Practical Disciples: Meditation
About Today’s Practice
I remember growing up in the church and the thought among many was that meditation was witchcraft and was associated with Yoga. However, the psalms, proverbs, and apostles all taught meditation in some form. I should clarify, I am not talking about meditation in Yoga or in some ancient eastern context; rather I’m talking about meditation on God’s Word. Meditation is a biblical discipline that helps us continually remember God’s Word and, as Paul says in Colossians 3:2, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Meditation, like fasting, focuses our perspective from a Godly view rather than an earthly one.
Before we get going, you’ll need these things.
- The ability to calm your mind and focus on God.
Let’s read Joshua 1:8
“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.”
Let’s also read Philippians 4:8
“Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.”
WHY IS MEDITATION IMPORTANT?
From a biblical perspective we can see the above scriptures call us to calm our minds and focus on God. They call us to put away the worries of this world so we can realign our hearts our souls and our minds on what God says.
There’s also scientific evidence that shows the power of meditation. It’s been shown to help with PTSD (1), anxiety (2), stress levels (3) , depression (4), and can even help us to learn and work better (5).
When we think about the life of Jesus, He was always present wherever He went. He was always focused on the people that were in front of him. Meditation allows us to focus on being present and to walk into our days fixated on what God wants to do through us that day. Take Romans 12:1-2 for example:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 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.
We’re going to jump right into the practice here. I’m a big fan of Lectio Divina. Of course, there are many forms of meditation but this one is a practical way to pray and read through scripture while meditating on God’s Word. I hope to recommend other forms of meditation in the near future. For now, if you’ve never done Lectio Divina before, I highly encourage you to watch this video first so you can experience it.
Here’s how it works. Pick a passage of scripture. Let’s use Romans 12:1-2 since we just read from it. We’ll read it four separate times. Make sure to get your journal down and write down the date and scripture.
Before we begin, make sure to do some breathing exercises to calm yourself. I usually do one deep breath in and out and then breath in for 3-4 seconds while letting out the breath for 6-8 seconds. If you want to go the extra step, I highly encourage the Wim Hof method (Though, I do offer a disclaimer that he is not a Christ-follower and it may not be suitable for you).
1. After the first time we read through it we’re going to look for a word or two that sticks out to us. For Romans 12:1-2 it may be “transform.” We’ll say it out loud and then write it down. Allow yourself time to meditate on this word and what God is saying through it.
2. After the second read-through we’ll pick out a phrase that speaks out to us. It may be “do not conform.” Once again, make sure to say it out loud, write it down, and then meditate on this word.
3. After this third time of reading scripture we’ll pray a short prayer based on one of the verses. It may be “God, please help me to know your will so that I can bring you glory this week.”
4. After this final read-through we’ll simply be still and quiet, and meditate on the scripture we read. It’s important that we allow time for ourselves to think through what God is saying through these verses.
5. Take time to be still and think about all of the wonderful things God has blessed you with. Think about the incredible work Jesus did on the cross to give you a new life. Finish the meditation with thankfulness and gratitude.