Summary: Many Christians today do not practice meditation as the Bible speaks of it. Christian meditation is different from the meditation we are used to seeing from New Age and Eastern religions. We focus on God’s Word through meditation.
In my last post, I described the approach for someone who is looking for the best Bible version that fits them and what they are doing. In this post, I want to lay out a practical approach for practicing biblical meditation upon God’s Word.
Most Christians today don’t even read the Bible, let alone meditate on it. They are distracted by the things in this world and the multitude of voices it presents. Beyond distractions, we fill our calendars and schedules with so many things we don’t have time to devote ourselves to the Lord in meditation.
We don’t take the time to discipline our minds, fill them on memorized Scriptures, and meditate on the meaning and application of the Scriptures. So, I wanted to show you some ways to meditate as a Christian. Let’s dive in!
What Is Christian Meditation?
Most Christians are afraid to talk about meditation because they confuse Christian meditation with the more popularly observed Eastern meditation, or New Age meditation. But the two are polar opposites from one another.
In Eastern and New Age meditation, a person seeks to empty their mind so they can listen in the ether of nothingness to Brahman, or the god of the universe. It’s like reaching out into the darkness and feeling for whatever you find, and focusing on it.
But Christian meditation is the exact opposite of Eastern meditation. Where Eastern meditation seeks to empty ourselves to be filled with the Lord knows what voices and impressions, Christian meditation focuses on God’s Word to us.
Christians meditate on the Bible and what it says, focusing in on it and ruminating over the words of Scripture. We seek to ignore the distractions in this world in favor of discovering what God’s Word says to us and our situation. Christian meditation concerns us with God’s view of ourselves and the world rather than outside voices.
The Bible uses several words for meditation. They include the ideas of cooing, muttering, proclaiming, reading in an undertone, and thoughtful contemplation. I use the word “ruminate” because it reminds me of how the Holy Spirit hovered over the waters of creation, nurturing and ordering creation.
In the same way, we order our thoughts according to God’s Word instead of the world. We take a few verses and ruminate over them, letting them seep into our souls. In a sense, we speak God’s words back to Him, speak them to our souls. We solidify God’s Word so we can combat the voices we hear in the world.
The Psalms open with proclamation that meditating on God’s Word fills us with the light in Him (Psalm 1:2). We see meditation in Proverbs, mulling over God’s wisdom to apply to our situations. Through meditation, God teaches us His ways (Psalm 119:97, 101, 102).
Since Christian meditation is mulling over and ruminating on God’s Word, we must have access to His Word. But to get it in our spirits, it’s helpful to memorize the text or verses we want to meditate on. The more we meditate on it, the more we have it not only memorized but so deep within us that we don’t need to refer to the Bible in page form.
Memorization and meditation go hand in hand. Each one helps the other. When we memorize the Scripture, we can meditate on it without the Bible in front of us. The more we go over it and apply it to our situation, the more we haven’t memorized.
Meditation fills our minds and hearts with God’s words to us about our situation, our attitude in trials, and gives us God’s perspective instead of the world’s. It shows us what God thinks and gives us the mind of Christ. We focus on God, His perspective, and what is important to Him.
What Christian Meditation Does
We underestimate the power of meditating on God’s Word. First, His Word comes to mind much quicker when we encounter suffering and trials. We are less apt to listen to what the world or the devil says about her situation. It’s a powerful faith builder.
Meditation sets our minds on God’s Kingdom priorities rather than the distractions of this world. It sets up your day for continuous prayer and focus on what God says about you, your situation, this world, and all the voices crying out for your attention.
It allows God’s Word to seep into the depths of our mind, heart, soul, and spirit. It ingrains what God says in us. We can see the attacks of the early and see through the voices in our world. Meditation saturates our minds and spirits in God’s Word, like a coffee bean or tea bag seeps into the water and takes it over.
Christian meditation provides God’s wisdom for every trial you face. God fills his Word with wisdom if only we would meditate on it and ask God how to use His wisdom. Meditation gives us insight into God’s Person, practices, processes, expectations, and the mind of Christ.
