Soaking – the Trendy Approach to a Holy God

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Soaking

 

Soaking vs. Quiet Time

soakingBefore I get into this too deeply, let me state emphatically that I believe in spending quiet time with YHWH. We live in a world full of chaos and distraction. Anxiety and eye candy continually compete for our attention and we constantly have to re-focus our attention on heaven. Without this precious time with the Master, we’re prone to wander aimlessly and listen to every voice BUT His.

Personally, I have to get up early in the morning before anyone wakes up, otherwise, I would never have my quiet time with the Father. I’m sure those of you with young kids know what I mean.

What is “Soaking”?

In it’s most basic form, soaking is the practice of finding a quiet place to spend time with YHWH, emptying your mind of all distraction and attempting to get into contact with the Ruach.

For most, it rarely remains at this basic level.

soaking-drunk-spiritDuring my stint at the Elijah List (2001-2008), the practice of soaking grew immensely popular in the prophetic church and continues to do so. Usually, the “soaker” has a soaking CD playing in the background that is conducive to the soaking experience. Most of the time, these CDs have music playing, with a prophet or “prophetic person” either speaking, prophesying or singing to the music. Elijah List contributors such as Todd Bentley, Stacey Campbell and the Kansas City prophets (Mike Bickle, Bob Jones, Paul Cain, etc.) have released entire series of worship CDs created for this very purpose.

To the spiritually young and immature, the practice of soaking seems SO RIGHT. They think: “Who wouldn’t want to get in contact with God’s Holy Spirit? What better way to experience the Presence of God? The people who practice it prophesy a LOT and they seem so ‘spiritual,’ this MUST be the right way to do things … Right?”

Unfortunately, Wrong.

The Marketing of Deception

Soaking has been marketed as a shortcut into the presence of God, delivered a la carte without the need for personal prayer time or study in His word. Let’s take a look at a recent article by Gary Oates and I’ll show you what I mean…

The key is where your focus is … on the things of God or on things of this world. Bible reading and prayer are not enough. We must take time alone with Him, not asking for anything but more of Him, more of His fullness, more of His Presence in our everyday lives. God releases power through us as we dwell in intimacy with Him. The natural outworking of His Presence is miracles.

How do we “soak”? We soak like a sponge. Put a dry sponge in a bucket of water and slowly the water permeates the sponge. This is the same as soaking in God’s Presence. The more we soak, the more we become filled with His Spirit.

I’m often asked, “What do you do in your time of seeking His Presence?” I don’t have a set formula. In my life, it varies from time to time, but the basic components are as follows:

First, I go into a private room, lock the door, and get on the floor before the Lord. It doesn’t matter whether you sit or lie down. What’s most important is the attitude of your heart.

Second, I repent of any sin in my life and I receive God’s forgiveness.

Third, I worship the Lord in both my native language (English) and in the language of the Holy Spirit.

Fourth, I do the vital prayer of Romans 6:13 that has transformed my life: “…present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”

Fifth, I begin to recall experiences with the Lord (i.e., healings, miracles, provision) where He has manifested Himself in wonderful ways. This creates more of an expectancy and awareness of His Presence as I relive these times.

I tell the Lord: “God, I want more of You, more of Your Presence, more of Your fullness in my life. Fill me with more of You.” I may repeat this statement many times as I wait on the Lord and focus on Him.

Then, I get quiet and that’s when I begin to hear His voice. Many times, I begin to have visions and supernatural experiences.

The key here is learning to wait in solitude. I cannot overemphasize the importance of waiting on the Lord until I experience His manifest Presence daily. I don’t come out of that private room until I have experienced His Presence.

During our soaking times, we position ourselves to receive impressions, nudges, quiet whispers, pictures, angelic visitations, and supernatural revelations. Here is a partial list of what to expect:

  • Dreams (Job 33:14-16; Genesis 28:10-16)
  • Visions (Daniel 7:1-3,9; Acts 16:9-10)
  • Trances (Acts 10:9-17, 11:5)
  • Out of body experiences (2 Corinthians 12:2-4)
  • Angelic visitations (Luke 1:57,11-17; Acts 12:7-10)
  • Being transported in the Spirit (Acts 8:39-40)

Experiencing the true intimate Presence of the living God will radically change your life. People describe His manifest Presence in different ways. To some, it is heat, electricity, or shaking. To others, it is lightness, peace, or weeping.

Experiencing the manifest Presence is not the goal but the gateway to the supernatural realm. It’s the beginning. We go into the spirit realm where we can see Him, hear His voice, walk with Him, and be empowered by Him.

Isaiah 64:4 says God “acts for the one who waits for Him.” The Amplified Bible states, “God…who works and shows Himself active on behalf of him who [earnestly] waits for Him.” He’s waiting on us to wait on Him. [1]

The Supernatural IS Real

waiting on GodI am not a non-spiritual, closed-minded person and I am NOT a cessationist … not at all! Nor do I believe in a distant God who ONLY speaks through the written Word (although that is our primary source). He is very willing to speak to His Children. But God is a purposeful God, and when He speaks, there is a reason behind it, and it will ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS line up with His written Word.

Having said that, I find a very serious danger in Gary Oates’ (and the prophetic movement’s) approach to spending time (or “soaking”) in the presence of God, and here’s why:

First and foremost, the supernatural byproducts of soaking that Gary has listed above are NOT the danger to a young Christian.

