Meditation is a great way to practice self-care, however, for many Christians, confusion about meditation leads to misconceptions. These misconceptions lead to many missing out on an amazing way to connect with God and to grow in your Christian Journey.
In an effort to learn more about how to do Christian meditation, I asked my friend Lori from Triune Loves me to share her beautiful experience with meditation with me. After an amazing conversation with her I had to have her share with Undoubted Grace. Here’s what Lori had to say about how growth in her walk with God through Christian Meditation. Be sure to read to the end for resources on Christian meditation.
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How meditation has transformed my life and grown my faith in God
by Lori Garner
Meditation is such a controversial word and activity within the Christian circles. There are so many opinions, so many different styles. How does one start this practice? And why would you want to?
I do not claim to be an expert on this subject. However, I can share my thoughts, and experience with this Spiritual gem. Until two years ago when someone spoke of meditation my mind would drift to a person sitting in a pretzel formation, palms up resting at the knee, chanting some utterance of something I had no clue what was being said.
How did you get started with Christian Meditation?
Two years ago on a casual summer day in May while driving I had a significant Holy Spirit encounter. At the time I had no religious background and nor was I looking for one. I was so naive l did not even realize at the time it was the Holy Spirit. I arrived home shortly after filled with a love that I could not describe. I had difficulty sleeping, I could not stop thinking about what had just happened.
The next morning my husband went to work at 5 am. I had never meditated before this moment. I woke up at 5:30, sat in my lazy boy recliner, laid back listening to music in my earbuds. I closed my eyes relaxed and I was swept away.
I stayed there speaking to God until night fell? To this day I can’t quite explain it, but it was intensely amazing. And from that moment I began my search for more information on this amazing spiritual connection with God. Like many of us when we need information, I went straight to YouTube. Lol.
I began to set the stage each day for these times to seek God or Jesus. I was searching for and sharing my practice with others, some listened. and some told me I should speak to my pastor because meditation is not something that we should practice.
Finally, a dear friend challenged me, she said tell me where you see meditation in the Bible. I love a challenge. We found several scriptures not only advising us that it is ok to meditate but telling us to meditate day and night. 😁
How do you practice meditation as a Christian?
As I stated earlier, I am not a meditation instructor. However, I can share the steps that have given me amazing results.
- A comfortable chair or place to lay down or sit.
- I burn incense or a candle for relaxing aroma (my favorite is frankincense)
- Music has played a significant role in my practice. I have worked with guided meditations, but music that speaks to my soul works quite well. I feel this is subjunctive to each person’s genre preferences. (Ear buds will enhance the experience)
- Once I lay back, I close my eyes. I begin to relax and pray. I invite Jesus and or I search for Him in my prayer dialog. When I drift to the sweet spot just before I go to sleep. I see Him and some of the most amazing stories have unfolded. He brings love, He brings peace, and some meditations have given me answers to issues that perhaps I have been wrestling with. It’s a practice of communicating with the Trinity, and it can fill your heart and soothe your soul.
Some may still feel this practice does not align with God’s word. I will leave you with a Scripture. However, it’s been my experience if I am edifying God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. with my actions I must be on the right track. So, I will continue this practice until He tells me to stop. Because I plan on chasing my Triune loves for eternity.
“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on its day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”
Christian Meditation Resources
If you are interested in learning more about meditation as a Christian there are a few resources that will help you learn more about this discipline and start your own practice of meditating on God’s word and experiencing his presence.
As Lori mentioned, Youtube is an excellent free resource for trying Christian Meditation! Some videos that Lori Recommends are:
2. Abide app
I was first introduced to Christian meditation through Abide. With Abide, you can pick a topic and then through a guided script listen to a scripture and dwell on the scripture and dive deeper into its meaning for your life. You can also simply listen to calming sounds of nature or music and dwell on the word of God without script.
3. Transforming Your Thought Life: Christian Meditation in Focus
This book offers a new way to look at Christian meditation as it discusses using changing the way we think and combating the barrage of negative thoughts that we are constantly dealing with. This book offers guided meditations and personal examples to help train your mind to remain grounded in the word of God.
Do you have experience with Christian meditation? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!
How To Meditate As A Christian in 8 Steps
By Brandon Clay / November 18, 2018
Three principles and five ways on how to meditate biblically (and safely) as a Christian while avoiding the spiritual dangers of Eastern meditation.
Christian meditation has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance in recent decades. It has grown alongside Eastern meditation in the US and Western world – hence the reason people want to know how to meditate.
However, there are definitely some dangers to so-called “Christian Meditation”. Just as Jesus said “not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 7:21), so also not every ministry that practices “Christian meditation” is doing it in line with Scripture.
Each meditation ministry may teach a mixture of Christian, Catholic, Orthodox, and Eastern (non-Christian) religious practices. There’s even an app that promises to “Transform your life with guided Christian meditation” (see Abide). But with all the information out there and the inherent dangers in Eastern meditation, how are you supposed to meditate safely?
In this post, I aim to provide three principles and five ways on how to meditate safely and biblically as a Christian.
Step #1: Include Verbal & Mental Aspects
In the Bible, the Hebrew word for “meditate” is ‘hagah’ (הָגָה). “Hagah” is used around 25 times in the Old Testament and it is translated as “meditate” 6 times in the King James Version of the Bible. Although it’s not a prominent concept in the Bible, neither is it obscure.
According to Strong’s, “hagah” means to moan, growl, utter, speak, muse. So in Hebrew, there’s a verbal and a mental aspect to meditation. It’s about pondering and thinking but it’s also about saying and groaning.
Biblical meditation involves more than silent prayer.
Perhaps you’re more used to praying alone and in your head. That may be fine in prayer, but that’s not meditation. The ancient Jews were not so concerned about quietness in meditation. As you’re considering how to mediate, keep in mind meditation includes both contemplative and verbal aspects.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)
Step #2: Focus on Scripture
The Puritans worshiped in the Church of England during the 16th and 17th centuries.While the Church was recovering the gospel, some Puritans were recovering the lost practice of biblical meditation. Challies cites Puritan scholar Joel Beeke on how the Puritans practiced meditation…
“Puritan meditation engages the mind with God’s revealed truth in order to inflame the heart with affections towards God and transform the life unto obedience. Thomas Hooker defined it like this: ‘Meditation is a serious intention of the mind whereby we come to search out the truth, and settle it effectually upon the heart.’
The direction of our minds reveals the truest love of our hearts, and so, Hooker said, he who loves God’s Word meditates on it regularly (Ps. 119:97). Therefore, Puritan meditation is not repeating a sound, emptying the mind, or imagining physical sights and sensations, but a focused exercise of thought and faith upon the Word of God.”
To the Puritans, meditation was an important aspect of personal devotion. But that meditation was not a listless muttering that you may find in Eastern meditation practices. Instead, it was an activity grounded in the Word of God. This concept is a more sure foundation for our meditation and one way to keep it grounded in truth.
“Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.” (Psalm 119:97-99)
Step #3: Replace Lies with Biblical Truth Through Meditation
Part of the reason we struggle is we believe lies the enemy tells us. Satan may tell us something about our value, something about our security, or something about our future that simply isn’t true. And we internalize it and worry about about a falsehood. As Christians, we are not immune to the enemy’s attacks.
But we do have a resource to fight back.
One helpful way to fight back is to replace the lies of the enemy with God’s truth is by meditating on a relevant passage. For instance, if you are struggling with worry, you can meditate on a passage that speaks directly to your situation like Matthew 6:25-34:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
God knows you. He knows your situation and has a storehouse of truth available to the seeking Christian in the Bible. Whatever you’re struggling with – anxiety, marriage issues, singleness, lust, dishonesty, or something else – God’s word addresses it.
