And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?Deuteronomy 10:12-15
What is Meditation?
We know perhaps what prayer is but what is meditation? Sadly, today when we think of meditation our thoughts are turned to what comes from Eastern meditation. There is a difference so let’s find a definition. Let’s go to a great theologian, J.I. Packer, for that…
…meditation is a lost art today and Christian people suffer grievously from their ignorance of the practice. Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God; as a means of communion with God.
Its purpose is to clear one’s mental and spiritual vision of God, and to let His truth make its full and proper impact on one’s mind and heart.. . . . as we enter more and more deeply into this experience of being humbled and exalted, our knowledge of God increases, and with it our peace, our strength, and our joy.From Knowing God by J.I Packer
What Christian Meditation is NOT
Eastern meditation is an emptying of the mind. But scriptures tell us that when we empty our minds, we are allowing space for the ENEMY to come in. On the other hand, in Christian mediation, we are instructed to “fill our minds” with the things of God.
Eastern Meditation focuses on the self. As Christians, our focus should always be on Christ. This is a big red flag for me. Find more reasons and explanations, just click here.Eastern meditation attempts to empty the mind; Christian meditations attempts to fill the mind – Richard Foster #meditation #prayer Click To Tweet
More of a listening than an emptying
The majority of the time spent in prayer (if not all of it) is, I fear, just giving our wish list to God. Even when it’s a request for someone else. It is all about what we want or need.
Prayer should include more than this. And in my opinion, the requests should be the least important part of prayer. Communication is a two-way street. None of us like to be around someone who monopolizes the conversation, where no one else gets a word in edgewise. I wonder…When you talk with God, does He get a word in edgewise? #prayer #meditation Click To Tweet
Our children have it figured out. When they want something, typically the first thing they do is give us a little praise and love. [“I love you, mom.”] Come on, you have done it yourself or have experienced it from your children. Right?
So how does a Christian Meditate?
In His book, Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster says that Christian meditation is a process to help us slow ourselves down and get rid of all the busyness of life. The Bible’s definition includes two Hebrew words culminating into several meanings:
- listening to God’s word
- reflecting on God’s works
- rehearsing God’s deeds
- ruminating on God’s law
Listening and Hearing
In each case. We are called to change. Yes, we are called to change our behavior because we have been standing before the Living God.
Some may say they never hear from God, but are they listening? Do they recognize His voice, if He did speak?
Meditation is our part of getting quiet.
Take just a small portion of His Word and mull it over in our minds. This is when true fellowship really happens. The truth is, God created us for fellowship. When we run to Him with a bunch of requests, this is not fellowship. But when we spend time coming before Him and soaking Him in. Suddenly, we’ll find we hear Him speaking to us. Finally, we begin to hear His voice.
If you go to the great preachers in history and even today, you will find they spend the majority of their day meditating on God’s Word. This is where they find the wisdom they need to not only speak and challenge us but also to live godly lives themselves.
Why do we Fear Christian Meditation?
Namely, because meditation calls us to silence. Most of us in this day and age can’t deal with silence. Silence calls us to remember things in our lives that need to be dealt with. As soon as we are quiet, we remember the things God has asked to do that we are reluctant to do. Those sins that need to be confessed come to the forefront. Our disobedience to God becomes quite evident.
Meditation is plain out threatening because we are standing in the presence of The Living God. And we must cry out like Isaiah, “Woa, is me for I am undone.” – Isaiah 6:5
A Few Pointers on How to Meditate
- Give some portion of each day to meditate. contemplative prayer is a way of life. “pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
- Find an appropriate place. Have everything you need set at this place so that you aren’t looking for your journal and pen. This place will become your obvious place to meditate. Others will know not to bother you when you are in that chair. If you neglect your time of meditation, that chair will remind you.
- Posture – Do you sit? Do you kneel? That all depend on you. Actually, it’s not so much the posture of your body as it is the posture of your heart. That said, kneeling or bowing down can help you get in the right spirit.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer says
“… just as you do not analyze the words of someone you love, but accept them as they are said to you, accept the Word of Scripture and ponder it in your Heart, as Mary did. That is all. That is meditation.The Way to Freedom, Dietrich Bonheoffer, page 59
Live the Experience
Apply all the senses to our task.
Smell the sea.
Hear the lap of water along the shore.
See the crowd.
Feel the sun on your head and the hunger in your stomach.
Taste the salt air.
Touch the hem of His garmentCelebrations of Spiritual Disciplines, Richard Foster
Alexander Whyte counsels us,
the truly Christian imagination never lets Jesus Christ out of his sight. . . . You open your New Testament
. . . And, by your imagination, that moment you are one of Christ’s disciples on the spot and are at His feet.Lord, Teach us to Pray, Alexander Whyte, pp249-50
It is a way of life; You will be constantly learning and growing as you plumb the inner depths.Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster
I hope that you are able to employ these steps in your own time with Our Lord. I believe you will be amazed at the change in your life.
Sing-a-long as you Stay at Home
This Mennonite family recorded this before the corona virus but it made me think this would be a good thing to do. Have your own hymn sing! And this family can downright sing!
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Pastor’s Wife (retired) & Chronic Pain Warrior blogs about how to make it through anything by relating her own life experiences to her writing. She is passionate about her love for the Lord and desires to spread that passion to others. She has a great desire to encourage women who are following behind her.