Read through the article again.

How much of it emphasized the Word and prayer? Not much … in fact, the Word and prayer are “not enough,” according to Gary.

Now, compare that to the amount of space dedicated to promoting the supernatural and the “touchy-feely,” experiential possibilities that might take place during a person’s time with God.

Clearly, something is out of balance here.

To say things like “Bible reading and prayer are not enough” belittles the very elements that are needed to safeguard your communication and experience with God.

We must realize that we have an entire generation of youth (and older people) who are desperately, and recklessly, seeking supernatural encounters from ANY source (just watch the news and look at your TV guide). Additionally, new converts often have an extreme hunger to experience God in a very “real” way.

Personally, I think the hunger for God is a BEAUTIFUL thing. But we cannot assume that, just because they go to church (even a prophetic church), that their foundation in the Word and prayer is strong. In fact, of the 7 years that I spent working for the Elijah List and going to the Vineyard, very, VERY few had a strong knowledge of the Word.

I need to ask if a person doesn’t know the Word, how is he/she going to recognize the voice of the Almighty? How is he/she going to differentiate between the “Touch” of the Holy Spirit and the touch of another spirit?

It’s simple …. They won’t.

A Soaker’s Defense

Most of the time, if they have any scriptural knowledge at all, advocates of soaking will bring up scriptures that mention “waiting on God” to defend their practice. For example, they have used the following:

Psalm 59:9
I will wait for You, O You his Strength; For God [is] my defense.

Psalm 62:5
My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation [is] from Him.
Psalm 27:14
Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!
Isaiah 40:31
But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew [their] strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”

When they use these Scriptures, they are blatantly taking the Word of YHWH out of context. Go back and read the surrounding verses (or the entire chapter). Almost every time, the writer is telling people to wait for God to defend them against their enemies. And we SHOULD wait on Elohim to defend us… He is our Salvation!

We MUST understand this: waiting on God, at least from a scriptural perspective, has nothing to do with your prayer life. It has to do with God and His willingness to fight for us!

Let me reiterate, there is GREAT value in spending quiet time with God, but the soaking approach and “scriptural” defenses of those who practice soaking are weak, at best.

Who Am I to Judge?

First … before you throw up the “Judge Not” scriptures as a (flimsy) defense, read my post entitled “Judge Not? – Nonsense! Yeshua Told Us to Judge!” After you read the post, I hope you will understand that you have been duped (we all have) …now please continue reading.

It is VERY scriptural to judge fruit.

In fact, Jesus told us:

Matthew 12:33
Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by [its] fruit.

Matthew 7:20
Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

I’ve seen this fruit time and again.

Because people desire a “have-it-your-way” supernatural experience, they are prone to seek supernatural fulfillment through carnal (sensual) means. Trained by the world (and the pulpit) to pay attention to, and feed, our senses, they feel they’ve encountered the Spirit of God when their senses are tickled by ANY supernatural force. Because it makes their senses feel good, they are very reluctant to even remotely consider that they have been deceived.

It never fails. Every time, those who try to empty their minds and have little or no foundation in the Word, they open themselves up wide for deceiving spirits. Convinced that they are more spiritual because they are hearing voices, “manifesting” and feeling things, they leave behind the tools that are their very lifeline to God… the Word and prayer. Those so-called prophets who promote soaking should know that only those with a solid foundation in the Word of God and prayer will be able to discern between the voice of the Good Shepherd and the voice of another.

soaking-word-prayerRemember This: If you market an experience-driven method of reaching out to the supernatural, promising supernatural encounters at the expense of a solid foundation in the Word (and calling it “intimacy with God”), you will destroy whoever practices your method.

It’s always best to stick with what works. Supernatural things MAY happen, but they will always be a result of spending the time with the Lord in the methods He gave us long ago… the Word and prayer.

[1] “Gary Oates: Soaking: The Key to Intimacy with God.” The Elijah List – Prophetic Words, News, and Prophecies, 9 Jan. 2012, www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=10620.

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Join the Conversation

61 Comments

  1. I have been volunteering at a youth center and one of the couples who also volunteer are very much into IHOP and the teaching of Bill Johnson and his colleagues. They want us to start streaming IHOP into the building 24/7 and the husband made the statement that this would bring in “signs that make you wonder” which he said will “grab their attention better than any old bible study.” Notice the quotes. I expressed my concern to the director and he understands my concern. I think this couple wants to see God move, but emphasizing “signs and wonders” with a group of young people who have very little Bible foundation is I believe very dangerous. BTW, this “soaking” technique is taught by Bethel.

    1. Ugh! It makes me want to get carnal whenever I hear someone downplay the Word. In Truth, we never were called to make the Gospel (or the Word, in general) palatable for different types of people. Unfortunately Bill’s group (as well as the other prophetic ministries) are so concerned with making the Gospel “likeable”, that they change it into something no longer biblical. The Gospel has always been …. “Repent”.

      As far as seeking after signs and wonders … remember, the Master said “A wicked and rebellious generation seeks after a sign” …. so True.

