Lysa TerKeurst, Proverbs 31 Ministries, and Two-Way Conversations with God

It seems more and more that there are popular teachers giving instruction on how to hear from God when we pray. If you’ve followed my blog for almost any period of time, you know that I feel this is a very dangerous practice and one that Christians should avoid. Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries is the latest proponent of this practice that has come to my attention.

A friend and fellow servant of Christ wrote briefly about Lysa TerKeurst’s teaching on listening prayer. I wanted to share that with you (with his permission).

Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries has a women’s study, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God. She teaches how to hear the voice of God and build personal, two-way conversations with God. You can check out the video and her PDF document: How to Hear Gods Voice at: http://lysaterkeurst.com/what-happens-when-women-say-yes-to-god/.

In my opinion, she is teaching Contemplative Spirituality / Mysticism. Listening prayer, also known as spiritual formation practice, contemplative prayer, centering prayer, etc., seeks to entice others and lure evangelicals into ancient Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox contemplative practices in order to draw closer to God, experience His presence, and hear His voice apart from Scripture. In order to embrace this mystical form of spirituality, contemplatives are willing to compromise at virtually every turn. Central doctrines such as Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura are shrugged off as secondary. Methods never found in the Bible as the true means of spiritual growth and of knowing God, are emphasized.

Nowhere in scripture are we told to listen for God through internal impressions or voices. Nowhere in scripture are we taught how to listen for God. Nowhere in scripture is there any example or evidence that God spoke internally or inaudibly to any of the disciples or anyone else for that matter. Every time God spoke in the Bible, it was in an audible voice. Nowhere in scripture are we told to silence our minds and enter solitude in order to listen for God to speak to us. Prayer is never seen in the Bible as being a two-way conversation. God has not left us to fish around in the world of spirits and subjective experiences to know Him and speak to Him. The Bible promises us that He hears us. It doesn’t give us a set of techniques to hear inner voices and call these techniques prayer.

…God has spoken to us in His Word (Hebrews 1:1-2). He has graciously, clearly, and perfectly spoken in His Word. We have no need to be still and wait for His voice. He has not stuttered, stammered, or whispered. If we want to hear from God [audibly], we simply need to open our Bible and read out loud.

He goes on to talk about how those in Christian leadership are to honor their responsibility to protect the flock.

We have a responsibility before God to protect the sheep, to warn, to watch, and to oversee, realizing that perverse men are just waiting to rise up and wolves are just waiting to come in and tear up the sheep. We also have a responsibility to teach the truth. God’s people need to be warned about false doctrine and religious apostasy, such as what is being taught by Lysa TerKeurst.

It is my prayer and desire for all Christians everywhere to be discerning when they read and listen to popular teachers, blog posts, and even their own pastors.

The Berean Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica;
they received the word with all eagerness,
examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Acts 17:11

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24 thoughts on “Lysa TerKeurst, Proverbs 31 Ministries, and Two-Way Conversations with God

  1. I find this post challenging. I have not read the abovementioned book, but I would definitely agree with you premise that hearing from God, in any of the many ways He may choose to express Himself, is a continually maturing skill set. I don’t think I agree that God always spoke audibly to His people historically and most certainly He was quite creative (if not at times humorous) in His approaches. Clearly He will not violate His word, but I would caution against dictating method to the Maker…or He might send another donkey. Just thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Leaving Lysa: Why You Shouldn’t Be Following Lysa TerKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries | Michelle Lesley

  3. You search the scriptures because in them you think you have life but refuse to come to me that you may have life. Or was the Holy Spirit promised and given as candyfloss. Is He not a Living God and the God of the Living?? . Today if you hear His voice …not a echoe ..from 2,000 years ago… TODAY.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Clif. Thank you for your visit to my blog and for your comment. I had to read it a couple of times before I understood your point. (And I must confess that I had to look up the word candyfloss.)

      You started by quoting parts of John 5:39-40. In that passage, Jesus is rebuking the Jewish leaders for rejecting him even though they search the Scriptures. The phrase you left out of verse 39 fills out the meaning.

      “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”

      He was rebuking them for searching the Scriptures, which testify about him, and neglecting to see the truth and come to him for life. I’m not sure what your point is in quoting that.

      The Holy Spirit was given as a guarantee, a seal, of our salvation. He’s also the God of the universe who performs many other functions and is infinitely more involved in creation than just as one who communicates to us. And, yes, he is the God if the living.

      You finished by referencing Psalm 95 as quoted by the author of Hebrews. In that Hebrews passage, the author was encouraging his readers not to harden their hearts like the exodus generation did. He quotes Psalm 95, not saying that we should hear his voice today, but saying that we should not be hard-hearted like the exodus generation.

      So, I’m not completely clear on your overall point. If you are saying that the Holy Spirit talks to believers, those passages do not teach that. I welcome further dialog with you on this if you have passages that support your view, but please start by clarifying exactly what your view is in case I misunderstood.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Lysa,
        I have just come across your reply as notified when a further comment was added. I am currently looking at two time consuming topics ‘Water Baptism’ and ‘The Rapture’, so will reply when I have more time.

        I share with you the despair at what is being propagated in the Church as ‘of God;’ when it is not. I am quite aware of false spirits at work in the Church ‘to deceive’ .

