Dr. Maria D. Reyes
Christian meditation is an ancient practice with great relevance for today’s problems. It involves a deep, slow, thoughtful reading of God’s Word. You can meditate for only a few minutes per day and receive extraordinary benefits for your mental, spiritual, emotional and spiritual health.The word “meditate” is found in the Bible nearly 20 times, depending on the translation you use. When meditation is listed in the Bible, it refers to meditating on God’s commands or character.
Joshua 1:8 NLT teaches us the “why” of Christian meditation: “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it 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.”
God wants you to meditate on his Word so you will learn how to obey him. As you obey him, he will bless you with success because you will be following his will for your life.
Psalm 119 contains several examples of meditation, as shown in these verses:
Even princes sit and speak against me, but I will meditate on your decrees. – Psalm 119:23 NLT
Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds. – Psalm 119:27 NLT
I meditate on your age-old regulations; O Lord, they comfort me. – Psalm 119:52 NLT
Psalm 119 teaches you to meditate on God’s decrees, deeds, and regulations. Doing so will give you peace and comfort. Two other psalms give more reasons for meditation:
O God, you meditate on your unfailing love as you worship in your Temple. – Psalm 48:9 NLT
I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles. – Psalm 145:5 NLT
You can meditate on God’s love, majesty, glory, splendor, and miracles, as revealed in the Bible. By carefully pondering all these attributes of God’s character, you will come to know him better. You begin to understand the way he wants you to live, and you will gain encouragement and security. If you regularly meditate on God’s Word, these blessings can be yours, no matter the difficulties you face.
Types of Christian Meditation
Unlike Eastern meditation, Christian meditation is not an emptying of the mind. Rather, it is filling your mind with God’s Word to replace negative or sinful thoughts. The act of meditating on Scripture enables a deeper communion with God.
One of the most popular ways to meditate is to read a verse of Scripture, then thoughtfully ponder it in a quiet place with no distractions. You can use any version of Scripture you like. You may also write the verse and your thoughts about it in a notebook for further reflection.
People may also use a form of meditative prayer called lectio divina, which is Latin for “divine reading.” This type of meditation has four steps. First, you read the verse or passage of Scripture. Next, you quietly meditate on it. Third, you pray over what you just learned. Finally, you take a moment to contemplate the Scripture again, inviting the Holy Spirit to illuminate your experience.
Many Christians begin their days with morning meditation. They will use a Scripture verse from their Bible or a devotional as the starting place for a time of meditation. You can ask yourself the same questions every time you have a morning meditation, then record your answers in a notebook.
Questions like “What does this verse tell me about God?” and “What does this verse tell me about living the Christian life?” are great ones to engage you with Scripture. Ending your morning meditation time with prayer is a good way to start your day.
Another way to meditate is through mindfulness. With this type of meditation, you study a verse, then pay close attention to your surroundings to experience a greater sense of God’s presence.
For example, you may meditate on a verse during a walk outdoors, praising him for all the sights and sounds of nature. You could also meditate on Scripture while sitting indoors and observing all the input from your five senses. When you use Scripture for your starting point, mindfulness can enhance your spiritual walk.
Many hymns and contemporary worship songs are filled with Bible verses. You can also meditate on the spiritual truths in the songs to grow in faith. Christian meditation is convenient and easy to do on the go when you use this type of meditation.
Guided MeditationGuided meditation provides context for the verses you choose to study. Though your primary focus should be on hearing what the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to you through the verse, you can use other helps to get more from the Scriptures.
There are many books, apps and online videos that you can use for guided meditation. You can also use a Bible commentary to dig deeper. It’s important to interact with the verse first, then add these helps to enrich your study.
Start by choosing one book of the Bible, such as Psalms, as the theme for your meditation practice. Then select digital or printed materials to help you get more from the book you chose. In a few weeks of using guided meditation, you’ll see a significant increase in your Bible knowledge, simply by spending a few minutes per day in meditation.
Meditation for Anxiety
Anxiety is at an epidemic level in our culture today. One of the easiest, cheapest, and most effective ways to treat anxiety is through Christian meditation. Studies show that regular meditation lowers your blood pressure, boosts your immune system, and helps you sleep better. It can help you concentrate more and manage your stress. When God’s Word is the focus of your meditation, you unleash the power of the Prince of Peace to help you overcome anxiety.
To get rid of anxious thoughts, you must replace them with the truth of God’s Word. Every time you have an anxious thought, you can overcome it with a verse that will help you focus back on God. Here are some verses you can use for meditation when you feel anxious.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. – Psalm 94:19 NIV
A heart at peace gives life to the body. – Proverbs 14:30a NIV
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? – Matthew 6:25-27 NLT
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” – Matthew 6:34 NLT
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7 NIV
Use a Bible concordance to look up other verses to help you overcome your worries in a certain area. No matter your area of concern, there will be a Bible verse to help you conquer your anxiety.
Tips for Christian Meditation
You’ll get the most out of your meditation time if you choose a place that’s free from distractions. This may be when you shower, commute, exercise, or perform chores. You can use noise-canceling headphones to shut out the noise.
To learn the most from your times of meditation and prayer, write down a few thoughts in your notebook. Review your notes regularly to track God’s work in your life. You’ll be happy to see the progress over weeks and months of regular meditation.
If you are struggling with a significant issue, Christian meditation can be a good supplement to Christian counseling. It is not a replacement for meeting with a skilled counselor who can assess your needs and treat your symptoms. For more help and encouragement, contact the team at Seattle Christian Counseling today.
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