  2. I was thinking about this ‘soaking’ thing just yesterday, because I never involved myself with it even though some of the people I know practice this, I could not find it specifically in scripture. Then I just came across your posting on this subject. I’m not involved with this ‘method’ of meditation to put myself in a hypnotic state of stupor. I cannot get involved with all the supernatural signs and wonders hype that is not based on the Word of God. The Lord showed me that we need to get back to the Word, the Blood, and the name of Jesus. So much of our modern day services are filled with looking for signs and wonders, emotional music, feel good messages, cotton candy prophecies and brylcreme prophets with a message for us all. No teaching and preaching the Word of God WITH signs and wonders following. And because of the lack of Word, both in our quite time and in our gathering together, we are given over to things we have no business being involved with. Keep on bringing the truth. I do like listening to scripture in song. Songs that declare the Word and greatness of God. Songs that are Word based. They stir my heart and lead me to His presence. and there is where I can worship Him in spirit and in truth.

  3. Thanks for the great posting Kevin. I used to be involved in “soaking” with a group of friends, I enjoyed it at first because we discussed the word and experiences and had communion. One Easter we spoke about the significance of the cross and what the blood of Jesus did for us, we had communion and wow, I have never felt the anointing like that before. Unfortunately some of our group met others who also “soaked” and something changed in the meetings, it became all about “pressing into the glory’, it was just music and people sitting quiet for a while and all the strange manifestations (Toronto style, looking for gold dust and feathers, portals etc.) became more significant. The last “soak” meeting I attended was really wild, and at a point during the meeting I asked God what was happening and He answered me almost immediately with the words “This is not of Me”. I stopped attending the meetings, unfortunately my wife still does and it created a bit tension, but we agreed to disagree. They only speak of the mystics, levitation, out of body experiences, smelling all the different fragrances. They even refer to it as drinking session where they can get completely drunk in the spirit, it has come to a point where it makes me nauseous just hearing that.

  4. I recently posted a video on you tube.

    discussing something similar to this regarding a prophecy that Bob Jones posted on the Elijah List that said something similar about personal experience being more important than Bible Study! I have a friend deeply involved in KC IHOP who really follows prophecy and supernatural events OVER the study of the Bible…I told her that this concerned me, and she rarely talks to me now. We have serious deception taking place in the church when experience is being positioned above the eternal Word and I’m a Pentecostal so I believe in the supernatural, prophecy, etc….but we need to be super grounded in God’s Word especially in the time we are living!

    http://youtu.be/SBMpUYmvNEE

  5. Not only is this teaching unscriptural, it leads a person into disobedience, therefore making it Antichrist.

    You can not obey Joshua 1:8, Proverbs 4:20-21, John 14:23, and many other scriptures and have an empty mind at the same time.

  6. There can be no doubt that experience is part of an authentic Christian life. Just read the Bible (I wish more would). But it should be common sense that the scriptures are and will always be the reference point to evaluate any and all experiences. This concept should be so obvious and so simple yet it seems to be so elusive in the modern church. Abuse and immaturity cannot be the standard or reference point for evaluation. It must be Gods Word.

    My hope is that people who are concerned and alarmed at this growing misinterpretation/application of scripture do not throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water. Many have already thrown out Gods Word in hope of an experience, let’s not throw out experience in our defense of God’s Word; let’s examine it in light of the scriptures.

      1. Hopefully I can clarify with limited space. If you are still uncomfortable with my response I would be happy to give you my number so that we could talk about it more in depth.

        If you examine the writings of Paul and others in the Bible you readily see that transformation not experience was Gods intent. Romans 12, …”Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind”; not emptying it out.

        If I am being transformed by the inner work of Gods Spirit in my life than I am having an experience with God. Simple.

        If I am praying, fasting and trusting in God for wisdom, grace, daily provision for me and my family, I am having an experience with God. That experience is defined by grace, trust, faith, self surrender to the person of Jesus. There may be no outward sign or immediate indicator that anything is going on. However there is and will be change in me in how I think, feel, live and conduct myself. I will experience something tangible, meaningful and significant. A deeper trust and greater dependency on God.

        That transformation is based on a revelation (Jesus) of the essential nature and character of God as revealed in Scripture. The Bible does not ignore or discount experience in an attempt to establish Gods nature and character however.

        The Bible is my reference point to determine and understand if what I am experiencing is consistent with the nature, character and purpose of God for my life as revealed in Scripture. When I am praying weather in tongues or my natural language I’m having an experience with God. Even if I don’t FEEL certain things. Which unfortunately is a growing focal point.

        My experience of praying in tongues is consistent with scripture. I don’t have to have a certain feeling or emotion to validate what I’m experiencing, I have the Scriptures that tell me that when I am praying in an unknown tongue I am speaking to God. 1st Corinthians 14:2.

        I was speaking at a church once and the pastor told me about a group of people who were doing some things in the name of revival/renewal that was questionable. His answer to the problem was to shut everything down and not allow any teaching or discussion on the issue. This was a somewhat large church and it’s influence was significant. My response to him was simple. Abuse and immaturity cannot be the standard of evaluation with what is going on. What does the Bible have to say about this stuff”?

        His response was chilling. “I’m not really concerned about that right now, I’m just not going to put up with any nonsense”! In other words he was doing the exact same thing of disregarding Gods word that others were on the other side of the issue. That is my concern and that is why I posted my original comments. So many people are recoiling and fearful of abuse and “goofiness” that they are going in the opposite direction.

