Have you ever wanted to feel oneness with God? Do you wish you could feel the presence of Jesus Christ in your life? Many of my meditation students do. That’s why I teach them Christian meditation techniques, so they can cultivate a closer relationship with The Bible.
Let me show you how to do Christian meditation. And before starting, I recommend you read my beginners guide to meditation.
Meditate With Me
Join me for a private meditation session. Master meditation. Master your mind.
Christian Bible Meditation Methods
When we meditate as a Christian, we meditate on the Bible, Jesus Christ, or oneness with God.
This could be done with mantras (spiritual phrases), contemplation, prayer, or other techniques.
The main difference is that, as Christians, we focus on God and Christian themes. With that in mind, let me show you the best Christian meditations.
1: Meditative prayer
Meditative prayer is a type of contemplation that was advocated by St. Teresa of Ávila (1515–1582) [Doctor of the Church].
When we do a meditative prayer, we repeat the words of the prayer like how we repeat a mantra (though, arguably, without the energy resonances that mantras produce).
Follow these instructions:
- Choose a psalm (see #2 below)
- Sit comfortably with good posture. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Close your eyes. Focus on breathing.
- Invite God and Jesus Christ to be with you.
- Begin to recite your psalm either out loud or in your head.
- At times while repeating your psalm you will feel a oneness with God and Jesus Christ. Feel this oneness. Focus on it. Ask that you be moved closer to God and Jesus Christ.
- You might hear insight and wisdom either within your mind or from above. Listen to this. Ask what the insight means to you and how you might get closer to God and Jesus Christ.
- Continue to meditate on your psalm in this fashion for twenty minutes.
- Open your eyes. Express gratitude for God and Jesus Christ for being with you and for guiding you.
This Christian meditation method is similar to prayer in that we use it to get closer to God and Jesus Christ, according to Thomas Zanzig and Marilyn Kielbasa, authors of Christian Meditation for Beginners.
2: Try meditating on these psalms
Second Peter 2:9 “The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep unrighteous under punishment until the Day of Judgment.”
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.”
Romans 5:8 “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
When you meditate on bible psalms like these, the goal is to reflect on their meaning and on the context of God’s love, says F. Antonisamy, author of An Introduction to Christian Spirituality.
By meditating, we focus the mind, and when we focus the mind on The Bible, Jesus Christ, or God, we bring ourselves closer to our faith. Plus, we remove any blocks that might be preventing us from fully experiencing Christianity.
3: Meditating on God’s love
In the Gods Love exercise, we open our hearts to God and ask to be made one with God.
In the book Christian Meditation, Edmund P. Clowney explains that meditation should always be performed with the intent of feeling closer to God’s love.
Teresa of Avila [The Way of Perfection] says that it is about increasing our knowledge of Jesus Christ.
And Thomas Merton [Spiritual Direction and Meditation] states that the goal is “a deeper union by grace and charity with the Incarnate Word, who is the only Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ.”
As is said in the Gospel of Matthew [11:27]: “No one knows the Father but only the Son and anyone whom the Son wants to reveal him.”
One of the main benefits of this is a divine sense of hope. And that is important because of the staggering importance of hope in life.
Plus, this will help you develop perhaps the number one characteristic of Jesus Christ: Compassion.
4: Christian Meditation For Kids
We are agreed that Christians can meditate, right?
Do you also think that it is right for kids to meditate? I do. It’s good for their health and their faith. One of the best Christian meditations for kids is to meditate on God’s love quietly with their eyes closed.
Ask your kids to feel God’s love and to focus on it.
Another good activity for kids is to choose a simple Bible verse for contemplation. Then, have them contemplate the meaning of the verse. When they’re done, discuss the verse with them and lead them to a good understanding of the underlying meaning of that verse.
5: Meditate on Gods Precepts And Ways
Psalm 119:15 instructs us to “Meditate on God’s precepts and ways.” But how exactly do we do that?
If we are going to focus on the word of God, we first need to choose which specific words to focus on.
Choose a passage of the Bible you would like to use for this exercise. Take pride in picking the perfect passage (I have recommended some above). Make sure the passage you choose 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 selected your passage, write it down.
- Go somewhere quiet and peaceful, where you will not be disturbed. The church is an obvious choice.
- Close your eyes and sit comfortably with good posture.
- Focus your mind on your breathing for twenty breaths. Relax.
- 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 on God’s words, meditating on them. You should hold the words in your mind lightly. Allow the words to be present in your mind.
