What comes to mind when you hear the word “meditation”? For me, several things:
- Julia Roberts in the movie “Eat Pray Love” – sitting in a serene setting in India, meditating;
- My mom warned me as a child against Eastern religious meditation practices that involve clearing my mind;
- Meditation is repeatedly mentioned in the Bible.
May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord. Psalm 104:34 NIV
I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. Psalm 119:15 NIV
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:1-3
How should a Christian meditate? Most meditation guides are geared toward Eastern practices and the mind-clearing practices my mom warned me about, while the Bible clearly says when we meditate it should be focused on God’s laws, precepts (rules), and ways. Over the past several months I’ve been working to incorporate Christian meditation into my daily walk with Jesus. Below are some tools that I have found helpful:
Bible Meditation Podcast: Most mornings, before I start my #DailyBibleReading, I listen to a 10 minute guided meditation podcast by Nikki Rach. I love the format – breathing and meditating on a verse, followed by reflection and prayer. I highly recommend. For more information, visit her website here or listen to the podcast on iTunes or other podcast players.
Meditate on a verse or passage in the Bible: Start with taking 10 minutes before bed for first thing in the morning. Keep your mind focused on a Bible passage or list from the Bible. Keep your eyes closed, stay relaxed, and when your mind starts to drift to other things, return to the passage or list. Some good starting points:
- Psalm 23. Memorize the 23rd Psalm and then meditate on it. See yourself in the green pasture. Imagine God refreshing your soul and leading you on the path of righteousness.
- Love: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Memorize the attributes of love and say the passage over and over in your mind. Keeping in mind that these are also the attributes of God as He is love.
- Fruit of Spirit: Galatians 5:22-25: Memorize the fruits of the spirit and go over that list if you mind. Breath deeply. Think about love. think about goodness. Think about gentleness.
- 10 Commandments: Go over the list of commands, just as King David did.
Meditate on God’s Mighty Deeds (Psalm 77:12): This is why reading through the Bible is so helpful – there are so many stories of God’s power and might from Genesis to Revelation. I love just to sit still and visualize and think about some of the examples below:
- God, in the form of fire or a cloud, leading the Israelites. I imagine the sights, smells, power, provision of God.
- Jesus dying on the cross: the ultimate sacrifice, out of love for me. I imagine the pain God was experiencing. The pain Jesus was experiencing. The unconditional love they have for me.
- Jesus as a vine, me as a branch.
- God parting the sea for the Israelites to pass.
A few other tips:
- Start slow, 10 minutes, once a day.
- Find a quiet, relaxing, comfortable place to sit.
- Unless you are listening by podcast, put all your electronic devices away.
- When your mind starts to drift to other things, refocus back to God.
- It is okay to converse with God during meditation – pray, confess, praise.
- Don’t quit just because it gets difficult or you don’t “feel” results.
I wish you well on your meditation journey. Please message me with any tips or helpful practices you’ve incorporated into your meditation.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV