Meditation means intentionally focusing the mind. In Christian meditation, we meditate on the bible, on Jesus, or on oneness with God.
In this way, biblical meditation is not dissimilar to other traditional meditations. It is about focusing the mind on one thing, the only real difference is that Christians meditate on God.
Just as traditional meditation is about purifying the mind, transcending the self, and achieving enlightenment and oneness, Christian meditation is similar. With Christian meditation we focus the mind, purify our thoughts, and as a bonus, we also strengthen our moral character because we are meditating on the words of the bible. So in some ways, Christian meditation is actually better than other meditation techniques.
Many people ask about the difference between prayer and meditations.
As a meditation teacher, I find that meditation is about listening. When Christians meditate, it’s about listening to God. So when we look at meditation vs prayer, the main difference is that in prayer we talk to God, and in meditation we listen.
Some people ask whether meditation is better than prayer. This is an unhelpful question that is unenlightened. It’s not about whether meditation is btter than prayer. Christians should do both, because both bring the Christian closer to God.Prayer is when you talk to God. Meditation is when God talks to you. Click To Tweet
Christian meditation is about oneness with God
Christians practice meditation to be one with God and to understand the bible better, just like Buddhists meditation to be one with Buddha and to understand dharma (the Buddhist path).
One of the most popular meditation exercises for Christians is to take a passage of the bible and to meditate on it contemplatively (read my guide to contemplation techniques for more on this).
When we do this, we are meditating in a traditional sense because we are focusing on one thing. But we are also studying the bible and taking to heart the many moral lessons of the different bible verses.
For this reason, biblical meditation has the same benefits as traditional meditation. But there are other benefits of Christian meditation, too.
Benefits of Christian meditation include:
- It is grounding
- Focuses the mind
- Makes us one with God
- Helps us to listen to God
- Helps us understand the meaning of the bible and of specific psalms
- Eliminates negative thoughts
- Brings us closer to Jesus
- Purifies the mind
- Helps us develop the positive characteristics of Jesus Christ (compassion, hope).
What The Bible Says About Meditation
The bible says that meditation is an important tool for Christians.
Particularly, the bible says that Christians should use meditation as a way of contemplating on the bible and of thinking on good Christian themes such as love and compassion.
In Psalm 143:5 a Christian man says, ““I meditate on all your activity; I eagerly ponder over the work of your hands.”
When we meditate in Christian style we quieten the mind and we increase the strength of our morality. We do this by bringing to heart the values of the bible, such as the compassion of Christ.
Meditation helps the Christian to become more like the perfect representation of man, Jesus Christ, by planting the fertile sees of a moral character.
Psalm 1:3 says, “ He will be like a tree planted by streams of water, a tree that produces fruit in its season, the foliage of which does not wither.”
As you can see, the bible is in favor of meditation. We must just meditate according to God.
3 Rules For Meditating On God
For the devout Christian, many scholars advocate that there are three essential rules of Christian Meditation that must always be followed.
The first is that Christian meditation should be grounded in the Bible.
The reason given is that the God of the Bible is a personal God who is sacred to Christian’s and whose words are holy. Mantras given by mystics and by Gods outside the Christian faith are generally discouraged.
Secondly, Christian Meditation should always be focused on the love of God.
And finally, Christian Meditation should be practiced in the interest of heightening worship of God.
In his book The Catholic Catalogue [AMAZON], American Catholic author Thomas Merton says, “The true end of Christian meditation is practically the same as the end of liturgical prayer and the reception of the sacraments: a deeper union by grace and charity with the Incarnate Word, who is the only Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ.”Reading the bible without meditating on it is like trying to eat without swallowing. Click To Tweet
Examples of Christian meditations:
Meditative prayer is a type of contemplative meditation. When we do a meditative prayer, we repeat the words of a prayer in a similar fashion to repeating a mantra (though, arguably, without the energy resonances that mantras produce).
Try these psalms for meditation:Second Peter 2:9 “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the Day of Judgment.” Click To Tweet Corinthians 13:1 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” Click To Tweet
Meditating to God is another popular type of meditation for Christians. In this exercise the individual opens their heart to God and asks to be made one with God (which is identical to Bhakti method but focused on God ).
Now let me share with you a biblical meditation method that I love. Try it now and you’ll quickly feel closer to God.
How To Do Biblical Meditation — Introduction
If you’re looking to learn how to do Biblical meditation, the best place to start is with Psalm 119:15, which instructs us to “Meditate on God’s precepts and ways.” But just how exactly do we do biblical meditation?
The word meditation can be interpreted in many different ways, as meaning “repeating” or “reflecting” or “thinking.” It is about making your entire being about one thing.
When we do do biblical meditation, we need to make our entire being about the word of God.
So, logically, if we going to focus on the word of God we first need to choose which specific words to focus on.
Take pride and love in picking the perfect passage of the bible (I have recommend some above). Make sure the biblical passage you meditate on resonates with you on an individual level. It should feel special to you (not to your mother, father, priest or friend— but to you).
Once you have these passages, write them down, it is these we will be meditating on.
Select one of your bible passages and meditate like this:
- Go somewhere quiet and peaceful where you will not be disturbed. And yes, you can meditate in church and this is perfect for Christians.
- Close your eyes and sit comfortably and with good posture.
- Focus your mind on your breathing for twenty breaths. This is in order to relax your mind and develop concentration. If you struggle to focus on your breath practice some basic breathing meditations before continuing. The more relaxed you are the more you will be one with God.
- Once you feel focused and calm, read your chosen bible passage to yourself. Read it once and then hold the words in your mind.
- Focus your mind absolutely on God’s words, meditating on them. You should hold the words in your mind lightly and remain calm. Just allow the words to be present in your mind.
- At times you will lose focus. This is naturally. Do not be angry about it and do not feel defeatist. Just return to focusing on the words of the bible.
- Your mind will sometimes bring up thoughts, feelings and ideas that might be unhelpful. For instance, if you are meditating on the compassion of Jesus Christ you may feel unworthy. Do not fight this feeling. Simply acknowledge that it is a feeling and nothing more. Say to yourself, “This is just a thought / idea / feeling”.
- Return to meditating on the biblical passage.
- Carry on in this fashion for 100 breaths. This will take approximately twenty minutes (if you are more relaxed it will take slightly longer). While meditating, consider how the words are relevant to your religious life, or to your life in general. You may also consider how you might make use of the words, how you might go about enacting the words of God. Permit yourself time to reflect on the words of God from a variety of angles.
- Finish the meditation by expressing gratitude. Thank God for being with you in the meditation and in life. Promise yourself that you will meditate again soon.
Continual practice of this technique will help you to develop a higher understanding of god and of your own relationship to god.
What are your views on Christian meditation?
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