        Finally: From Genesis to Revelation people experienced God. His love, His power, his presence, His provision, His protection. Sometimes they were not even fully aware of or understood what they were experiencing. That did not make it, “not of God”! However it NEVER contradicted or was inconsistent with the revealed nature and character of God or His Word. Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, the religious leaders in the New Testament.

        I’ve been in a lot of so called “Soaking” services and usually walked out or left with a sense that this was just another example of flesh and religion dressed up in hyper-spirituality.

        I know that there are a lot of people who have been really hurt by this movement. There is a lot of anger and discouragement over investing and pouring our lives into something that has been hijacked, perverted and abused beyond description. Like many others I have personally experienced this more times than I can count. Jesus is head over heels in love with us and there isn’t anything He hasn’t and wouldn’t do for us…except violate or contradict His Word in the name of “Freedom in the Spirit”.

  7. Kevin,

    Thank you for sharing your experience with Elijah List and The Prophetic movement.

    I appreciate the concern in this article entitled “Soaking: the Trendy Approach to a Holy God”.

    Please consider the following scripture that speaks of balance –

    It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other ; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them. Ecclesiastes 7:18 NAS

    We need to be balanced in Word and in The Spirit. Many today feel reading the bible is enough and have no prayer life. Then there are those that relay on spiritual experiences and encounters, yet have no grounding the Word of righteousness. We need to be grounded in The Word as well as a solid prayer and worship life, in addition we need to properly meditate the Word as well as wait upon The Lord.

    Which brings me to my point, would you consider writing an article on the proper way to “wait upon God?”

    Thanks, Ed

    1. Hi Ed,

      Excellent response, and I agree! We definitely need to have a solid prayer life, as well as a strong grasp of the Word. Can I add a comment? The verse you used to make your point really wasn’t to be used in that way. Oftentimes, in books like Psalms, Proverbs and even in Jesus’ sermons, scriptures are pulled out without looking in the surrounding verses. Let’s look at the previous verses.

      Ecc 7:16-18 “Do not be overly righteous, Nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself? Do not be overly wicked, Nor be foolish: Why should you die before your time? [It is] good that you grasp this, And also not remove your hand from the other; For he who fears God will escape them all.”

      As for writing an article on “Waiting upon God”? That sounds like a great suggestion! Currently, God has me studying in a different area, but who knows? Thank you so much for your feedback!

      1. I appreciate you and many of your articles are very relevant and much needed today.

        I’m very aware of taking scriptures out of context, and twisting them to make them fit one’s belief.

        I hope you see that this is not the case here.

        Ecclesiastes 7:18 NAS
        It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other ; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them.

        This verse speaks to me of balance. Let me use this in another example.

        It is good that you grasp the concept of grace, also don’t let go of the concept of the law, for the one who fears God will come forth with the balance of both of them.

        The Lord bless you, Ed

        1. Hi Ed, YES! I totally agree with you. And please don’t think I was accusing you of twisting the scripture … I was just attempting to add clarity. That’s what I get for making a comment when I’m in a hurry! Haha …

          I love this: “It is good that you grasp the concept of grace, also don’t let go of the concept of the law, for the one who fears God will come forth with the balance of both of them.”

          Very timely words for this day and age!

  8. I have to speak up and defend IHOP a bit. I cannot say what they do in practice because I have not spent any length of time there, but I use their teaching materials to teach on prayer and worship for teams at Salem House of Prayer. I actually think Bickle would agree with your post; he absolutely teaches the centrality of Scripture and the importance of being rooted in the Word. IHOP teaches meditation *on Scripture,* not the empty-headed kind. It’s largely from my involvement with the “prayer movement” that I now read my Bible and pray more than ever. One of Bickle’s manuals (“Harp and Bowl Handbook II”) spent several pages discussing the danger of falling into sensuality, and how important it is to stay rooted in the Word and not stray into self-centered emotionalism or deception. God made us to encounter Him and enjoy His Presence… on His terms. Perhaps Bickle included this section because it had become a problem at IHOP. Houses of Prayer are attractive to the “soakers,” but that doesn’t necessarily reflect on the values or intentions of the ministry. I have a friend who is a soaker, but now this friend is encountering some healthy challenges through involvement with Salem House of Prayer, because we insist that prayer is governed by Scripture. That’s a tough pill to swallow for a soaker, but I have confidence that my friend has a sincere heart that will mature and “get it.”

  9. Interesting attempt at dividing the right from the wrong, and mostly successful. That being said, soaking isn’t the issue we have, “ministry marketing” is the issue. It is the same I see all over the Church in terms of trends and novelties. Every new understanding we have collectively find people standing in favor and others against. Those against run in one direction and collect all the material they can to stomp the trend into the ground or burn it at the stake. As for those who are in favor, they often include people who have gained insight and freedom through it, so what will we say to that? They had a transformational experience. Then they start sharing their experience, others want a taste of it, and leaders who also have had that experience will facilitate venues and events for it. And there you get stuck – it becomes a movement, it divides the Church again into camps.

    Leaders who blow the horn of their own teachings and trends create a lot of noise and draw crowds based on the promised experiences. The experiences become normative and represent new approaches to gatherings, and millions of people and dollars flow that way.