Here’s a helpful site to help you find relevant passages to meditate on. Simply type in the area you want Scripture for (ex. worry), then a list of verses will pop-up that address that topic:
“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.” (Psalm 143:5)
Now that we’ve covered a few principles for meditating like a Christian, here are some helpful steps in your meditation.
Step 4: Find a quiet place.
Go to a place where you won’t be interrupted for 15-20 minutes or so. Light music, without words is optional. (Matthew 6:6)
Step 5: Pick a short passage of Scripture.
Open the Psalms or use the OpenBible.info tool to find a relevant Scripture that addresses a situation you’re dealing with right now. Use a passage that is no longer than 3-5 verses to start.
Step 6: Begin with this prayer:
“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” (Psalm 119:18)
Step 7: Read the passage slowly and out loud several times.
Pay attention to the pace – do not rush things. Let God’s truth slowly infiltrate every part of your being. Repeat sections of the passage that are particularly meaningful. (Matthew 11:28-30)
Step 8: Pray about whatever the Holy Spirit brings to mind.
After you meditate on the passage, address whatever the Lord highlights at that point may be bringing truths to mind as you are considering his word (John 14:26).
“When I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night.” (Psalm 63:6)
Conclusion: Meditation Confession & Concern
I do not practice Christian meditation consistently, but I have enjoyed some of the benefits to that come from light meditation. My life is more peaceful the more I pray and meditate.
Consider the spiritual danger of much that is called ‘Christian’ meditation. Eastern meditation practices have infiltrated several ministries that teach meditation. Do your own research, seek the Lord, and always depend on Scripture for all decisions. Use the above principles and steps to meditate as a Christian – as they are rooted in the Bible – and discover the benefit the ancients have learned.
“His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:2
“I understand more than all my teachers, because I meditate on your instructions.” Psalm119:19
Christian meditation isn’t passive rest, it’s actively practicing the presence of God, whether that’s focusing on Scripture, or who God is.
Christian meditation is simply thinking about God, or mulling over the things of God
Rick Warren, in The Purpose Driven Life, describes meditation this way:
“Meditation is focused thinking. It takes serious effort. You select a verse and reflect on it over and over in your mind . . . if you know how to worry; you already know how to meditate”.
“No other habit can do more to transform your life and make you more like Jesus than daily reflection on Scripture . . . If you look up all the times God speaks about meditation in the Bible, you will amazed at the benefits He has promised to those who take the time to reflect on His Word throughout the day”.
In Satisfy Your Soul, Bruce Demarest writes,
“A quieted heart is our best preparation for all this work of God . . . Meditation refocuses us from ourselves and from the world so that we reflect on God’s Word, His nature, His abilities, and His works . . . So we prayerfully ponder, muse, and ‘chew’ the words of Scripture . . . The goal is simply to permit the Holy Spirit to activate the life-giving Word of God”.
What should Christians meditate on?
“Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8
The purpose of Christian meditation is deeper communion with the living God
The most important aspects of your life are your walk with God and your friendship with Him. You communicate with God spirit to spirit.
Meditation helps you to develop your spirit and prepares the way for communication with God. When you still and quiet your soul you find it easier to connect with God, it’s easier to hear Him.
I usually start with prayer. First I thank God, and then I repent of any sin and ask the Holy Spirit to lead me as I meditate.
Aids to Christian meditation
- A quiet unhurried atmosphere
- A relaxed mind and body
- Discipline – it helps to set aside a regular time
When you first start to meditate you’ll probably find you’re distracted by everyday things. Don’t focus on the distractions, learn to let them go. If you stop being bothered about them they’ll begin to fade away.
Easy ways to include Christian meditation in your day.
There are natural times during the day when you can easily give your mind to God’s Word in Meditation.
- Train yourself to think about God’s word at the start of the day.
- Use part of your lunch break to stop and think on the things of God.
- Make sure that God’s Word is the last thing that occupies your mind before you go to sleep.
Formal Christian meditation began with the early Christian monks who practised reading the Bible slowly. The monks carefully considered the deeper meaning of each verse as they read it.
Slow and thoughtful reading of Scripture, while pondering its meaning, was their meditation. This spiritual practice is called divine reading, spiritual reading, prayerful reading of the Bible or lectio divina.
Sometimes the monks found themselves spontaneously praying as a result of their meditation on Scripture, and their prayer turned to simple, loving focus on God. They called this wordless love for God, contemplation.
St. Teresa of Avila
St. Teresa practiced contemplative prayer for one hour at a time, twice a day. She found this very difficult for the first several years. She had no one to teach her, and taught herself from the instructions given in a book.
St. Teresa started with the practice of “recollection”. Recollection means to keep your senses and intellect in check and not allow them to stray. You restrict your attention to the love of God. It’s called recollection because the soul collects together all the faculties and enters within itself to be with God.
Because St Teresa found it difficult to concentrate, she used devices such as short readings from an inspiring book, a scene of natural beauty or a picture to remind her of her focus.
In time, your mind will become effortlessly still.
Madame Guyon was a French mystic and writer. As a 19-year-old, she was influenced by an encounter with a Franciscan priest who had just emerged from a five-year retreat. She asked him why she was having such difficulties with prayer, and he replied:
“It is, Madame, because you seek without what you have within. Accustom yourself to seek God in your heart, and there you will find Him”.
Where do YOUR thoughts dwell most often?
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8
Time spent dwelling on thoughts of God, who He is, what HeвЂ™s done, who you are in HimвЂ¦ lead to much TREASURE в™Ґ
The Message version put it this wayвЂ¦
Summing it all up, friends, IвЂ™d say youвЂ™ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, graciousвЂ”the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
What are you growing in your lifeвЂ™s garden?
What harmonies are being created as you go through your day?
I hope this has inspired you to meditate. Meditation really will help you to draw closer to God and become more and more aware of His presence with you.
The effort of finding a specific time each day to focus on God’s Word is well worth the rewards.
You could start by meditating on who you are in Christ or take a look at the Scriptures in build your faith
Christian Meditation: Is it Christian to Meditate?
Christian meditation is rooted in the Bible. In fact, the Bible commands us to meditate. In Joshua 1:8, God says to meditate on His word day and night so we will obey it. The psalmist says “his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2). Actually, the Bible mentions meditate or meditation 20 times.
In the Old Testament there are two primary Hebrew words for meditation: Haga, which means to utter, groan, meditate, or ponder; and Sihach, which means to muse, rehearse in one’s mind, or contemplate. These words can also be translated as dwell, diligently consider, and heed.
Christian Meditation: A History
One form of Christian meditation that has been used by believers since at least the fourth century AD is the lectio divina. It has been traditionally used in monastic religious orders and is enjoying a resurgence today. Lectio divina means “sacred reading” and has four stages: lectio (reading), meditatio (discursive meditation), oratio (affective prayer), and contemplatio (contemplation). In the lectio (reading) stage, one finds a passage and reads it deliberately. The next stage, meditatio (discursive meditation), is where one ponders the text. In the oratio (effective prayer) stage, one talks to God about the reading, asking Him to reveal the truth. In the final, contemplatio (contemplation) stage, one simply rests in the Lord’s presence.
Today, meditation is generally seen as a practice of the New Age movement. This comes primarily from its association with Transcendental Meditation. Transcendental Meditation (TM) was developed by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of the Hindu religion and is steeped in Hindu philosophy. The “yogi” in the TM founder’s name indicates his status in Hinduism. Courts in the US have ruled that TM is not a secular discipline; it is Hindu religion (US District Court, Newark, NJ, on October 29, 1977 and the US Court of Appeals, Philadelphia, PA February 2, 1979).
