Lord as supervising what goes in our minds and our bodies. "
 

mustaphadrink

Senior Member
Dec 13, 2013
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I disagree with you. You are saying that prayer should be personal, and that there should not be any rules about when or how to pray, yet you object to closing eyes in prayer and it seems you object to my idea of praying with the entire heart and soul in the prayer, as picturing what God is telling us would amount to.
You are making judgmernts that are a figment of your imagination as you have taken everything personally. My post had no one specific in mind and certainly not you.
 

crossnote

Senior Member
Nov 24, 2012
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I am a theologian and I can't sing. I am pleased to say truth doesn't hurt.
I should rather say, "A theologian is a person who won't sing".
(IOW, they can sing but they won't, because there is no joy to be found in them to express in song and praise.) - fixed it!
 

presidente

Senior Member
May 29, 2013
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Are you that dense? Here is the OP's definition...


I can ask you the same question based on that rest of your comment.

"
Our Father who art is heaven, hallowed be thy name: Psalms gives us pictures of the Father. He is spirit, creator, all powerful. Visualize what scripture tells of Him.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven: Visualize an earth with no sin in it!"
This is not the innocuous definition YT and Google put forth. This borders on the occult, which attempts to change reality through the mind. I still stand by my assertion that 'visualization' was a poor choice of words.

Your worn out coffee analogy is true and cute but it does not apply in this case.
Show me the difference between this and the coffee. Where do the scriptures indicate that it is sinful to visualize such things while praying? Where does the Bible indicate that it is wrong to do so? Plenty of people automatically think this way. There are some highly 'visually descriptive' passages in scripture that would incline many people to think visually, that I mentioned before. What is the basis for associating such things with the occult.


I am not sure it 'helps' at all to do so. That is one of my concerns. It may be more like asking someone to pray through their nose and not their mouth reading scripture. It might even be a distraction for many, and it probably will not help from a spiritual perspective, but it is not inherently pagan or occultic to do so.
 

Blackpowderduelist

Well-known member
Sep 2, 2020
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Babylon
I can ask you the same question based on that rest of your comment.



Show me the difference between this and the coffee. Where do the scriptures indicate that it is sinful to visualize such things while praying? Where does the Bible indicate that it is wrong to do so? Plenty of people automatically think this way. There are some highly 'visually descriptive' passages in scripture that would incline many people to think visually, that I mentioned before. What is the basis for associating such things with the occult.


I am not sure it 'helps' at all to do so. That is one of my concerns. It may be more like asking someone to pray through their nose and not their mouth reading scripture. It might even be a distraction for many, and it probably will not help from a spiritual perspective, but it is not inherently pagan or occultic to do so.
Well there are a few thing here. One being the definition of prayer. Is prayer communication with God as Jesus taught his disciples to pray, or is prayer using the imagination to create images of God and idyllic no realities?
The second one is the first commandment the second part that said not to make any images and not to bow down to them. Especially when you apply what Jesus taught about the commandments. He said you have heard do not commit adultery, but I say if you look upon a woman and lust you have already committed adultery.
He also said, you have heard do not murder, but I tell you if you are angry with your brother with out cause you have already committed the sin in your heart. Applying the same principal to do not make or carve images and do not bow down to them, if you are imagining an image of God, you have just created an image of God and are praying to that image.
The other part is what are you trying to accomplish in prayer, to bend reality and the universe and God to your design, or to have God speak to your will changing you?
 

Magenta

Senior Member
Jul 3, 2015
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Where do the scriptures indicate that it is sinful to visualize such things while praying? Where does the Bible indicate that it is wrong to do so? Plenty of people automatically think this way. There are some highly 'visually descriptive' passages in scripture that would incline many people to think visually, that I mentioned before. What is the basis for associating such things with the occult.

I am not sure it 'helps' at all to do so. That is one of my concerns. It may be more like asking someone to pray through their nose and not their mouth reading scripture. It might even be a distraction for many, and it probably will not help from a spiritual perspective, but it is not inherently pagan or occultic to do so.
When I think of Jesus as the good shepherd, my mind rather automatically
pictures or "sees" Him as He has been depicted in much art work, holding
a shepherd's staff, surrounded by sheep, maybe even holding one :)
I doubt this is sinful. We were not given this imagery for nothing :D
 

presidente

Senior Member
May 29, 2013
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Well there are a few thing here. One being the definition of prayer. Is prayer communication with God as Jesus taught his disciples to pray, or is prayer using the imagination to create images of God and idyllic no realities?
To my thinking, imagining pictures while thinking is not praying. I suppose you could say, "Lord could you please give me what I picture in my mind" which may show some faith in God's ability to see your thoughts. Visualizing something could accompany prayer. It is not forbidden. God spoke to many people through visions and some of them are communicated using descriptive language in the scripturs.. It is reasonable to believe that He understands pictures also.

