Last time we introduced Christian meditation and set forth the ways in which it differs from other types of meditation. We even read the definition of the word to see that it can mean more than one thing and saw several verses from Scripture (there are many more too) in which meditation is specifically mentioned. In this post I’d like to give you an idea of what meditation can look like in Christian practice.
First of all, it is important that we realize that meditation, prayer and study are very closely related as spiritual practices. Prayer overlaps with study when we study His Word whenever we ask our Lord to reveal the Word to us. Study and meditation overlap when we think deeply about a verse or a passage from the Word, and prayer, study and meditation all come together when we pray His Word, as mentioned in “Study 4”.
People who know a lot about meditation usually say that the first step in meditation is to relax and clear away the thoughts and distractions of the day. It is hard to mediate when you’re stressed out about bills and bosses and family issues. Many recommend that we use a mantra to replace those distracting thoughts, which may sound to many to be both foreign and dangerous. Yet all a mantra is, is something we repeat to ourselves to replace those distractions and to help us focus. A mantra doesn’t need to be something weird or “Eastern”, it can be an inspiring verse such as, “I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me.” It can be an idea like, “Jesus is my Lord and Savior”, or “I am saved by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ”, or “Jesus is the Lord of my life”. This is both simple and safe.
For others, this may not be what helps to relax and clear our minds of distractions, instead it might just start with a simple prayer, and then move on to the Word. For me, it is best to pray, and then to pray the Word. Whatever method you may prefer to begin with, the keys to remember are that we are not inviting strange spirits into our minds, we are opening our hearts and minds to God through the Holy Spirit to guide us, and it doesn’t get any more “Christian” than that. Next, we must remember that the point of the exercise is to focus our full attention on the Living Person of the Word so that He can reveal Himself fully through the Word in us.
I will admit that meditation takes some patience and practice, and because of this, it is probably more useful to mature Christians who are already adept in prayer and study, than it is to young Christians who struggle to focus in prayer and study.
Perhaps you have another idea about what Christian meditation should look like that you’d like to share…