Christian Meditation: What do Christian Leaders Say?
One important thing the Bible tells us to do is to think about God’s Word. Our thoughts determine our behavior and so what we think about is very important. That is why God wants us to think about His Word, or meditate on it. Jim Downing in Meditation (NavPress) says God considers meditation a “vital exercise of the minds of His children.”
Rick Warren, in The Purpose Driven Life (Zondervan), describes meditation this way: “Meditation is focused thinking. It takes serious effort. You select a verse and reflect on it over and over in your mind. if you know how to worry, you already know how to meditate” (190). Warren goes on to say, “No other habit can do more to transform your life and make you more like Jesus than daily reflection on Scripture…If you look up all the times God speaks about meditation in the Bible, you will amazed at the benefits He has promised to those who take the time to reflect on His Word throughout the day” (190).
In Satisfy Your Soul (NavPress), Dr. Bruce Demarest writes, “A quieted heart is our best preparation for all this work of God. Meditation refocuses us from ourselves and from the world so that we reflect on God’s Word, His nature, His abilities, and His works. So we prayerfully ponder, muse, and ‘chew’ the words of Scripture. The goal is simply to permit the Holy Spirit to activate the life-giving Word of God” (133).
Christian Meditation: How do we do it?
There are three times during the day we can actively turn our minds over to God’s Word in Christian Meditation. Just before we fall asleep, we can have God’s Word be the last thing that occupies our mind. Upon awaking, we can have God’s Word be the first thing to fill our minds to start the day. Finally, we need a specific time each day to be in God’s Word so it can speak to us throughout our day.
What should we focus on in Christian meditation? “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8, NASB).
WHAT DO YOU THINK? – We have all sinned and deserve God’s judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, “Jesus is Lord,” you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.
Question: “What is Christian meditation?”
Answer: Psalm 19:14 states, вЂњMay the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.вЂќ What, then, is Christian meditation, and how should Christians meditate? Unfortunately, the word вЂњmeditationвЂќ can carry the connotation of something mystical. For some, meditation is clearing the mind while sitting in an unusual position. For others, meditation is communing with the spirit world around us. Concepts such as these most definitely do not characterize Christian meditation.
Christian meditation has nothing to do with practices that have Eastern mysticism as their foundation. Such practices include lectio divina, transcendental meditation, and many forms of what is called contemplative prayer. These have at their core a dangerous premise that we need to вЂњhear GodвЂ™s voice,вЂќ not through His Word, but through personal revelation through meditation. Some churches are filled with people who think they are hearing a вЂњword from the Lord,вЂќ often contradicting one another and therefore causing endless divisions within the body of Christ. Christians are not to abandon GodвЂ™s Word, which is вЂњGod-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good workвЂќ (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If the Bible is sufficient to thoroughly equip us for every good work, how could we think we need to seek a mystical experience instead of or in addition to it?
Christian meditation is to be solely on the Word of God and what it reveals about Him. David found this to be so, and he describes the man who is вЂњblessedвЂќ as one whose вЂњdelight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and nightвЂќ (Psalm 1:2). True Christian meditation is an active thought process whereby we give ourselves to the study of the Word, praying over it and asking God to give us understanding by the Spirit, who has promised to lead us вЂњinto all truthвЂќ (John 16:13). Then we put this truth into practice, committing ourselves to the Scriptures as the rule for life and practice as we go about our daily activities. This causes spiritual growth and maturing in the things of God as we are taught by His Holy Spirit.
Christian meditation has been highly encouraged in the Bible. Unlike eastern meditation, Christian meditation is a religious experience with a focus on God and His words. In other words, Christian meditation lays great emphasis on prayer and reading and finding peace and clarity in His preaching.
The Christian meditation is the lectio divina, which has been in practice since the fourth century AD. Meaning “sacred reading” this technique is divided into four stages comprising lectio (reading), meditatio (discursive meditation), oratio (affective prayer), and contemplatio (contemplation).
How to do Christian meditation
Here are some steps that can help you practice Christian meditation.
Read a particular passage of interest of the Bible deliberately, slowly and attentively.
Mediate on the passage, memorize it and let it resonate in your thoughts. Then, think how it relates to you personally and how it applies to you and your life.
Prayer and request God to open your eyes to the scripture you are mediating on.
Quieten your mind and think of nothing but God’s glorious presence.
If you find that your mind is wandering, consciously shift the focus back to the text. It goes without saying that meditation can be difficult at first. However, with practice the mind will gradually calm down and you will find it easier to meditate on God’s word.
Christian meditation may seem difficult at first but with constant practice you will be able to shift the focus from yourself and the world to God’s Word, His nature, His abilities, and His works.
The simplicity of Christian meditation is in the act of being still in silence and solitude. This said, sometimes being quiet even for a few minutes can lead to minor anxiety attack. Then again, many of us can be afraid of what is lurking underneath the surface of our hearts. But remember, God is compassion and God is forgiveness and if you put your faith in Him, you will surely find Him.
Be a light to others and you wont stumble on your own path. Meditation is a process of careful thought consideration.
Please email your thoughts, suggestions, opinions and inspirations to us via our Contact Us page
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This blog post is written by Abide ambassador, Leslie McGuffie. Leslie started using Abide and doing Christian meditation a year ago. Below she shares her experience in trying meditation for the first time.
If worry isn’t a sin, it should be. It causes stress and anxiety. All of these things wreak havoc on our minds, as well as our bodies. If sin separates us from the goodness of God, then worry is the thief that robs us of His peace. So, what are we supposed to do?
Me with my sons and grandson
Whether Christian or not, many people have found relief in the practice of meditation. Taking time to breathe deeply and calm the mind has become such a trend that even school children are being taught how to meditate.
But what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a form of meditation where the focus is on being in the present moment, paying attention to the air as it enters and exits your lungs and nostrils. Mindfulness encourages you not to judge yourself if your mind wanders, and leaves you feeling relaxed and free from worry about the past or the future. That’s the objective, but does it work? More on that later.
Is meditation an Eastern religious practice?
You may be asking “Isn’t meditation an Eastern religion thing?”
That’s what I thought, too. I always said that I didn’t want any unfamiliar spirits entering into the vacant space of my mind during meditation. But, one day a relative who meditates frequently came to visit. He told me to just sit still, be quiet, breathe deeply, and empty my mind.
I looked at him suspiciously and said “Empty my mind? You mean don’t think about anything?”
He chuckled and said “Just try it for five minutes.”
So we sat in my living room with our eyes closed and legs folded in front. I tried very hard not to think. Every few seconds I peeked to see what was going on. The dog started barking. An ambulance siren sounded in the distance. Honestly, I just kept wondering how many minutes we had left.
When his timer went off, we opened our eyes and he said “So how was that?”
I shrugged and said “Okay, I guess. But I don’t think I was really meditating. Maybe I’m one of those people who just can’t do it.”
Meditating on the Word of God
Scripture says that we should meditate on the Book of the Law day and night. So, I’ve spent decades praying to God and meditating on his Word.
“I will meditate on all Your work And muse on Your deeds.” Psalm 77:12
To me, that means focusing on certain Scriptures, reading them out loud, concentrating on how they applied to my life, and listening. I learned how to be silent while listening for God’s wisdom.
Taking time to meditate on God’s word
When God speaks to my heart, there’s something inside that gets stirred up. I recognize His voice, and I feel peace when I hear it. It’s like tapping into a frequency that’s unreachable with the physical senses. So does that work? For me, yes!
