What is Christian Meditation?
Christian meditation is a form of contemplative prayer, or reflection, that involves focusing the mind and heart on a specific biblical passage, to deepen our relationship with God, gain spiritual insights, and foster a sense of inner peace. Prayer is an integral part of Christian meditation: you can engage in conversation with God, express gratitude, seek guidance, or you can simply be still in His presence.
Christian meditation has been practised for centuries. Christ Himself spent many hours in prayer and just being in God’s presence.
According to the Bible, meditation is about pondering God’s revealed truths and reflecting on how they pertain to us. In Psalm 119 David encourages his readers to meditate: “I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word” (Ps. 119:15-16).
Saint Teresa of Avila says about Christian meditation: “We begin by thinking of the favour which God bestowed upon us by giving us His only Son and we do not stop there but proceed to consider the mysteries of His whole glorious life.” and that « Christian meditation involves looking back on Jesus’ life, thanksgiving and adoration of God for his action in sending Jesus for human salvation.”
Rick Warren, in The Purpose Driven Life, describes meditation as “focused thinking. It takes serious effort. You select a verse and reflect on it over and over in your mind…if you know how to worry, you already know how to meditate”. Warren also says, “No other habit can do more to transform your life and make you more like Jesus than daily reflection on Scripture…If you look up all the times God speaks about meditation in the Bible, you will be amazed at the benefits He has promised to those who take the time to reflect on His Word throughout the day”.
In Satisfy Your Soul, Dr. Bruce Demarest writes, “A quieted heart is our best preparation for all this work of God…Meditation refocuses us from ourselves and from the world so that we reflect on God’s Word, His nature, His abilities, and His works…So we prayerfully ponder, muse, and ‘chew’ the words of Scripture….The goal is simply to permit the Holy Spirit to activate the life-giving Word of God.”
Christian meditation differs essentially from Eastern meditation (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Daoism) in that Eastern meditation is practised to transcend the mind and attain enlightenment. Christian meditation aims for a deeper understanding of the Bible and a closer intimacy with God.
In Philippians 4:8; Paul suggests, “Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things”
Journaling can make meditation more meaningful: invite God into your thoughts, and allow the writing process to deepen your understanding of your faith and relationship with Him. Below I have added a few journaling prompts that you can adjust according to your personal preferences and spiritual needs:
- Reflect on Scripture: Choose a specific Bible passage or verse that resonates with you or one that you find challenging. Write it down in your journal, and then spend some time reflecting on its meaning. Consider how it applies to your life, what insights it offers, and what God might be speaking to you through these words.
- Gratitude Journaling: Begin by expressing gratitude for various aspects of your life in your journal. Acknowledge the blessings, both big and small, that you’ve received. As you reflect on these blessings, connect them to your spiritual journey.
- Prayer Requests and Answers: Create a section in your journal dedicated to prayer requests. Write down your prayers and lift them up to God. Periodically revisit this section and note any answers to prayers you observed. This practice encourages a deeper awareness of God’s involvement in your life.
- Take time to examine your thoughts, actions, and attitudes Reflect on moments when you felt aligned with your faith and times when you may have strayed. Consider how you can grow in your relationship with God and seek His guidance for areas that can be improved.
- Meditative Imagery with Scriptural Scenes: Choose a significant event or scene from the Bible, such as the calming of the storm. Close your eyes, visualize the scene vividly in your mind, and then journal about the emotions, insights, or lessons that arise during this meditative process.
When Christians meditate, we read God’s Word, we repeat or rehearse it in our minds, we reflect on it prayerfully and then we act upon what it says. Meditation has always been used by Christians as a way to draw near to God, experience His love, and learn how to live according to His will.
I have written a book about the mindfulness and meditation techniques I introduce my retreat guests to here in the southwest of France. One of the chapters in my book is about Christian Meditation. Each chapter starts with a letter or an email from someone who would like to attend a retreat here, explaining why they are interested in our workshops. The book is called Mindfulness and Meditation in the South Of France: Staying Focused in a Fast-paced World.
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