        At Azusa Street ( Abt 1906) , from which Charismatics & Pentecostals claim their origin re the manifestation & the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the congregation were so scared of the Manifestations, as Satanists, Mediums and Hypnotists were DRAWN to the Church and practiced their arts AT THE ALTER, that they called George ( Charles?) Parnham in, and he denounced said manifestations as Demonic. Further they sent ‘ Missionaries into the world and when they got there, it was evident they were speaking goby gook and had to return home and attend actual Language Schools.
        Now they or the Spirit behind, wont tell you this of course. ( History was rewritten and fortunes made).

        It is this spirit and these manifestations that have been imparted by man ever since and being a ‘false spirit’ uses some truth, but in its tail, like a scorpion, is Death. You cannot reason with people even from the Bible, it has to be a saving work of God BECAUSE THEY, the people, LIKE IT SO.
        Ever felt sad??.

        God talks today but one has to separate from the false spirit that is so manifest and the true indwelling of the Holy Spirit and here the operative word is HOLY, very useful for discernment of that which is not.

        I was sitting in a Prosperity type Church and asked God what was behind the teaching they were giving’ answer I believe from the indwelling Holy Spirit ‘ DEATH’ and later the explanation that there are 2 spirits at work in the Church today LIFE and DEATH and if DEATH why sit under such teaching – get out – but to many are.

        Last thought

        Mat: 10: 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 2 0for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

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  4. Acts 8:29
    Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.

    Sounds to me God speaks through His spirit,

    Also, how would you explain 2 Corinthians 12:9?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, Carrie. Thank you for your comment.

      I believe that the purpose behind this event, and through most of this section of Acts, is that God is making it clear that the Gospel is effectual for people groups other than Jewish ones (and Jewish ones as well, of course). The first believers were all Jewish. There was a tendency of those Jewish believers to think that they were the only true recipients of God’s mercy through Christ. Several stories in this section of Acts show that this was not the case. The person Philip was going to talk to was from Africa; he was not Jewish. I believe that’s the primary purpose of that passage.

      Also, at that time, the Bible had not been completed. The Holy Spirit gave direction to Philip and others in that time (and in several other instances in the Old and New Testaments) because the Bible had not been completed. Once the Bible is completed, there’s no more God needs to say. We have it all already.

      As I’ve said before, God can certainly speak directly to someone if he so desires; he’s God. But there’s nothing in Scripture that commands us to seek this type of communication. And usually when people say that God has spoken to them, they’re referring to feelings or thoughts that pop into their heads, or some coincidental event that corresponds to a prayer request regarding a decision that they have to make. In the cases that you cited in your comment, it was actually God speaking. Philip and Paul didn’t get feelings or senses of peace that communicated to them; they actually heard words. I feel confident that this was exceedingly rare even then, and even more so now.

      We have the full word of God in the Bible. We have no real reason for God to speak to us. Whatever he would say has to line up with what he’s already said in his Word, and then we have to ask why he spoke again. If it doesn’t line up with Scripture, then it’s false and not from God.

      Anyway, thank you again for your comment and for your visit to my blog.

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      • Jeremiah 29:12-13King James Version (KJV)

        12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.

        13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

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      • I have had enough of you! Coincidental event! You my friend are an idiot! Proverbs 3:5-6King James Version (KJV)

        5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

        6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Nowhere in the word does it say that every time God spoke it was a audible voice.A couple that I know of are Samuel and Saul oh yea and the donkey. But nowhere does it say all these instances were audible.God leads me each and every day. God is with me each and every day I am sorry that you do not have a close enough relationship to hear or know His voice.John 10:27King James Version (KJV)

        27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

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  5. John 14:16-17King James Version (KJV)

    16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

    17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

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  6. John 16:13King James Version (KJV)

    13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The New Covenant

    31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

    27Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, 28because this is my blood of the new covenant that is being poured out for many people for the forgiveness of sins

    Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Psalm 103:1-2King James Version (KJV)

    103 Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

    2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? You simply do not hear because you do not want to hear!

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    • So many Christians do not have a close relationship with the Lord, He told us He would not leave us as orphans, He gave us Holy Spirit. He walked among the people of His day, He told them directly what He wanted them to do, I dont understand why people think He became mute after the Bible was completed. Yes we have to be careful of the devil but thats why we have been given discernment via Holy Spirit. The devil has cheated so many believers out of a fuller life with the Lord, he has them afraid of their own shadow, we need to pray for them..

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  9. Seven years ago I wrote a 50 plus page research paper that is in complete agreement with every point you have made as to the Roman Catholic origins of contemplative prayer/ Ignatian exercises. It has been brought back into the spotlight by Rick Warren/Bill Hybels/Richard Foster and has infiltrated the church as only a “little bit of leaven” can. Bob deWaay at critical issues commentary (cicministry.org) has posted articles on the writings of Henry Blackaby which substantiate all your points. Lysa quotes Blackaby in her devotionals and in two of her books that I am sadly aware of. The reason I wrote my research paper was because of the sermons I was hearing from our new pastor and the books I was seeing my fellow parishioners buying as a result. it was necessary for me to pray and study – not just my Bible but also the teachings that were coming across. Eventually, a number of us had to leave.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment, barbarawilhelm! It’s always good to know that others see the dangers with this. I’m always so glad to hear of others, like yourself, that practice discernment in their spiritual lives. May our Lord continue to use you to reach others with his truth!

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