Well, then what is Christian meditation?
Great question! I had no idea there was such a thing until I heard about the Abide app. I had never listened to any type of guided meditations, Christian or otherwise. My prayer time had always been filled with the sound of my own voice. But when your head has thoughts of worry darting around aimlessly, it might need a little outside assistance.
The first time I listened to an Abide prayer, it was almost like someone held up a stop sign, bringing all my thoughts to a screeching halt.
Christian meditation is based on Biblical teachings, and when your foundation is one of faith, it provides nourishment to the seed that has already been planted within your spirit. In my view, God created meditation for His children. Scripture says that God is a Spirit, and that we are made in His image and likeness.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
So, if we are also spirits, then Christian meditation targets who we are according to our Creator.
Which type of meditation works best?
In part two of this blog series, I will review both Christian and Mindfulness meditations on the topics of anxiety/stress, impatience, and insomnia. I invite you to join me in this experiment by listening to the meditations in these video links.
- Christian meditation – Reducing Anxiety
- Mindfulness – Let Go Of Stress
- Christian meditation- Wait for the Lord
- Mindfulness- Daily Calm: Patience
- Christian meditation- Sleep & Insomnia
- Mindfulness – Get a Good Night’s Rest
Then, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear how your results compare to mine.
Leslie writes about being in love with the Lord, and she loves sharing the wisdom He gives her about daily living. In her spare time she’s a wife, mother of six, and grandmother of three. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at @listen2leslie. Subscribe to her blog at listen2leslie.com.
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QUESTION: How does Christian meditation compare with other forms of meditation?
Inasmuch as there are various forms of meditation in today’s world, it is important to determine how Christian meditation compares with other forms of meditation. Christian meditation is similar to other forms of meditation in that it involves a deliberate action on the part of the individual, in time that he or she has set aside purposefully to ponder or think. Sometimes, for the Christian, meditation may arise naturally as an adjunct to prayer time. It may be dictated by the circumstances of his life at a particularly trying time. This is true of the traditional meditator who often seeks to meditate as a way to free himself from stress and turmoil.
There are two major differences, however, between traditional forms of meditation and Christian meditation.
In traditional forms of meditation, the individual seeks to empty one’s self; in Christian meditation the believer seeks, rather, to be filled.
During the practice of meditation, the non-christian strives to clear his or her consciousness of all thoughts, concentrating intensely until in a prescribed period of time a bare minimum of thoughts has been allowed or entertained in the consciousness. Often, a tool called a mantra is used which may be a word or a series of sounds that a person repeats continually until they are completely empty. This is supposed to achieve the ultimate relaxation and cessation of stress. When the meditator wants to obtain peace in the midst of a tumultuous situation he or she can just call to mind or repeat the mantra and the desired result is obtained.
In Christian meditation, the believer seeks to fill his or her thoughts with truths about God. Christians can achieve this by focusing on the Word of God, as the psalmist said: “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalms 1:2). Rather than emptying himself, the Christian fills his mind with hope and encouragement from the promises that God has given in His Word or on good things that God has done for him. Or he may simply just think on the wonder and awe of God. In so doing, the believer is assured of peace.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things (Philippians 4:8).
In seeking to reach one’s higher self, the traditional meditator may achieve his goal, but has really achieved a state which has no real value. At the pinnacle of his self every individual is but base and low, since all are sinners. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Therefore there is no perfection to be obtained from within. Paul rightly said in his epistle to the Romans, “I know that nothing good lives in me…” (Romans 7:18).
Jesus Christ alone is our source of righteousness and, therefore, peace. Seeking to reach one’s higher self is to reach for nothing; it may achieve a state of thoughtlessness and cessation from stress, but the individual will still remain empty and unfulfilled. The only path to peace and fulfillment is through God. If an individual, with purpose and intent, will meditate on God, he will achieve the highest of heights, including joy and peace. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).
We have all sinned and deserve God’s judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, “Jesus is Lord,” you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.
The practice of meditation is encouraged in the Old Testament. In the book of Psalms, the writers frequently refer to their meditation on God and His Word (see Psalms 1:2; 4:4; 27:4; 63:6, 77:6,12; 119:15, 23, 27, 48, 78, 148; 143:5). God uses this word in His exhortation to Israel just before they enter to the promised land. The Israelites are to remember that “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success” (Joshua 1:8).
The Biblical practice of meditation differs significantly from other forms of meditation. In most other types of meditation, the goal is to empty one’s mind of all thoughts. In Biblical meditation, the goal is to think deeply about God: His character, deeds and teachings. This always begins with Scripture. Psalm 1 expresses this idea clearly:
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers” (Psalm 1:1-3)
The word translated “law” in verse 2 is “Torah”, used to name the first five books of the Bible. The content of meditation is not just commandments, but all the gracious promises, saving acts, and self-revelation of God recorded in those early books.
Meditation is encouraged for everyone
Meditation is encouraged for everyone. In Deuteronomy 17:18-20, Israel is given the model for godly kingship. An important part the godly king’s activity would be contemplation of Scripture. Although not specifically called mediation, the lifelong habit of reading and carefully observing God’s words in a heart-changing way is the same concept.
Meditation in the New Testament
In the New Testament, we don’t find the word “meditation”, but we do find the concept in many places. Jesus, the ultimate fulfillment of the godly King, constantly meditated on Scripture. The young Jesus stayed behind when his parents journeyed toward home so that He could interact with the teachers in the temple (Luke 2:41-51). When Satan tried to tempt Jesus in the desert, Jesus answered him that “man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God”, a quotation from Deuteronomy 8:3. Whether refuting the scribes or opening the eyes of his disciples on the Emmaus Road, Jesus constantly demonstrated the fruit of his knowledge of and meditation on Scripture.
The apostle Paul encourages us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2); to dwell on whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent or worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8); to set our minds “on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2), to “take pains with these things; be absorbed in them” (1 Timothy 4:15).
An interaction with God
We are not given a formula for how to meditate. The Hebrew word that is translated as “meditate”, comes from a root that carries the idea to moan, growl, utter, speak, or muse. The concept points to a deep engagement with Scripture in which one may even express thoughts or feelings with words or sounds. Meditation is an interaction with God over his words to us, and could involve reading, prayer, confession, worshiping, crying out in joy or anguish, or in repentance. It is intended to result in our character – and ultimately our actions – being transformed in a way that’s pleasing to God.
Some suggestions of ways to meditate
- Read through a portion of the Bible prayerfully, thanking God aloud for the truth of his words, confessing when falling short of his standards, worshiping aloud at the wonder of his revealed goodness and majesty.
- Think deeply about a portion of scripture, asking God for his help in understanding what you need to learn from it, and how it could speak into your life.
- After a period of personal failure or distress, one might do as the Psalmists did and think deeply about the character and promises of God, and whether these help put present problems into perspective.
Meditation is to engage our whole person – mind, emotions, and will. How one meditates will vary between individuals. Like most of life, we get better as we practice. We have God’s promise that He is always ready to meet us as we turn to Him (Jeremiah 29:13).
Biblword is a ministry of GlobalRize. Marten Visser is the founding director of GlobalRize. Marten is a pastor from The Netherlands with long years of experience as a missionary in Thailand. We now have around 200 people from all over the world involved in GlobalRize’s ministry. Besides the English page, Biblword also exists in 13 other languages on Facebook.
By Clare Bruce Tuesday 29 Mar 2016 Hope Mornings
For a lot of modern-day Christians, the word “meditation” carries connotations of crystals, chakras, and the cross-legged “lotus position” of Buddhist monks. They’re associations that have come about with the rise of Eastern religions and the flower-power movement.
