Contemplative Prayer in the Bible

The practice of Contemplative Prayer is clearly taught by some of the great heroes of the faith. But is it taught in the Bible?



The practice of Contemplative Prayer is clearly taught by some of the great heroes of the Christian faith, such as Julian of Norwich and Teresa of Ávila, John of the Cross and Thérèse of Lisieux.

But is Contemplative Prayer taught in the Bible?

Here are some of the Bible passages cited by those four great heroes of the faith:



Exodus 14:20. It came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel. There was the cloud and the darkness, yet it gave light by night. One didn’t come near the other all night. (note 2)

Exodus 20:21. The people stayed at a distance, and Moses came near to the thick darkness where God was. (note 2)

Exodus 24:17. The appearance of the LORD’s glory was like devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel. (note 1)

Deuteronomy 4:24. For the LORD your God is a devouring fire, a jealous God. (note 1)

Job 19:21. Have pity on me, have pity on me, you my friends; for the hand of God has touched me. (note 2)

1 Kings 8:12. Then Solomon said, “The LORD has said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.

Psalm 18:11. He made darkness his hiding place, his pavilion around him, darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies. (note 2)

Psalm 18:12. At the brightness before him his thick clouds passed, hailstones and coals of fire. (note 2)

Psalm 35:10a. All my bones shall say, “LORD, who is like you.” (note 1)

Psalm 42:1. As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants after you, God. (note 1)

Psalm 84:2.My soul is longing and yearning, is yearning for the courts of the Lord. (ICEL translation) (note 1)

Psalm 116:15. Precious in the LORD’s sight is the death of his holy ones. (note 1)

Psalm 139:12. even the darkness doesn’t hide from you, but the night shines as the day. The darkness is like light to you. (note 2)

Song of Songs 2:10. My beloved spoke, and said to me, “Rise up, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.” (note 1)

Song of Songs 5:4. My heart trem­bled within me, and I grew faint when he spoke. (NAB translation) (note 1)

Isaiah 28:9. Whom will he teach knowledge? To whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. (note 2)

Isaiah 33:14. The sinners in Zion are afraid. Trembling has seized the godless ones. Who among us can live with the devouring fire? Who among us can live with everlasting burning? (note 1)

Jeremiah 12:5. If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? (note 1)

Jeremiah 23:29. “Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” (NIV translation) (note 1)

Lamentations 3:6. He has made me dwell in dark places, as those who have been long dead. (note 1)

Lamentations 3:20. My soul still remembers them, and is bowed down within me. (note 1)

Lamentations 3:21. This I recall to my mind; therefore I have hope. (note 1)

Hosea 2:20. I will even betroth you to me in faithfulness; and you shall know the LORD. (note 2)


Matthew 6:6. But you, when you pray, enter into your inner room, and having shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Matthew 7:14. How narrow is the gate, and restricted is the way that leads to life! Few are those who find it. (note 2)

Mark 4:19. The cares of this age, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. (note 3)

John 14:2. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. (NASB translation) (note 1)

John 14:23. Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him.” (note 1)

John 16:33. I have told you these things, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble; but cheer up! I have overcome the world. (note 1)

John 17:3. This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ. (note 1)

John 17:10. All things that are mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. (note 1)


Acts 2:3. Tongues like fire appeared and were distributed to them, and one sat on each of them. (note 1)

Romans 8:13. For if you live after the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (note 1)

Romans 12:2a. Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (note 3)

1 Corinthians 2:14. Now the natural man doesn’t receive the things of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to him, and he can’t know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (note 1)

2 Corinthians 5:7. for we walk by faith, not by sight. (note 2)

2 Corinthians 7:10. For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation, which brings no regret. But the sorrow of the world produces death. (note 4)

Galatians 2:20. I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me. That life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me. (note 1) (note 5)

Philippians 1:21. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (note 2) (note 3)

Colossians 1:27. to whom God was pleased to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory; (note 4)



Note 1. Cited by John of the Cross in The Living Flame of Love

Note 2. Cited by John of the Cross in The Dark Night

Note 3. Cited by Teresa of Ávila in The Interior Castle

Note 4. Cited by Julian of Norwich in Revelations of Divine Love

Note 5. Cited by Thérèse of Lisieux in The Story of a Soul


Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.