    As for soaking, Jesus said: “Abide in me and I will abide in you.” In revival times there were times of “tarrying before the Lord” which all lead to prayer and repentance, holiness living and charity to neighbors. The Gospel was shining bright. The problem with soaking is that it also became a movement, it was packaged and marketed as a way to renewal and spiritual experiences, third-heaven encounters, portals, visions, etc. I believe these occur, but the Holy Spirit never instructed us to seek these, but to seek His kingdom. Supernatural experiences “ON-DEMAND” creates the mess we see today.

    When you pray, Jesus said, go to your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who sees in secret. I don’t think that disqualifies us from praying in public or in huge gatherings. But artists have to be careful not to be used by those in leadership to create facsimile supernatural atmospheres where anything goes.

    I was touched by deep renewal and restoration during the Toronto renewal. But a few years later, it started to become like a show some took on the road to try and reproduce the move of the Spirit. This is what we need to guard against.

    Whatever the trend or the focus, if God takes you in a direction to explore meditation on his Word, being quiet before him, study to show yourself approved, have communion every week or every day, dance and flag during worship times at home or in church, paint, wear a tallit, only use Hebrew names for God, whatever it is we are drawn to, always be alert. It’s easy to unwittingly turn Christ into a brand with a slogan, and then create expectations that are not biblical or beyond the scope of His plan for His Church.

    May we all know the intimacy of his presence, know how to quiet our hearts before Him. but I agree: we don’t need “guided meditations” and new-age smorgasbord. Simplicity in Christ is what Paul wanted to preserve in believers. Friends of God. Living relationship with God is what Yeshua came for – “…eternal life is to know Him and the one You sent…”

    1. And for any who want to go deeper into this reality of Jesus invitation to abide in Him, I warmly recommend the timeless works of Andrew Murray. Clear, balanced and inspiring. His books are often public domain now (Google is your friend…)

    2. Interesting how your website promotes ‘soaking’. I would also comment that Toronto was a mess from the get go. The thing is is that the music and worship and, may I say it…’soaking’…opens one up spiritually to receive the false teaching and doctrine that comes out of these meetings. Please do not accuse me of being narrow by calling the teaching and doctrine as false. Bentley has virtually no orthodoxy and Wagner and his group go way beyond Biblical truth into extra-biblical fantasy. I do agree with you about Andrew Murray as I have read many of his books, and knowing his heart and mind through his writings, I can assure you he would never go for what is trying to pass itself off a anew kind of Christianity In fact, he warns against it, as does A.W. Tozer, A.B. Simpson, Watchman Nee, Jessie Penn Lewis and many others.

      1. I also have to add this. We are never called upon by God to make decisions based on right or wrong – good or bad. The criteria is …God’s will or not God’s will? It is not the appearance of a thing but always…what is its origin? Only those things that truly come from God are to be accepted, and the Bible IS the final authority with correct interpretation of it’s meaning. Correct exegesis (not eisegesis) is the only way to determine the meanings of Scripture in a safe way. Simply put, if it is not seen in the Bible using correct interpretive methods stay away. Otherwise, anything goes.

  10. I just want to say this to you brother thanks for sharing your beliefs on this. However I am a soaker, Bible reader, intercessor. I am a firm believer in knowing the person of God personally, and through scripture, and through prayer. I have a personal testimony of going through a 40 day no speaking fast where I soaked, and read the word, and prayed through my spirit that brought healing, and a major transformation in my life. For forty days and forty nights I was before my God. God speaks in many different forms to each of us differently and personally. I understand your concern about people not being grounded in their foundation of the word of God. I hear what you are saying however you cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater and say all prophetic people/churches are not built in sound doctrine that is simply not true. I strongly disagree with you on the soaking because I have more of a personal relationship with the Lord through my time in his presence, and in the word, and in prayer. I do agree with you that we should never go after encounters and all the other stuff but just go after Jesus. All the encounters are by products of our relationship with Him. Listen I am love the Lord and I love being in His presence and His word. I am so sorry you were hurt by all the stuff that went on at the Elijah list ministry.

    Take care brother.

    1. I have to say that one opens oneself up to all kinds of experiences when you try to enter into a presence ‘outside’ of yourself and claim that presence to be God. Biblical teaching says God dwells ‘within’ the believer in the person of the Holy Spirit and according to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we are seated in Christ in heavenly places now. The danger is when we try to achieve something that we already have and are opened up to varied experiences that we deem as from God. Faith says “we have died and our life is hidden with Christ in God”. Believing the absolutes of Scripture when it come to the believers position keeps us from going outside of the confines set by the Word of Truth. We do not continue to beg God for His forgiveness when we confess and forsake our sins, do we? No, we simply accept His forgiveness by faith and move on. Satan’s greatest ploy is to get us to seek things that we already have and move us from our standing in faith and so lose the promises that are ours in Him…

    2. Hi Jeannie, your comments leave me with the impression that you may not have read the whole post, or if you did, you may have left out some key parts (and misunderstood others). I never came against being alone with God, nor communicating with Him 1×1. I didn’t say that ALL prophetic people/churches are not built on sound doctrine (although I will say MOST are not). God’s Presence DOES show up in our lives, if we are walking in obedience to His Word. If that’s your definition of “soaking”, that’s fine. This article is primarily against the common practice of marketing “experience” over a strong foundation — often through promoting “soaking” over spending time in the Word. That’s where the danger lies, and that is what is happening.