As a result, many Christians shun the practice. But in centuries gone by, meditation – on God and His word – was a common practice in Christendom. Great Christian writers, like Francis of Assisi and Brother Lawrence, were famous for it. And preachers like Charles Spurgeon recommended it for all believers. So if you’ve moved past the modern-day stigma and want to give God-centred, Biblical meditation a go, here’s a few tips from some contemporary Christian writers.
Tip 1: There Are No Rules
Leah Bulfin, blogger at Godcentredmeditation.com, says that when it comes to meditation there are no formulas, and that it’s simply about being still with God.
“There’s absolutely no power in the method or how you meditate,” she told Hope 103.2 in an interview with Emma Mullings. “There’s no power in whether you sit a certain way or hold your hands a certain way. The power is really just in the act of coming to meet with God and spend time with Him.”
Tip 2: One Simple Goal
It’s best to keep the aim of meditation simple. The Catholic writer Thomas Merton put it this way: “Contemplative prayer has to be always very simple, confined to the simplest of acts.”
Rather than having lofty goals such as changing your character overnight, or trying to gain prophetic insights about the future, Leah says it’s best to simply focus on God and His presence.
“It’s really just about getting out of the ‘head-space’, taking time to stop all the thoughts about the stuff that’s going on and the things I have to do, and becoming still and getting into that ‘spirit-space’ where God lives,” she said.
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Tip 3: Meditation Is For Everyone
When Leah Bulfin began daily meditation, she began to notice dramatic changes in her life. It’s encouraging to know that Leah was (and still is) a busy mum raising three children and running a business—indicating that meditation isn’t just for monks on mountain tops.
It’s for everyone.
Christian columnist Phil Fox Rose, of Patheos.com, practices “Centreing Prayer” and writes, “I have no reservations saying everyone should meditate.”
Tip 4: Find A Quiet Place
Although meditation can be done anywhere, Leah Bulfin recommends finding a quiet spot free of distractions—even a car or a wardrobe, War Room style, can work.
“I have a room set aside in my house that I spend time in every morning just meditating and waiting on God,” she says.
Tip 5: Set Aside Enough Time
To get the most out of meditation, it’s best to give it enough time for your mind to really settle.
“I meditate for 40 minutes to an hour,” Leah said. “but if you’re just beginning, it’s good to start with about 20 minutes at least. It takes about that long to really settle your mind and get to that place of stillness and connect with God.”
Phil Fox Rose agrees. “Something often happens to the stillness around 10 to 15 minutes in,” he writes. “If you stop too soon you will miss it.”
It also helps to try and make it a daily habit. Leah Bulfin aims to not skip a day – and she’s a busy mum. “Even when I’m on holiday I make sure I make some time for it,” she said.
Tip 6: Set A Timer
It can be helpful to set an alarm (a gentle one) for the end of your meditation, so that you don’t have to constantly check the time on your phone or watch. “When the ending bell sounds, take a minute or two to gradually return to ordinary awareness,” writes Phil Fox Rose. “Don’t hop right up. Many practitioners say a closing prayer.”
Tip 7: Get Comfy – But Not Too Comfy!
Meditating while curled up in bed under a doona late at night, is very likely to end in sleep and is probably not the best place for meditation.
At the same time, it helps to get comfortable – “so there is no need to adjust while sitting”, writes Phil Fox Rose.
Some recommend a simple chair, others meditate while walking in nature, while still others – such as Leah Bulfin – are content with the wardrobe floor.
For mega-church pastor and writer Rick Warren, being relaxed is crucial for waiting on God. “When your body relaxes, it relaxes your mind,” he writes. “Then you’re more open and able to hear God better.”
Tip 8: Let Your Thoughts Pass
The aim of Christian meditation is not to empty the mind of thoughts, as in Eastern meditation, but rather to simply let those thoughts pass by and return your attention to God.
“When you realize you’re engaged with a thought, you let it go,” writes Phil Fox Rose. Return gently to the stillness… let them float by without giving them attention, and, before you know it, they’re gone. Resist no thought; retain no thought; react to no thought.”
Tip 9: A Simple Word Can Help You Focus On God
Having a short word to say quietly while meditating, can help you keep your attention on God.
Phil Fox Rose suggests trying words like Amen, Abba, Father, Grace, Love, Peace, Let go, Be Still, or Jesus. But he adds, “don’t get hung up on it”. “This is not a sacred mantra that is supposed to have meaning in itself,” he writes.
Others may prefer to focus on a mental image of heaven or Jesus. Even focussing on the sound of your breathing can do the trick.
Tip 10: Have Patience, Don’t Give Up
If you’re a restless person who tends to get bored or distracted during prayer, don’t let that stop you from giving God-centred meditation a go.
“When you encounter God in this deep way, it’s like falling in love with Him, and 30 or 40 minutes passes so quickly,” Leah Bulfin says.
Rick Warren reminds his readers to “wait patiently” as suggested in the Psalms (37:7), and Charles Spurgeon wrote in 1864 that meditation gets better the more you do it.
“We can meditate better after we have addicted ourselves to a meditative frame. When we have mused a little, then the fire begins to burn; and you will perceive that as the fire burns, meditation gets easier, and then the heart gets warm.”
(The Complete Works of C. H. Spurgeon, Volume 10: Sermon 576, Quiet Musing.)
Tuesday, 17 March 2020
How I do Christian meditation
This is not a cook-book method; indeed I agree with William Arkle that the essence of our mortal situation is that God wants us to work out as much as possible for ourselves. That’s the best way to learn. But help is always available for anybody, when necessary.
A commenter asked me for references I could recommend on Christian meditation. I know of none. What I do know, I worked out for myself, collating bits and pieces from many sources. It may not be helpful for other people.
My usual pattern is as follows:
1. Self-remembering. I come to my senses, wake-up and realise that this is Me, Here, Now.
2. I instantly move this into a recognition that the whole world around me is alive and conscious and purposive – and by ‘whole world’ I mean not only animals, but also plants and minerals. This is a return to Original Participation, to the animism of young children and hunter-gatherers.
3. Then – again as soon as the above state has impinged – I consider Jesus Christ; that he is everywhere and right here with me, now (in the spirit form known as the Holy Ghost). I experience Jesus as a present person.
(. As a present person and Not as an abstraction, force, vibration or the like. And as a separate person from my-self in a loving relationship – Not as a light or ocean into which I aspire to diffuse or melt. The experience is of two-ness, Not one-ness.)
Now, that is as far as I can usually take my Christian meditation – it is a passive state of realisation; a wakening up to how things actually are. It can happen several or many times a day – if I am in a good frame of mind; but never when my frame of mind is wrong: busy, selfish, sinful – including fearful or despairing.
But it is Very Brief, happening in a matter of seconds.
I regard it as an error for Christians to expect or to aim-at sustained states of meditation. God wants us to learn from the (many) experiences of our mortal lives – he arranges our lives to make this possible; and to remain for long periods rapt in a chronic meditative trance is clearly not what God wants from us. That is why sustained trance-like meditation is not spontaneous, and so difficult.
(At least, God does not want this, as a generalisation – there will no doubt be exceptions for specific people in specific circumstances; since each life is bespoke-tailored for our unique personal needs.)
Sometimes I find it possible to go beyond the above brief and contemplative meditation into a broader or more active state. Broader when – instead of Jesus as the Holy Ghost – I become aware of God – my Heavenly Parents – Father or Mother.
. Or become aware of one of the so-called-‘dead’ such as a beloved relative; or even someone I never knew but whom I genuinely love from their works (like JRR Tolkien, Owen Barfield, William Arkle). Or aware of the personified the spirit of a place or people.