Meditation helps us to hear God over the din of worldly voices surrounding us. The more we think on God’s Word, mull it over in our minds, and allow it pervasive control over our mindset, worldview, perspective, and situation, the more we open ourselves to God’s possibilities. Meditation keeps our minds from distractions.
Renewing Your Mind
Meditation is a large part of renewing your mind because it reminds you of God’s promises and expectations, and aligns you with God’s purpose for you. When you meditate on God’s Word, you speak the truth of Scripture into your life.
This helps you realize God’s Kingdom purposes, what He expects from you, have He has placed His Spirit within you, and what He wants you to do for Him until He returns. It instills biblical values and worldview in you.
Meditation also helps you use God’s Word in your situation. Between memorization and meditation, you are prepared to face the situations in your day. It also prepares you for spiritual warfare against demonic forces (Matthew 4:1-11).
Much more goes into the renewing of your mind, but meditating on the Scriptures that you read is a large part of that preparation. The Bible calls you to renew your mind so you do not conform to this world (Romans 12:1-2).
How and When to Practice Meditation
You should practice Christian meditation every day. You need to keep your mind on the things of God rather than the things of this world. Meditation helps you to maintain a biblical worldview and fight the forces of evil between temptation and demonic forces.
It helps you to see through the lies of the enemy and this world system. Since you daily read your Bible, meditation is part of that practice. You can best meditate when you have memorized portions of God’s Word to meditate over. When you don’t have to look up the passage of time you want to meditate, it helps to get it into your spirit and heart.
Even if you don’t memorize your passage, regular meditating over it will help you know it so well that you memorized it. You want to revisit your passage regularly throughout your day. What do you do with the dead spots in your day? These are perfect times to meditate over God’s Word for you.
Since the passage is in your mind and heart, it’s easy for you to find time to meditate. As long as it doesn’t distract you from other tasks during your day, like driving, you can even be thinking about your passage, its principles, and the truths it contains for you while you are doing other tasks.
It presents the rare opportunity for you to pray about your situations and what’s happening in your life. You maintain a godly perspective in the face of your trials. Meditating can start with thinking about your passage. How can you apply it to this situation you are facing? What’s the eternal truth of your passage?
When you have the time, meditate through murmuring or ruminating over your passage. This murmuring is not nonsensical. It is considering your passage as you talk through it. Do this throughout the day. Take advantage of every opportunity.
Repeat your passage in different ways, pulling out the diamonds that apply to you at that moment. Personalize it by replacing pronouns with I and me. Proclaim it over yourself and your situations in life.
Another way to meditate over your passage is to write it out as you have memorized it or remember it. Replace some words with your own, making it your own and internalizing it. Make sure you don’t change the meaning of your passage when you do this.
Look for application of your passage throughout your day. How does it encourage your spirit? Are you going through a trial or situation your passage addresses? Choose passages that speak to the issues of your day.
I don’t meditate over more than two passages throughout my week. This gives you plenty of time to memorize and meditate over your passage. You want to fill your spirit with God’s Word. It’s not a contest to see how much scripture you can memorize or meditate over. Meditation lends itself to slow intake of God’s Word.
Another approach you can take is to pray through the text of your passage. Make the passage your own through prayer. Do not simply pray through the memorized portion of your passage. Use your own words to express the concept behind the passage. Apply it to the situations you face.
Cement notetaking all, do not rush through your meditations. Take your time. The goal is to place God’s word in your heart and spirit, not to rush through it and check it off your checklist. Take several days, maybe even a week, for each passage.
Contemplate the meaning of your passage. Even after you have meditated on this passage, if you come into a situation your passage or its principal applies to, that’s what your meditation is for. Proclaim that passage over that situation.
Take a passage you have memorized or that you find your mind drift into during situations of this week and meditate over it. Meditate at least three times a day. Let meditation and prayer mingle together. See how God uses your meditation to change your perspective toward each challenge and trial you face.
Now that we have practiced and applied the discipline of meditation to our lives, we will take a deep dive into the subject of Bible study and how to do it.