Prayer Circles & Small Groups
This is an excerpt from the Booklet: Circle Making and “Prayer Circles” Versus The Straight Line to Truth by Cedric Fisher and Nanci Des Gerlaise (italics mine)
An article written by the late apologist and researcher Ed Tarkowski gives some interesting insights about Christians participating in prayer circles. It should be noted that, in and of itself, there is nothing wrong with meeting in small groups or joining hands with other believers while standing in a circular formation. However, such practices should not be applauded as divine remedies or special formulas for success. While these practices may be perfectly benign, in the wrong hands, they can accomplish much evil—especially considering that they may have the appearance of godly endeavors. This is what happened in numerous cases during the charismatic renewal movement.
At first, it may sound extreme to criticize people holding hands, standing in a circle, and praying, but after reading Tarkowski’s material, you may be able to understand and agree with his concerns:
The Charismatic Renewal brought prayer circles into widespread use through the ecumenical prayer meetings begun after Vatican II, and they were part of the early empowering of those people used to get this whole thing headed in the “right” direction. The Shepherding Movement was then introduced by Bob Mumford, Charles Simpson, Derek Prince, Joe Garlington, Larry Tomczak and others. In the 1970s, many of these men traveled to our town and across the country to hold huge meetings to instill the idea of accountability within the small groups. What all this led to, of course, was demonenergized groups being brought into accountability to men while the word of God was twisted, laid down, compromised, and changed.
As we have witnessed compromised Christian leaders putting an emphasis on small groups, unity, revival, and accountability to the leaders, what Tarkowski is suggesting makes sense. He continues:
There is a current move to link all of these small groups into a Global Prayer Circle for the sake of demonstrating unity in “Jesus” throughout the world. Christians may think that this unity would concern Christianity alone, but it does not. What is in view is all the religions of the world participating in a unified prayer circle formed around the globe. . . . [Prayer circles] will be one of the energizing tools used to maintain control and bring in the final evolution of this beast, a world church. The intimate sharing of small prayer groups will turn into Big Brother knowing all about each member. Groups will be shepherded into a global community living under a system of controlled accountability to man. The New Age consciousness of unity in diversity, as well as peace based not on God’s word, but on a universal set of values, will finally be realized by this global entity.
Popular prolific New Age sympathizer, Leonard Sweet, reiterates this in his book Quantum Spirituality when he states:
The power of small groups is in their ability to develop the discipline to get people “inphase” with the Christ consciousness and connected with one another.
This “Christ consciousness” of which Sweet refers to is the belief that all humans are indwelt with divinity (i.e., that God is every man—panentheism).
It is also vital to realize that much of what we have in the church today is a refocusing of values. While genuine revivals of the past were characterized by repentance and faith in the Gospel—where turning to Christ and living for Him became the focus, much of today’s revival is riddled with formulas for self-accomplishments and success. Rather than endeavoring to find in Christ all that is needed for godly living, a host of formulas are being offering—as if rubbing the right lamp might bring the genie out of the bottle.