In a nutshell, become aware of another specific Being.
The key is ‘motivation’: the state of love. When I am in a state of love and remain conscious and purposive and make the necessary decision – then it is not just possible but it happens naturally to go beyond passive contemplation and actively to participate in the ongoing work of Creation.
This is the state of Final Participation. This may briefly happen during acts of earthly creation when that creation is motivated by love (including love of truth or beauty) – during writing, perhaps. It may happen in a conversation, or being-with another person. It can be described sometimes as inspiration, sometimes as an intuition.
And it comes as a direct-knowing; my mind, my thinking, comes into-line with divine creation (for a moment); so that my thinking is also the thinking of creation: my thinking is objectively real and permanent.
I can personally add a little to the harmony of ongoing creation.
Such are my Christian meditations. They are fairly frequent, but happen only when properly-motivated, consciously-chosen; and only briefly.
But – as you may imagine – they are of primary importance to this, my mortal life.
Note added: In principle, and given that Christians are now ‘on their own’ (for good or evil – but in an ultimate sense it is for uour own good), some kind of meditation becomes a necessity. As institutions, rituals and symbols lose their effect, are corrupted or withdrawn; what is needed is direct and personal experience of ‘the divine’ – and for Christians the most relevant divine is, of course, Jesus Christ. What about prayer? Necessary – but on its own, insufficient.
Christian meditation comes with a plethora of benefits. By creating and accepting the circumstances that allow you to be intimate and alone with God, you can find profound strength and peace.
Christian Meditation And Jesus Christ
It can often take work and patience to become proficient at meditation, given the fact that it puts us into a state that many initially some may find uncomfortable, especially if you’re used being busy all the time. This practice is about pure serenity. However, with patience, affirmations, and unshakable faith, meditation is possible.
As a beginner to this extraordinary opportunity to deepen the roots of your relationship with Christ, there are just a few simple things you should keep in mind. In keeping these things in mind, you will be able to clear away the spiritual and emotional debris that is getting in the way of your relationship with the Lord. By producing a state of pure calm, you will submit yourself fully to Him. In doing so, you will receive the gifts of His boundless love.
Ready to get started?
Five Steps For Christian Meditation For Beginners
Remember: Simply desiring to take the first step is a powerful indicator of your conviction. In other words, if you can do that, then you are ready to embrace these 5 steps to start Christian meditation for beginners:
1. Begin at 10 minutes: You only need 10 minutes to achieve the full potential of what we are talking about. As the day goes on, it can be difficult to integrate even this period of time into your schedule. Therefore, try your Christ-based mediation in the morning, before things have a chance to get moving. Starting your day off in this fashion can also provide you with a foundation of strength and faith to carry you through the day.
2. Always have intentions: Why do you want to meditate? Of course, it is strengthening your relationship with God, but why do you want to do this in the first place? Don’t be afraid to write your answer down on a piece of paper, and put it somewhere in which you intend to practice your daily Christian meditation. Knowing your intention is a good way to maintain profound, essential focus.
3. Don’t get stressed: You are not going to nail down the steps of meditation on the first try. You won’t. That’s okay. No one does. No one ever will. The journey is just as important as the destination, at the end of the day. To that end, remember that these things take time, and find joy in the fact that you are not going to get everything you think you want on the first try.
4. Maintain realistic expectations: Clearing your thoughts will sometimes mean facing things you generally don’t think about, or even generally don’t want to think about. This can be stressful. At the same time, it is going to happen, particularly during the early stages. Believe it or not, by offsetting the stress your thoughts might cause you is not nearly as difficult as you might make it out to be. At the end of the day, maintaining realistic expectations of the thoughts you may have during Christian meditation is a good way to eliminate stress before it actually becomes prevalent. Some days day you may have more thoughts than others. That’s okay.
5. Consistency is key: When it comes to any form of spiritual practice, one of the most crucial things experienced meditators will tell you about concerns consistency. In other words, meditation that is only done half-heartedly is not going to be meditation that pays off to any degree. Working at this can be challenging, but it is work that you can enjoy by trusting that God will get you to where you want to be. As you remain consistent in your meditation schedule, it will become easier and easier to see this.
Powerful Christian Meditation
All of the above should serve to give a good launching point for everything you wish to achieve with meditation through your Christian faith. It is important to remember that great things often have simple beginnings. To that end, make it a point to work with the simpler affirmations and techniques.
Understand that you are going to have to perhaps try different things. The path from where you are now, to where you would eventually like to be in your relationship with Christ, is indeed there. It is indeed waiting for you. However, for some people, it can take a little time and faith to discover where the path begins and how to stay on it.
Occasionally, the path you are on may become confusing. You may need to embrace or consider new ideas, keeping Christ at the center of everything you think and do. However, this is not something you need to worry about. Simply begin using the steps mentioned above. Trust that if obstacles do indeed fall into your path, He will work with you to eliminate those things that keep you from being able to move forward.
We love you and we’re praying for you. God bless you. We’d love to hear about you got started with Christian meditation.
Meditation has risen in popularity in the U.S. by threefold since 2012. The custom has been around for thousands of years and is observed in nearly every religion but not many people know which forms of meditation actually come from the Bible.
The Christian Post decided to take a closer look at the practice of Christian meditation and some of the latest apps for it, including Soultime and Abide. CP spoke with some of the apps’ creators as well as pastors who revealed how important it is for Christ followers to understand meditation while exposing some of the rituals that have nothing to do with Christianity.
Meditation practices can be found in Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Some people practice meditation independent of any religion but are likewise looking for a sense of peace and insightfulness offered through the religious practices.
Workplaces throughout the United States are providing meditative breaks for their employees to help them “de-stress” and more schools are incorporating it into their schedules for young students. Psychotherapeutic techniques provided by physicians also sometimes include meditation to help those suffering from mental illnesses.
There are several varieties of meditation. Here are the six majors ones:
Spiritual Meditation can be linked to Christianity because it involves prayer and reflection as one seeks a deeper connection with God
Mindfulness Meditation originates from Buddhist teachings and instructs participants to pay attention to their thoughts without judgment or engaging them
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Focused Meditation involves one using any of their five senses to focus their attention on something internal.
Mantra Meditation is linked to Hindu and Buddhist traditions and involves using repetitive sounds, such as the popular “om” in hopes to clear the participant’s mind.
Transcendental Meditation is labeled one of the most popular forms of meditation. It was founded by an Indian guru and is reportedly the most studied type of meditation by scientists. Similar to mantra meditation but more specific, it’s based on different factors that can include someone’s birth year or gender.
Movement Meditation is linked to yoga. This practice can include walking, gardening, or other forms of lite motion in which the movement guides.
The following section will explore what Christian meditation is, what it’s not and some tools that were created to assist Christians in meditation.
29 SEP 2017
Unlike the forms of meditation practiced in most Eastern religions, which seek to empty the mind or eliminate desire, Christian meditation seeks to fill and shape the mind with God’s words and stoke a passionate desire for God. While there are various Christian meditation practices, such as lectio divina or Bible memorization, most center on a few central principles such as repetition, focus on a specific verse or passage of Scripture, and cultivating a settled attention to and dependence on God.
Ask God to help you choose a Bible passage to serve as a focus for your meditation. If a passage comes to mind, start there; otherwise simply begin reading where you last left off.
Watch for a verse, phrase or passage that catches your attention as you read. In some cases one will stand out almost immediately, in other cases you may read for some time before a part of the text catches your notice.