  11. Soaking? Isn’t that something you do in a soaking tub with lots of bubbles. That’s how I soak. But I do get into His presence by worshiping Him, having a heart of gratitude, and receiving instruction, correction and wisdom from His word.

    Thanks for sharing what the Spirit has given you.

  12. Some of the things that go on in many churches today are quite troubling to me. Once a door is opened into the spirit world, one may not be able to shut that door. Years ago, when I was searching for the right way to God. I knew I wanted the real thing. I took the long road and got mixed up in a number of things that are now called, “New Age.” I experienced quite a bit of feelings. After God delivered me from myself, forgave me, and baptized me in His Holy Spirit, I saw some unmistakable Godly things, but I also saw some very ungodly things, and I did not like that. The most troubling were the out of body experiences. When they would start I would go with them, even though I had told myself I would not. Finally, I asked God why this kept happening. He replied with a question, “Where are you trying to go?” I answered, “To find You.” He asked, “Where am I?” I replied, “Inside of me.” He asked, “Then where are you going?” For sure then, I knew those things were not of God. It never happened again. It has not happened again in many many years. Thank God. The last frightening “thing” I saw should have terrified me, but I knew that the greater one lived in me. I got angry and said, “You can stand there all night and look ugly if you want to, but in the name of Jesus, I am going to sleep.” I turned over and went to sleep. That was the end of the manifestations. These many New Age things people are doing may seem so good and so true, but they are a great deception, no matter HOW they make one feel. I’ll take the truth over all those deceptive “feel-good” things. It “feels” good to know that God is with me, and that He is guiding and protecting me. He said He would be a husband to the widow. I reminded Him of that. He is a very Good Husband. I love Him.

  13. It’s true that we must remember God is the one who always initiates everything with us. That’s even how it is throughout His word. He initiates the supernatural, man doesn’t.

    Soaking Prayer, which is also used as basically a “trance” preparation for Sozo sessions, is ALWAYS initiated by man. That alone should be a big red flag!!

  14. You are spot on Kevin….people don’t realize it’s the Spirit of God that leads us, WE DON’T LEAD HIM!!!! You can’t manufacture an experience with God…like you said, by praying and reading and studying His Word His Spirit will lead you unto all truth!

  15. Hi Kevin! Thanks for confirming what I have felt in my spirit concerning this movement. I get emails from Andrew Strom warning of the KUNDALINI spirit that is evading the church. It comes from some of the very biggest Charismatic ministries – in their own words – bringing utterly blatant New Age practices into the church. Not in a “hidden” way. But totally open and unashamed about it. Most people who have seen it are just as gob-smacked as I was. You will hardly believe it. -It is that bad.

    He has 3 you tube videos with chilling proof of what’s happening in the churches! I was shook to my VERY core when I watched these videos!! How can this be happening in God’s house?!? Where has all the discernment gone?

    Here they are if you or your readers care to verify this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBpw2oQrvMM
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCcGaTRwG_4
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWeUNoR30_0

    Thank you and God bless you for telling the truth to all those who have ears to…

    1. Hey Sandy – thanks for those links! I watched them awhile ago and never really had a chance to link to them on the site. They are great info to have in these Last Days!

  16. Pastor Yong-Doo Kim from South Korea,(the author of the book “baptized by the blazing fire”, whose spiritual eyes are opened, went to IHOP once. The evil spirits stirred up by him, was cursing at him “son of b****, why are you coming here?” He saw evil spirits hidden in there. He wonders how God would judge this place. He also said in many churches when people enjoy the sweet sweet spirit, but actually it is evil spirit at work.

  17. Everything you write is 100% right on. After coming to Christ 36 years ago, the Lord finally removed me from the apostasy 1 1/2 years ago. I did not know there was such a thing as “apostasy”. I know now. Praise the Lord. The Lord bless you.

  18. I understand your perspective and agree to a point. As you said it is essential for us to spend intimate time with the Lord. I agree 200% that nothing should take the place of the word of God. However, I would hope that the writer of the noted article understood this and perhaps his words were mispoken, rather written when he said the word and prayer are not enough. I think we should all strive to reach God and learn all we can about Him, His word and His ways.

    The world is fastly approaching a time not experienced before and we all must gird up our loins with God’s truth and the truth is we all need more of God

      1. Thank you Kevin I recently tried soaking and it’s not for me it actually gave me a headache guess God was telling me this is not for you or this is not of him. Great article, thank you Gina T

  19. Kevin,
    Thanks for the info. Tell me about the practice of the use and sounding of the shofar during service. It is a Pentecostal church. Haven’t seen that before. Thought it was peculiar.

    Sandra

    1. Hi Sandra,

      I don’t find blowing the shofar in a pentecostal church spiritually aberrant, but I do find it hypocritical since the pentecostal church doesn’t really identify with Israel. They might in word, but not deed. Blowing the shofar is just a fad to them.

