What do you know about meditation? The response to my question was largely blank stares from the folks in the class this Sunday. This was not really surprising as to most modern day Christians, the practice of meditation is a lost discipline or worse…one associated with traditions which are not aligned with the Christian faith.
But, the truth is that the Bible speaks about mediation; there are over 20 specific references. One of the first references is about Isaac meditating just prior to his first encounter with his future wife Rebecca. In the book of Joshua 1:8, God tells the Israelites to meditate on on His Word during the day and night so they will be careful to obey it. David starts the book of Psalms and in verse 2 refers to the blessings of meditating on the law of God. In fact, David speaks about mediation several times.
We all meditate. Meditation is simply the process of contemplation and deep reflection. The question is WHAT are we meditating on…what’s the focus of our meditation. For many of us, the focus of our deep and on-going reflection is the stuff we worry about. We fret about the issues of our lives…what we will eat, what we will wear, what will happen tomorrow. Jesus had something to say about this type of meditation…Don’t do it!
Instead, the Bible instructs us to mediate on the Word of God and to reflect on His goodness. There are many ways in which we can incorporate the practice of meditation into our daily devotional life. Meditation as a discipline can supercharge your prayer life by helping you to still your mind so that you can focus more completely on God and attach yourself to His truth and the guidance of His Word.
For the modern day Christian, one of the most attractive benefits of mediation is the guidance that seems to bubble up within us when our minds are stilled from the ceaseless, abstract relentless stream of thought that consumes our lives. Through meditation we learn the true meaning of ‘being still and knowing God’. In the stillness there comes guidance for the issues which affect our lives. In this sense, Christian meditation is a way for us to download divine instructions for the everyday challenges we face and to gain insights which are not readily discernible in the hectic pace of everyday life.