Reflect on the text that stood out to you with an attitude of attentive thankfulness, asking God to use it to teach you and strengthen your dependence on Jesus. Look for truth about the character and actions of God that you can thank him for, commands to apply and promises to depend on. In narrative passages, find a person to emulate or a mistake from which you can learn.
Set your intention to act on what you have learned and ask for God’s help according to promises found in the Bible in places such as 1 Corinthians 10:13 and John 15:10.
Keep your meditation passage and insights in mind throughout the day and allow the situations and people you encounter to help you see and apply those insights in new ways.
HOW TO MEDITATE: Connect With God In 5 Steps
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” – Joshua 1:8 (NKJV)
M editation has become very popular in today’s world. We mights hear about concepts such as “mindfulness” or “how to be still, to breathe and to rest,” and “to be present and aware wherever you are.” But many of these traditions have come from other religions, belief systems and cultures.
As Christians , what we don’t know is that the Bible has taught us to meditate on God’s word from its beginnings. Not only does the Bible teach meditation, but to meditate is also God’s command.
One of the keys to success in Jesus Christ is learning how to meditate on God’s Word.
DISCONNECTED FROM GOD?
Our key scripture comes from God Himself, speaking to us, His servants, in Joshua 1:8. Today, however, we have great challenges and distractions which interrupt our connection with God:
- The smartphone.
- The television.
- The radio.
- Social media.
We’re now meditating on these things day and night, instead of meditating on God’s word. What are we going to do?
CHRISTIAN BIBLICAL MEDITATION IN 5 STEPS
God tells us in Joshua that the way to success and to prosperity in Him is through meditating on His word day and night. We are to take His Scripture within us, to speak it, and to consume it by putting God’s words in our mouths.
Start by preparing yourself; become prayerfully still before God in praise and worship. Silence or turn off your electronic devices , and begin your biblical Scripture meditation with a prayer such as this:
“My Heavenly Father, by the power of your Holy Spirit, please reveal to my mind and to my heart wonderful things about You and Your relationship with me, through Your written words of Scripture! In the mighty name of Jesus, my Lord, I pray. So be it! Amen.”
- Read the Scripture – with your eyes and ears. Meditation comes from the Hebrew word, “Hagah”: to moan, growl, utter, speak, or muse ; to make vocal sounds. In Joshua 1:8, God says that His word must stay on our lips; therefore, the first step in meditating on scripture is saying God’s word aloud to yourself. Let’s start with a simple, familiar scripture, Psalm 23:1 – “The Lordismy shepherd; I shall not want.” Say the Scripture aloud to yourself, several times. Listen to God’s words. Think about what the words of Scripture are meaning and saying. What is one word or phrase that the Holy Spirit is drawing your attention toward? Take note.
- Reflect – Meditate, ponder, think about, and ‘chew on’ the words of God. Say that word or phrase to yourself several times, in God’s presence. Listen to God’s words. Meditate, think about, ponder, and chew on God’s words until you taste the sweetness and goodness of the Lord for you. QUESTION: What do you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, through God’s written words, and His Son Jesus, the Divine Word of God, saying to you through this Scripture passage? Take note; write down what you hear: for example, “don’t fear, don’t worry, I love you, obey me,” etc.
- Respond – Talk to the Lord (pray, praise and worship Him). What do you want to say back to the Lord, in response to what He has said to you, through His words? Now, speak to the Lord what is in your heart, this is prayer guided by God’s Words in this Scripture. For example: “I love you Lord for being with me always and for being my Good Shepherd.” Thank and praise the Lord. Begin to worship the Lord based on what the Lord is revealing to you, and saying to you.
- Receive from the Lord, Rest in Him, Rejoice in Him. Let the Lord bless you through His Word and Holy Spirit. Let go and let God! Allow God to bless you. Again, receive from Him, rest and rejoice in Him! Receive His love, His forgiveness, His righteousness, His holiness , and transforming power! Receive Him inside you, upon you, at work in you! Receive Him in all His glory!
- React in obedience, act and do what He has revealed or done in you. What do you want to do now for God, in love, for what God has revealed, spoken or done for you during this time meditating and praying His Word? Ask the Lord to help you by the power of our Holy Helper, God’s Holy Spirit.
Remember to concentrate on God’s word again and again, thr oughout your day. Read. Reflect. Respond. Receive. React. Bring God’s word back to your mind wherever you are and in whatever you are doing. Continue to receive from our wonderful God: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!
Romans 10:17 say s that “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” God wants you to speak His word to your own ears, and as you do, your faith arises… “He will restore my soul”; “He is my provider” … Learn to say what God says : in your mind, in your life, and in your world. And as you confess His word, it embeds in your heart.
When you confess aloud with your mouth and believe that Jesus is your Lord and that you will be saved; when you believe that God is your Shepherd, it awakens your mind: and no matter what the devil says to you, you are saved through faith in Jesus Christ!
SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Joshua 1:8, Psalm 23:1-6, Romans 10:17, Romans 12:2; Philippians 4:19.
Dr. Oscar Owens, Jr., has a passion for helping others deepen their connection to the Bible and to the Lord. He currently serves as West Angeles’ Minister of Christian Education, as well as President of the West Angeles Bible College, where he teaches Christian Spiritual Formation. He holds a Doctorate of Ministry in Christian Spiritual Formation at Azuza Pacific University’s Seminary in Los Angeles, where he also teaches Urban Spirituality. He’s been married to the powerful singer and Tony-nominated playwright Lita Gaithers Owens for 31 years. Read more about Elder Oscar Owens HERE.
Overstressed Americans are increasingly turning to various forms of Eastern meditation, particularly yoga, in search of relaxation and spirituality. Underlying these meditative practices, however, is a worldview in conflict with biblical spirituality—though many Christians are (unwisely) practicing yoga.
Many Eastern religions teach that the source of salvation is found within, and that the fundamental human problem is not sin against a holy God but ignorance of our true condition. These worldviews advocate meditation and “higher forms of consciousness” as a way to discover a secret inner divinity.
Yoga, deeply rooted in Hinduism, essentially means to be “yoked” with the divine. Yogic postures, breathing, and chanting were originally designed not to bring better physical health and well-being (Western marketing to the contrary), but a sense of oneness with Brahman—the Hindu word for the absolute being that pervades all things. This is pantheism (all is divine), not Christianity.
Transcendental Meditation is a veiled form of Hindu yoga, though it claims to be a religiously neutral method of relaxation and rejuvenation. Initiates to TM receive a mantra (Hindu holy word) to repeat while sitting in yogic postures and engaging in yogic breathing. The goal is to find God within their own beings, since God (Brahman) and the self (Atman) are really one.
Differences in various forms of Eastern meditation aside, they all aim at a supposedly “higher” or “altered” state of consciousness. Meditation guides claim that normal consciousness obscures sacred realities. Therefore, meditation is practiced in order to suspend rational patterns of thought.
This helps explain why so many Eastern mystics claim that divine realities are utterly .
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Christian Meditations – What Does Prayer Have to Do With Christian Meditation?
How do Prayer and Meditation Relate to Each Other?
Christian meditation is time devoted to being in the presence of God and consuming God’s Word.
There are many forms of meditation and prayer is one of them.
In general, meditation on God’s Word primarily involves hearing from God and prayer is primarily about speaking to God.
Prayer is often defined as spiritual communion with God.
“Prayer is the most important tool for your mission in the world. People may refuse our love and message, but they are defenseless against our prayers.”
— Dr. Rick Warren
God’s desire is to have close fellowship with us, His children. And like all relationships that involves a commitment of time and two-way communication.