      All the best,

      Kevin

  20. Very glad I found your article Kevin. I am not involved in any of these current trends but issues like this came to many churches in the seventies, harming many. In amongst it were the real and many people were healed in meetings properly conducted and with better knowledge of the Word of God. From what I hear on the grapevine this is one of the major differences. Years have gone past without churches doing a better job of teaching their people the scriptures. More emphasis on experiences less on decent teaching. In a way we could see this coming but it still fills us with dismay when you hear dubious doctrine being welcomed into the pulpit. I am not judging either, just saddened and thinking a time might come when we have to clean up the mess, again. Ena

  21. Thank you for the great words of wisdom. I love Graham Cooke but I was really having a red flag on the soaking stuff. Not the prophetic ministry itself but the replacement of the word and prayer just like you confirmed. Thanks again. You wrote a great article which explained it very well.

    1. Hi Robin, thank you so much for the kind words. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but Graham is just as much a false prophet as the rest of them in the prophetic bunch. I know the guy seems gentle and “nice” … but if you compare him to the false prophets in the Word, he fits the bill. I’ve written a series called “Ten Distinguishing Marks of a False Prophet” that you may like to read. Here’s the link: https://www.honorofkings.org/false-prophets

      And, of course, if you have any questions, feel free to email me and I’d be happy to discuss.

  22. This article has a lot of salient points. Thank you for posting this. There is definitely a lot of satanic occultism floating through the church in more ways than one. Nonetheless, I think we always have to find the middle ground between the two extremes involved in this issue; pure “wordism” and pure “spiritism.” The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had head-knowledge of the Scriptures, but no true intimacy with God nor His Word. On the other hand, people like the sons of Sceva had plenty of spirituality, but no grounding in Christ.

    The Lord Jesus tells us there are two things every believer needs to avoid error: revelation knowledge from the Scriptures and experience with the power of God.

    As he says,

    “And, Jesus answering said to them, “You err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” (Matt.22:29)

    Notice that Jesus brings forth a revelation on the resurrection because he tells them that can be gathered from the text though not explicitly written.

    (I’m kind of pressed for time so I’ll summarize).

    Without our faith and knowledge of God turning into experiences with God, we have only Christian theory, not true faith. Faith must have its outworking.

    A person may “know” God can heal the sick, but never steps into the realm of works to manifest that faith. A person may SAY they know God gives visions and dreams, but never exercises faith or positions their heart for it.

    I’m not saying we control God. I’m saying we position ourselves through the Word (meditation, revelation, and demonstration), prayer, fasting, exercising faith, etc…There is a way to prepare yourself to receive from God.

    As the Lord again says,

    “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24)

    You cannot have faith without hope and love. Love is foundational, hope is next, and faith comes out of the two. (1 Cor. 13:13)

    Faith is the tangible form of hope:

    “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb.11:1)

    You have to have a hope or literally in the Greek, “elpidzo: expectation of good or evil” in order to have faith. Faith is the manifester of our expectations, and expectations begin in the heart.

    Again it is written,

    “As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.” (Prov.21:19)

    So, the part of us that God is truly concerned about is the heart. Whatever we are constantly meditating on, thinking of, and embracing in our heart will be how we live and what we experience.

    If a person is meditating on the Word, he can’t somehow skip over all the supernatural stuff and just go for “doctrine,” whatever that might mean.

    I’m not saying we seek God for experiences, but rather seek God for Him, to know His heart and ways, and to not close ourselves off to all the incredible ways God wants to manifest Himself to us. God wants us to experience Him and His kingdom realm in reality. We have to go beyond speaking about the spiritual real and actually live in it and from it.

    Why do we cut ourselves off so easily from things just because the forces of darkness are doing it in a perverted way? Why do we keep allowing the devil to operate where we’re supposed to be operating?

    There is a balance, and it isn’t found in one extreme or the other. It’s found in mining the good out of both sides of the argument.

    The Word is a great springboard into the Kingdom realm. Our faith must become experience. There are no limitations to the one who believes. (Mark 9:23)

    ““Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)

    God bless.

  23. I have never been an emotional person, that is I do not experience peaks of emotional highs. I thank YHWH for this type of personality.

    Don’t get me wrong. I have felt YHWH’s presence, but not from an emotional angle or experience.

    I’ve had dreams and visions, hear YHWH’s still small voice, but was not caught up in the emotional side of the experience. This allowed me to analyze what happened, critique it so to speak to see if indeed it was from YHWH or not.

    Once you get in an emotional frame of mind, an emotional high, discernment flies out the window. You can’t think straight anymore and will believe whatever your emotional self is leading you. Never questioning whether what you are experiencing is from YHWH or not. Everything you are feeling automatically is of YHWH no question about it. Dangerous place to be in. Easy pray to be manipulated by the one who “can transform himself into an angel of light”.

  24. Interesting article Kevin. My concern is that so often throwing the baby out with the bathwater is the issue. It seems to me that you may have done that too. I agree that spending time in the Word of God is essential, as is a genuine effective prayer life. I equate soaking with meditation which is VERY biblical. I am sure that most would agree with me if I were to say in regards to worship that prayer and the Word of God are not enough; we need to worship also. There is value in soaking, not to replace prayer and the word, I see it as a form of prayer. As history shows, when something “new” is practiced in the church there are often excesses until theology catches up to experience. It is not enough to have an informational church. Education alone changes no one. We also need to experience God (I would agree that experience needs to be guided by the Word). Let’s not throw out the baby!

