Some conservative Christians are fearful of practicing meditation because of the central role it plays in many near eastern mystical religions. The New Age movement hit America by storm and scared Christians away from the Christian discipline of meditation. Meditation is simply the act of thinking deeply on one thing. Don’t overcomplicate it.
Meditation in the Bible
Isaac (Gen. 24:63), Joshua (Josh. 1:8), and David (Psalm 77:12) all meditated. The various Psalmists are always extolling the value of meditation (Psalm 48:9; 77:12; 119:15, 23, 27, 48, 78, 97).
Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to be alone with God (Luke 5:16). He obviously taught his disciples to meditate because Peter (Acts 10:10; 11:5), Paul (2 Cor. 12:2), and John (Rev. 1:1) meditated.
The Bible consistently teaches the value of meditation.
That being said — I understand the hesitation. There is a lot of crazy stuff being taught out there on meditation. How can I practice meditation and be sure that I am not straying away from my Christian faith?
One of the best ways to be sure that your meditation practice is Biblically grounded is to make Scripture the focus of your meditation.
When meditating on Scripture I would make the following recommendations.
- Make liberal use of the Psalms and Proverbs.
- It’s best to meditate on a small unit of Scripture.
- If using a larger portion of Scripture, distill it down to the main points of the passage and meditation on those.
- Meditate on the Scripture as personal (first-person) statements affirming what you feel or what you want to do.
- If the passage is about what God has done then make the meditation statements personal (first-person) statements about what God has done for you.
- Repeat these statements over and over again during your time of meditation. Do not be afraid of repetition. Repetition is the best method for getting the Scripture down deep into your soul.
Here are three Scripture passages that I have found great strength and refreshment from meditated on regularly. I have included the meditation I use for each Scripture passage. These are mine. You can use them if they are helpful or better yet, create your own.
1. My Love for God — Psalm 1
Meditation: O God, I do NOT want to walk in step with the wicked. I will NOT stand in the way of sinners. I will REFUSE to sit in the company of mockers. O God, I WILL meditate on your Word day and night. I love your Word! I love your Law! I know it is good for me. Help me to meditate on your commands day and night. O God, make me like a tree firmly planted by cool, refreshing water. O God, do not let my limbs grow weak. Do not let my leaves wither. O God, help me to prosper for your Kingdom’s sake!
2. God’s Sovereign Love for Me — Psalm 139:1-14
Meditation: O God, you search me and you know everything about me. Everything! You know when I sit down and you know when I get up. You know all of my crazy thoughts and you know all of my sinful ways. O God, you put me together in my mother’s womb. There has never been a time when you didn’t know me. O God, there has never been a place where you haven’t been there with me. O God, I could never escape your love and care. O God, when I go to the mountains your are there. O God, when I go to the desert, you are there. O God, when I travel to the far side of the earth, you are there. O God, when I am soaring with happiness, you are there. O God, when I am suffering in depression, you are there. O God, I praise you because you are MY God!
3. Overcoming Fear and Trials — Romans 8:31-39
Meditation: O God, I know that you are on my side. O God, who can hurt me when you are on my side! O God, You gave your only Son for me. I know you love me with an eternal love. I will fear no person. I will never shrink back from any obstacle. I will live a strong life because I know that nothing can separate me from your love! No matter what — while I am living or even if I die — nothing can separate me from you! No matter what — even if the devil himself comes after me — nothing can separate me from you! No matter what happened in the past and no matter what happens in the future — nothing can separate me from you! O God, thank you because you make me strong enough to conquer all things!
I hope you can take ten minutes every morning and evening to meditate on God’s Word. It will make a tremendous impact on your life!