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 – Old Testament References
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 practising 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.
|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.