  25. Hey Kevin,

    Establishing a daily quiet time was essential to deepening my walk with God and I believe we can all benefit from doing it. I’ve never heard of soaking but this sounds like pure new age occultism disguised as Christianity. I know there will be many ignorant Christians who jump on it because its exciting, sensational and less work than staying connected with the most high. My quiet time is sets the tone for my day and I value it greatly but without prayer and bible reading, these practices can be very dangerous and cause very serious spiritual problems. Thank for sharing.

  26. Never heard of “soaking” before reading this post. Sounds like eastern Yoda or is it Yoga stuff (may the force be with you!). Prayer & bible study is not enough? That person who said that does err in not knowing scripture! None of what is going on in the churches today should take any of us by surprise. It has all been prophesied to happen. How else is the falling away going to occur, the departing from the faith, the not enduring sound doctrine? All of these practices of doctrines of devils, false teachers & prophets was predicted and will happen. If one does not know scripture they will fall for this stuff hook, line, and sinker. It is our human nature to want to look and act more spiritual. The problem is most do not want to do it Yahweh’s way, the way scripture tells us to worship Yahweh. He ought to know how he wants to be worshiped and he tells us in the scriptures. If one does not read & study the scriptures they are going to go off in all directions not stay on the narrow path.

  27. I highly recommend Walter Beuttler, he passed away in 1976. I think most of his writings- sermons are online for free. I stumbled across him I think it was in 2015 or 2014. I bought the book “The Manifest Presence of God” My Spiritual Journey – Walter Beuttler, I bought the book from Amazon.com

  28. Heaven – O Brother Kleint, I do not partake in soaking but do put on some nice quiet praise and worship music which is generally instrumental and then and there just start praising and worshiping the Lord and reciting some scripture. I never empty my mind but just praise the Lord and thank him or just say hallelujah with my eyes closed sometimes just to put my focus on him and praise him.

    Is that considered to be soaking prayer or is that just praise and worship?

    1. I don’t believe so. A believer needs those times of praise and worship! What I was referring to in this article is much more new-agey and gives place for other “spirits” to wreak havoc in a person’s life.

  29. I have to say after reading 2 of your articles it seems like you have a good head on your shoulders! Its good to see someone who can spot out false teaching!

  30. This is good news! Thank. You I’m looking for a church in southern ca or home group. One that is non religious . Do you know of one?

    1. I’m hesitant to recommend any “church” per se as, in increasing measure, they are all sliding toward apostasy. My advice to you would be to leave the organize church, find like-minded believers and study/fellowship together. You’ll be in much better shape. The church isn’t a building anyways, LOL!

  31. Good to hear both sides. I find holy music helps focus my mind on God to then be still and listen. Everyone is different in what works best for them. I find playing and laughing helps as well. There is no set formula that works for everyone. 😇 music opens and softens the heart.

  32. Thanks for sharing your insights. I’ve been taking a close look at Graham Cooke’s teaching and the practices of others affiliated with the NAR. The emphasis on mysticism and experiental spiritual encounters without sound biblical reference and teaching alarms me. The fact that leaders in my church who go to the conferences to receive “impartations” and “downloads” and then actively disseminate this “revelation” into the young and impressionable deeply disturbs me.

  33. Kevin,
    Some good advice. Do not speak to things which you do not know. Praise publically rebuke privately and if rebuking on “behalf of God” it best be He sent you personally. The power of life and death are in the tongue so when you use yours you best understand what you are saying and how those words affect others. I will add especially when speaking of God’s annointed. Least He see you as the enemy. The enemy never fairs well. And NEVER judge! Less than a second in the presence of Christ and you will know this truth. It’s just not in your wheelhouse or anyone elses for that matter. God has that covered.
    Mia

  34. Kevin,
    Thank you for your direct approach and stand on the Word. I am vexed by apostasy in the church and see the new age techniques all over spirit soaking. The Word is clear and not of private interpretation. It interprets itself. My evangelical pastor mentioned reading Graham Cooke today. Very disturbing.
    Thank you for being real and knowing about that for which you speak.

  35. Soaking is total new age and is just another form of contemplative prayer and transendental meditation. It does bring other spirits. It also puts you into a hypnotic state and then you are more apt to listen to what is being said as truth. It may not be truth and the same goes for contemporary worship music right before a sermon. It will put you into a state of being vulnerable to listen to heresy in the church. Music can actually alter brain waves. It can also put you into a trance. That’s why you see people swaying back and forth and they don’t even know it. It is always best to pray in your conscious mind and not your subconscious which is what your in when you are listening to music or repeating written prayers.

  36. Thanks for this blog. I recently got into a big argument with a brother about a young, small
    church pastor in Redding, ca. who walks around barefoot 24/7 because God told him to.
    The lower part of his feet are charcoal black because of the practice. I told my friend that
    this young man had no future in the ministry until he gets the freedom to wash his feet and
    put on some shoes. Who would hire him? What kind of an example is this to his children and
    his flock? I got a bunch of flack about “how do you know that God didn’t tell him to do this?
    Can somebody please smell the coffee and wake up? Dealing with folks who have departed
    from scriptural guidance and are completely dependent on personal revelations can be
    very difficult. It’s like arguing from two separate mind sets. Kookiness does not equal spirituality.

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