What Is Christian Meditation?
"Blessed is the man [whose]...delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither." Psalm 1:2-3
For many years, I believed the word of God was meant just for reading and studying—like a textbook on life. I believed it was authored by a good God, and I tried to read it, as I knew I should, but it never made an impact on my life to the level God desired. It wasn’t until I discovered the practice of meditation that my life began to be transformed by the powerful, applicable truth of Scripture.
For many of us, the idea of meditation is a confusing one. Modern Christians, notably Protestants, seem to have lost the practice of this important spiritual discipline. We confuse it with practices of other religions, such as Buddhism, and therefore cast it aside as too mystical or even wrong. But Christian meditation does not involve emptying your mind as in Eastern religions; rather it fills us with the knowledge of God and his presence. Meditation is about receiving, not casting out.
So what does meditation look like in the Christian context? To meditate is simply to spend time mulling over a verse, phase, idea or characteristic of God. It’s a process where we open up our hearts and minds to receive revelation from the Holy Spirit. To meditate on Scripture is to take a phrase such as “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want,” and really take time to think about all it means for us personally. For the Lord to be your shepherd means that he will lead you perfectly and lovingly to everything you need. It means that you will not want for what you need in this life. So in the process of meditating you can apply this attribute of God to your present circumstances that you might experience transcendent peace in all situations.
Psalm 1:3 promises that if you meditate on Scripture you will be “like a tree planted by streams of water that yields fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.” Scripture has the power to securely ground you in the steadfast love of your heavenly Father. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Root yourself in the word of God, and watch as your life is filled with the fullness of God. Allow Scripture to be an avenue by which you daily meet with its Author. May your time spent meditating on God’s word in guided prayer be marked by his nearness.
1. Take a few minutes to meditate on Psalm 1:1-3.Break it up into little pieces that seem to grab you.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3
2. Take time to reflect on the parts of Psalm 1:1-3 that grab you.Allow the Holy Spirit to give you revelation on how his word can affect your life today.
3. Take time to reflect on what Psalm 1:1-3 says about your heavenly Father.Think about how God gave you his word that you might prosper and bear fruit. Think about his goodness and provision. Allow his character to stir up your affections for him.
The joy of Scripture is that its Author is alive, active and dwells within you. You have direct access to the Holy Spirit who inspired every word of the Bible, and he longs to give you revelation. God longs for his word to not just fill you with knowledge but to dwell in your heart. He longs to use it to lead and guide you into an abundant life filled with love and joy. But you must make time to meditate on it. You must make space in your day to allow Scripture to impact every facet of your life. You must open your heart to God’s word as your source of truth so it can transform you. May you be planted by the living water of God’s nearness today and bear the fruits of joy and peace in light of God’s love.
Extended Reading: Psalm 1