In His Presence Through Christian Prayer and Meditation
From the earliest of days, prayer has been an essential part of meditation for Christians. Those who practice a deep, contemplative form of prayer often speak of it as a sense of “being one with the Lord” or being consumed in God’s love. But they don’t necessarily think of it in terms of meditation.
We see in the scripture that the psalmist used meditation as an approach to God and prayed that the meditation of his heart be sweet (104:34) and acceptable to God (19:14). His meditation also led him to a deeper and greater understanding of God’s Word (Psalm 49:3).
Christians sometimes think of meditation as quiet prayer, a prayer without petition, since the Lord already knows our needs. (Matthew 6:8) This might involve prayer that includes biblical confession of God’s Word. Praying God’s Word is praying His will.
Spiritual Discipline of Christian Prayer and Meditation Taps Into the Supernatural of God
The practice of praying God’s Word is at the same time meditating His Word. The spiritual and physical discipline needed for regular prayer and meditation will soon become almost effortless with daily practice.
Eventually we notice a life of living deliberately in the presence of God always; throughout the waking day.
“What blessed excitements those have who are much alone with Christ!… Such a man never has a cold heart or a slack hand who is much in meditation with his Lord Jesus.”
— Charles H. Spurgeon
As we tap into the realm of the supernatural God provides , through prayer and meditation , we live a victorious life because we are connected to the life force and power of God .
Do yourself a favor: Be the success God created you to be. How? By daily staying consumed and tapped into His presence, power, and love through prayer and meditation in the Word of God!
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We live in a very stressed-out culture that is constantly looking for ways to unwind and destress. Just about any doctor or health expert will tell you to do one thing: meditate.
By meditate they mean an Eastern form of meditation: Zen meditation, transcendental meditation, yoga, Chinese or Hindu meditation, guided meditation, all of which have their origins in new age and Eastern religions.
The meditation God was talking about in Joshua 1:8 differs greatly from Eastern meditation. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that participating in any form of meditation, apart from biblical meditation, is opening the door wide to the enemy.
I shared a little about this in my earlier post, Will God Protect You From Adult Coloring Books , in which we looked at the adult coloring books with Mandalas and why this is a dangerous practice for Christians.
Any time we mix Christian discipline with any other religious practice, we anger God.
In the Old Testament God said this:
When the Lord your God shall cut off the nations from before you, where you go to possess them, and you dispossess them, and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself so that you are not ensnared by following them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you not inquire after their gods, saying, “How did these nations serve their gods? Even so I will do likewise.” You shall not do so to the Lord your God, for every abomination to the Lord, which He hates, they have done to their gods. They have even burned their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, be careful to do it. You shall not add to it or take away from it ( Deut. 12:29-32).
Throughout the Bible He calls Himself jealous.
He has commanded us to keep our worship pure and undefiled by the worship of other gods. You may argue, “But I’m not using these other forms of meditation for worship.” However, as Christians whatever we do in our life should be to glorify God, and if anything we’re doing does not glorify God—but, in fact, is used to glorify another god—we should immediately reject it and eliminate it from our lives!
This includes yoga, which many Christians engage in as a stress-relieving form of exercise. When you examine its origins and meaning, you can easily see why yoga has no place in the life of the believer.
However, like any other Christian discipline, biblical meditation should be part of our daily practice: speaking the Word, muttering it to ourselves, mulling over it, and imagining how our lives should fit in its context.
This takes the Word to a much deeper level than reading , studying , praying and even memorizing, as we contemplate deeply what each passage actually means for us personally and speaking it over and over to ourselves.
How does Eastern meditation differ from biblical meditation?
1. Eastern meditation empties the mind. Biblical meditation fills the mind and spirit with God’s Word. Emptying our mind is actually a very dangerous thing because it gives the enemy room to fill it with his deception. However the Hebrew word for meditation actually means to speak or mutter, a practice that actually does the opposite of Eastern meditation. It fills our mind with God’s Word and builds our spirit.
2. Eastern meditation focuses on self: centering yourself, your inner self, self actualization, your breathing, physical feelings and emotions. The enemy will do anything to get us to stop focusing on Christ. Furthermore, his ultimate deception is pride or elevation of self. Biblical meditation takes our focus off of ourselves and places our focus on Jesus Christ.
3. Eastern meditation seeks to relieve stress. The problem with our culture isn’t stress. Stress is only a symptom of a deeper problem: pride. Worry, fear, perfectionism . these all have their root in pride and all result in stress. But God wants us to daily walk in faith that brings us peace no matter our circumstance. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
Christians absolutely shouldn’t turn to anything other than Jesus Christ for the peace that will help to ease whatever it is that has brought stress on in their lives!
4. Eastern meditation focuses on man being in control. Eastern meditation practices rely on self as the agent to bring peace, tranquility and oneness with deity—the original lie: “You can become like God.” Biblical meditation reminds us God is almighty and when He is in control we can be at complete peace knowing that His purposes will prevail. Eastern meditation dethrones God and puts fallen man in His place.
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Generally, the purpose of breathing meditation is to calm the mind and develop inner peace. We can use breathing meditations alone or as a preliminary practice to reduce our distractions before engaging in a Lamrim meditation
A Simple Breathing Meditation
The first stage of meditation is to stop distractions and make our mind clearer and more lucid. This can be accomplished by practising a simple breathing meditation. We choose a quiet place to meditate and sit in a comfortable position. We can sit in the traditional cross-legged posture or in any other position that is comfortable. If we wish, we can sit in a chair. The most important thing is to keep our back straight to prevent our mind from becoming sluggish or sleepy.
The first stage of meditation is to stop distractions and make our mind clearer and more lucid.
We sit with our eyes partially closed and turn our attention to our breathing. We breathe naturally, preferably through the nostrils, without attempting to control our breath, and we try to become aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. This sensation is our object of meditation. We should try to concentrate on it to the exclusion of everything else.
At first, our mind will be very busy, and we might even feel that the meditation is making our mind busier; but in reality we are just becoming more aware of how busy our mind actually is. There will be a great temptation to follow the different thoughts as they arise, but we should resist this and remain focused single-pointedly on the sensation of the breath. If we discover that our mind has wandered and is following our thoughts, we should immediately return it to the breath. We should repeat this as many times as necessary until the mind settles on the breath.
Benefits of Meditation
If we practise patiently in this way, gradually our distracting thoughts will subside and we will experience a sense of inner peace and relaxation. Our mind will feel lucid and spacious and we will feel refreshed. When the sea is rough, sediment is churned up and the water becomes murky, but when the wind dies down the mud gradually settles and the water becomes clear. In a similar way, when the otherwise incessant flow of our distracting thoughts is calmed through concentrating on the breath, our mind becomes unusually lucid and clear. We should stay with this state of mental calm for a while.
Even though breathing meditation is only a preliminary stage of meditation, it can be quite powerful. We can see from this practice that it is possible to experience inner peace and contentment just by controlling the mind, without having to depend at all upon external conditions.
So much of the stress and tension we normally experience comes from our mind
When the turbulence of distracting thoughts subsides and our mind becomes still, a deep happiness and contentment naturally arises from within. This feeling of contentment and well-being helps us to cope with the busyness and difficulties of daily life. So much of the stress and tension we normally experience comes from our mind, and many of the problems we experience, including ill health, are caused or aggravated by this stress.
Just by doing breathing meditation for ten or fifteen minutes each day, we will be able to reduce this stress. We will experience a calm, spacious feeling in the mind, and many of our usual problems will fall away. Difficult situations will become easier to deal with, we will naturally feel warm and well disposed towards other people, and our relationships with others will gradually improve.
For more information on breathing meditation
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