Meditation

Meditation is a word that makes people think about Bhuddist monks sitting chanting or Asian mystics sitting in weird poses for days. Currently the most common meaning for meditation invokes an image of emptying your mind or focusing on a sound or single point, losing yourself in mindlessness, thinking about nothing, emptying yourself.

So what is Christian meditation? Is it Biblical? How can you do it? Does God want us to empty our minds and become one with the universe or does it mean something else?

Let’s start with what the Bible says about meditation.

In the Old Testament the word meditate is found over 18 times in the NIV version of the Bible. The word meditate is translated from a Hebrew word that is also translated as  ; to murmur (in pleasure or anger); by implication, to ponder:—imagine, meditate, mourn, mutter, roar, sore, speak, study, talk, utter. The verses it is found in are shown here: Meditate

In the New Testament the word meditate is not found as often.

In 1 Tim 4:15 we are told to consider / meditate on God’s word so our progress will be evident to all. Timothy is also encourage by
Paul to  continue practicing the things he has learned – to continuously continue in his study of God’s word.

In Philippians 4:8 Paul also wrote, to think about things that are honourable, praiseworthy and virtuous.

So how does Christian meditation and Eastern Meditation compare to each other.

Eastern Christian
Empty your mind FILL your mind with good things
Focus on one word of phrase (mantra) Focus on God / Scripture / Virtuous things
Sitting Still No posture or position required
Lose yourself / deny yourself Grow, mature, strengthen
Special times / places Any time / all the time
Cultivate detachment from the world Become attached to God
Become nothing Become all God created you to be
Inward focus Outward focus

To sum up.

Christian meditation is the practice of thinking about, talking about, studying God’s word and God himself. It involves reading the Bible, thinking about God, God’s people and even the world God has created in order to build a better relationship with God and grow as a Christian to be a better human being.

Christian meditation can be silent but we are encouraged to mutter, speak, sing, think, write and talk as part of our meditations.

Christian meditation can be done anywhere, at any time but we are also encouraged to set aside special time to meditate, as well as casual meditation during the day.

So how do we do Christian meditation?

I’ve listed some techniques here – try a few and see how they go.

 

Meditate – Old Testament References

Definition:

hâgâh, daw-gaw’; a primitive root (compare H1901); to murmur (in pleasure or anger); by implication, to ponder:—imagine, meditate, mourn, mutter, roar, × sore, speak, study, talk, utter.

Translated as:

  1. to moan, growl, utter, muse, mutter, meditate, devise, plot, speak
    1.  (Qal)
      1. to roar, growl, groan
      2. to utter, speak
      3. to meditate, devise, muse, imagine
    2. (Poal) to utter
    3. (Hiphil) to mutter

Uses of meditate in the OT.

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. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Psalm 1:2

but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.

Psalm 39:3

my heart grew hot within me. While I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:

Psalm 48:9

Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.

Psalm 77:3

I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.

Psalm 77:6

I remembered my songs in the night. My heart meditated and my spirit asked:

Psalm 77:12

I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

Psalm 119:15

I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.

Psalm 119:23

Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees.

Psalm 119:27

Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.

Psalm 119:48

I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees.

Psalm 119:78

May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause; but I will meditate on your precepts.

Psalm 119:97

[ מ Mem ] Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.

Psalm 119:99

I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.

Psalm 119:148

My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.

Psalm 143:5

I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.

Psalm 145:5

They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty— and I will meditate on your wonderful works.