Let's face it: Christian meditation gets a bad rap. The word "meditation" has been commandeered by other religions or used in a New Age context. Below is a breakdown to reclaim what Christian meditation is truly about.
What is Christian meditation?
Christian meditation is a form of prayer in which a person reflects on God’s revelation in their life. The Bible commands us to “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8 NIV). Christian meditation is not about striving for “mindlessness” or “detachment of thoughts”, but to pay attention to how God’s love is an integral part of our everyday lives.
History of Christian meditation.
In the old Testament, there are two Hebrew words for meditation: hāgâ (Hebrew: הגה), which means to sigh, murmur, or meditate and sîḥâ (Hebrew: שיחה), which means to muse, or rehearse in one’s mind. The Bible mentions meditate or meditation 23 times, 19 times in the Book of Psalms alone.
The form of Christian meditation that has been used by believers since the 4th century A.D. is called Lectio divina, which means sacred reading. It has four stages:
- lectio: reading a passage deliberately.
- meditatio: pondering the text.
- oratio: asking God to reveal the truth.
- contemplatio: resting in God’s presence.
How to practice Christian meditation?
The first thing to remember is that Christian meditation is grounded in the Bible. God speaks in words of revelation, and will reveal Himself in His word. Secondly, the focus of meditation is on the love of God, and how He is guiding you in your life (even if you feel lost!). Lastly, worship and praise God! You should always make Christian meditation an exercise in praise. Focus on "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 NIV).
Mindfulness is challenging, especially in our age of distraction. Many off us bear the burden of “future-tripping”, which is a mental habit of speculating about the future.
In James 4:13 (NIV), it says "Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them."
Live in the present means trusting in God’s future. You cannot appreciate the present if you are worried all the time. Hope in the confident anticipation of good, and learn to resemble Christ’s character.
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