The second one is the first commandment the second part that said not to make any images and not to bow down to them. Especially when you apply what Jesus taught about the commandments. He said you have heard do not commit adultery, but I say if you look upon a woman and lust you have already committed adultery.
These words of Christ from Matthew 23 directed toward the scribes and Pharisees and their interpretations of the law come to mind.

4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

These religious scholars liked to add extra commands, often ignoring weightier matters of the law. The law did not forbid thinking in pictures, and there is quite a lot of descriptive detail in some of the visions, especially Ezekiel's, that would lead minds to think in pictures.

Looking at a woman lustfully was already established as wrong in the Old Testament. The ten commandments forbid lusting after one's neighbor's wife (compare 'lust' in Matthew 5 with 'covet' in the LXX of Exodus 20.) Job made a covenant with his eyes not to look upon the virgin with lust. There is no similar restriction on thinking in pictures. Some passages seem to be written so that the reader can visualize the passage.

As Christians, I believe we should be very careful about telling people that things are sinful if there is no basis in the word of God for such a claim. For example, there are those who teach that it is a sin to dance, but there are references to dancing in the Bible. You can really warp young minds with legalizing going to extremes on these things. It does make sense to tell young people about the dangers of too much physical contact with the opposite sex, not being modest, music that is antithetical to Biblical teaching, etc. Those are legitimate concerns. But 'Thou shalt not dance' is not Biblical. The Bible does not teach 'Thou shalt not visualize' either. Many people do it automatically whenever they think of a word. Heaping condemnation on such people is not helpful for them.

Applying the same principal to do not make or carve images and do not bow down to them, if you are imagining an image of God, you have just created an image of God and are praying to that image.
That sounds like a Pharisee 'hedge around the Torah' approach to me. It lead to restrictions like not drinking milk with chicken, when the OT command was not to boil a calf in its mother's milk. Chickens do not produce milk, and visualizing is not categorized as sin in scripture.

The other part is what are you trying to accomplish in prayer, to bend reality and the universe and God to your design, or to have God speak to your will changing you?
Hopefully, prayer will come from a heart transformed by the grace of God. There is plenty in scripture about praying in faith. James says that the man who doubts when he prays should not expect to receive anything of the Lord. Hebrews says to believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. James also wrote that ye have not because ye have not. Ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

One could visualize the outcome in their mind while praying a carnal selfish prayer or while praying something that is very much in line with the will of God according to scripture. One could do either without visualizing.
 

presidente

Senior Member
May 29, 2013
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If someone asked me whether it was okay to visualize what they wanted when they prayed, my answer might be 'If it helps your faith" or "if it helps you communicate what you want to pray."

I don't know that it does.

I can imagine a scenario like this. You are a missionary who delivers Bibles to villages on the island of Papua, to areas where there are few or no roads. You use an airplane to take Bibles and supplies to missionaries and domestic church planters reaching the interior. Your airplane breaks down. It's an old plane. You have seen the type of plane you want, but you cannot remember the name. You picture it in your mind and ask God for an airplane that looks like the one you are picturing in your mind.

I do not know of any specific times in the Bible where someone prayed for God to fulfill a picture in their minds. But the Bible is not a picture book and uses words to describe things. There are cases where God communicated through visuals, giving prophets and others visions and dreams.
 

Blackpowderduelist

Well-known member
Sep 2, 2020
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Babylon
If someone asked me whether it was okay to visualize what they wanted when they prayed, my answer might be 'If it helps your faith" or "if it helps you communicate what you want to pray."

I don't know that it does.

I can imagine a scenario like this. You are a missionary who delivers Bibles to villages on the island of Papua, to areas where there are few or no roads. You use an airplane to take Bibles and supplies to missionaries and domestic church planters reaching the interior. Your airplane breaks down. It's an old plane. You have seen the type of plane you want, but you cannot remember the name. You picture it in your mind and ask God for an airplane that looks like the one you are picturing in your mind.

I do not know of any specific times in the Bible where someone prayed for God to fulfill a picture in their minds. But the Bible is not a picture book and uses words to describe things. There are cases where God communicated through visuals, giving prophets and others visions and dreams.
That's not what we are talking about.
 

Subhumanoidal

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Sep 17, 2018
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I am so confused by this thread, does it matter whether we visualize or not while praying? Some people can not visualize things and others rely on it to think.
The issue here is that there is a new age/occult practice called visualization. In this practice people are taught to visualize the things they want into existence. So if you want a Mercedes you spend time every day visualizing it and "the universe" will eventually respond by manifesting your visualization.
Basically it puts man as a creator, in a sense, and "the universe" (new age concept of God) as our lackey doing our bidding.

Ironically prosperity "gospel" teaches the same concept (using speaking things into creation).

So now someone is talking about mixing this into prayer. So it's not just an issue of picturing something because one is a visual thinker, it's about visualizing things with the purpose of manifesting it.
As to whether or not the OP means this is unclear to me. Some feel they do, hence the disagreement. And if that is the intent then people are rightly speaking against it.
 

presidente

Senior Member
May 29, 2013
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That's not what we are talking about.
It is still an example of visualization. How is it fundamentally different from the OP saying, "Visualize an earth with no sin in it!" except in my example, one asks God to grant what one has in mind?
 

presidente

Senior Member
May 29, 2013
6,239
861
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The issue here is that there is a new age/occult practice called visualization. In this practice people are taught to visualize the things they want into existence. So if you want a Mercedes you spend time every day visualizing it and "the universe" will eventually respond by manifesting your visualization.
Basically it puts man as a creator, in a sense, and "the universe" (new age concept of God) as our lackey doing our bidding.

Ironically prosperity "gospel" teaches the same concept (using speaking things into creation).

So now someone is talking about mixing this into prayer. So it's not just an issue of picturing something because one is a visual thinker, it's about visualizing things with the purpose of manifesting it.
As to whether or not the OP means this is unclear to me. Some feel they do, hence the disagreement. And if that is the intent then people are rightly speaking against it.
The New Testament also says much about receiving from the Lord in response to faith. Jesus said such things as 'according to your faith, be it done unto you.' There is the passage about moving mountains, the mulberry tree, etc. The idea of God granting requests in response to prayers made with faith is older than New Age.

New Agers do talk about visualization. But people have been picturing things in their minds for thousands of years, before white people ever went to California.
 

Blackpowderduelist

Well-known member
Sep 2, 2020
1,835
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Babylon
To my thinking, imagining pictures while thinking is not praying. I suppose you could say, "Lord could you please give me what I picture in my mind" which may show some faith in God's ability to see your thoughts. Visualizing something could accompany prayer. It is not forbidden. God spoke to many people through visions and some of them are communicated using descriptive language in the scripturs.. It is reasonable to believe that He understands pictures also.



These words of Christ from Matthew 23 directed toward the scribes and Pharisees and their interpretations of the law come to mind.

4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

These religious scholars liked to add extra commands, often ignoring weightier matters of the law. The law did not forbid thinking in pictures, and there is quite a lot of descriptive detail in some of the visions, especially Ezekiel's, that would lead minds to think in pictures.

Looking at a woman lustfully was already established as wrong in the Old Testament. The ten commandments forbid lusting after one's neighbor's wife (compare 'lust' in Matthew 5 with 'covet' in the LXX of Exodus 20.) Job made a covenant with his eyes not to look upon the virgin with lust. There is no similar restriction on thinking in pictures. Some passages seem to be written so that the reader can visualize the passage.

As Christians, I believe we should be very careful about telling people that things are sinful if there is no basis in the word of God for such a claim. For example, there are those who teach that it is a sin to dance, but there are references to dancing in the Bible. You can really warp young minds with legalizing going to extremes on these things. It does make sense to tell young people about the dangers of too much physical contact with the opposite sex, not being modest, music that is antithetical to Biblical teaching, etc. Those are legitimate concerns. But 'Thou shalt not dance' is not Biblical. The Bible does not teach 'Thou shalt not visualize' either. Many people do it automatically whenever they think of a word. Heaping condemnation on such people is not helpful for them.



That sounds like a Pharisee 'hedge around the Torah' approach to me. It lead to restrictions like not drinking milk with chicken, when the OT command was not to boil a calf in its mother's milk. Chickens do not produce milk, and visualizing is not categorized as sin in scripture.



Hopefully, prayer will come from a heart transformed by the grace of God. There is plenty in scripture about praying in faith. James says that the man who doubts when he prays should not expect to receive anything of the Lord. Hebrews says to believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. James also wrote that ye have not because ye have not. Ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

One could visualize the outcome in their mind while praying a carnal selfish prayer or while praying something that is very much in line with the will of God according to scripture. One could do either without visualizing.
So much hat do you think is the difference between carving and image and imagining an image?

And where does that leave Catholics who kiss the feet of a Jesus statue?

It's just an imagined image of Jesus.