- At times you will lose focus. This is natural. Do not be angry about it and do not feel defeated if you lose concentration. Simply 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 might 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 Bible passage.
- Continue 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, and to your life in general. You might also consider how you might make use of the words, and 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 by expressing gratitude. Thank God for being with you during this time and for being there with you in your life. Promise yourself that you will meditate again soon.
6: Christian mantras
Mantras are sacred words or phrases that we repeat and contemplate. It is a form of exercise advocated by Roman Catholic priest and Benedictine monk John Main OSB (1926–1982).
Mantras are similar to rosary meditation, which involves reciting repeated Hail Mary’s—an exercise dating back to the 15th Century. It is said to lead to contemplation on the mysteries [Beads and Prayers: The Rosary in History and Devotion by John D. Miller].
Try meditating on these 5 Christian mantras.
- “Jesus”: The most obvious Christian mantra is simply Jesus. Meditate on this mantra to feel closer to Jesus.
- “Yahweh” This is the first proper Christian mantra. Inhale and say “Yah”. Then say “Weh” on the exhale.
- “Lord have mercy”: This reminds us of the mercy of God.
- “Thank you, Lord Jesus”: This Christian mantra teaches us to have appreciation and gratitude, which are good for mental health. It also teaches us to feel closer to Jesus.
7: Hesychasm and Lectio Divina
Two famous exercises that were principally used in the Middle Ages are Hesychasm (repetition of the Jesus Prayer) and Lectio Divina (repetition of various scripture passages).
Lectio Divina has been promoted twice in recent times, once in 1965 in the principal document of the Second Vatican Council, titled Dei verbum, and then again on the 40th anniversary of Dei Verbum by Pope Benedict XVI.
How Should You Meditate As A Christian?
Scholars, including E. P. Clowney, say that there are three essential rules of Christian Meditation that must be followed:
- 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 Christians and whose words are holy. Mantras (see the Christian mantras above for examples) given by mystics and by gods outside the Christian faith are generally discouraged. Meditate on God’s word. Meditate on God’s love.
- Should focus on God’s love.
- Must be done in the interest of heightening the worship of God.
In his book The Catholic Catalogue, 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.”
Guigo I, the predecessor of Guigo II [Ladder of the Monk], states that when we enter a state of true meditation, the Holy Spirit enters our soul and “turns water into wine”, showing the path of contemplation and delivering a higher communion with God [from Carthusian spirituality: the writings of Hugh of Balma, and Guigo de Ponte by Hugh of Balma].
Is Bible Meditation The Same As Prayer?
When I’m teaching Christian meditation to beginners, I’m often asked how these meditative practices compare to prayer. Are the two the same? And if not, how exactly are they different?
Of course, prayer is about talking to God. On the other hand, Meditative practices are about listening. Biblical meditation is all about listening to God. So the main difference is that in prayer, we talk to God, and when meditating, we listen to God.
Let’s think about that for one moment.
When we pray, we are consciously communicating with God. We select a prayer, or we talk to God, and so we are actively involved in that communication process. Meditating is all about listening.
That’s why meditation and prayer work very well together.
Is meditation better than prayer?
Some people ask whether meditation is better than prayer. Seems like a fair enough question, right? The problem is it’s unhelpful. It doesn’t matter if meditating on the Bible is better than praying, or the other way around. Why not do both?
All Christians pray. And one way to go further with prayer and with our faith is to combine prayer with bible meditation methods. Do both. After all, both bring us closer to God.
What Is The Purpose of Christian Meditation?
It’s about creating oneness with God.
Try the following method
- Pick up your Bible.
- Choose a passage of the Bible.
- Read it to yourself.
- Now begin to meditate on it contemplatively.
- You might like to slowly repeat the passage in your mind and focus on the words and their meaning. Be conscious of any thoughts or ideas that arise when you do this. Perhaps the passage is telling you something. Maybe the Bible is communicating with you, sending you a message from God. Be conscious of those messages.
This exercise is similar to other meditative practices because we are focusing the mind on one thing. However, we are also interpreting the Bible. This helps us to absorb the teachings of the Bible into the soul.
Not only are we coming closer to God through meditation, but we are also getting the many health benefits of general meditation. So Christian meditation techniques are a win/win!
What does the Bible say about meditation?
Psalm 143:5 reads, I meditate on all your activity; I eagerly ponder over the work of your hands.”
In other words, we meditate on God’s work.
As you can see, Christian meditation is about quieting the mind so that we can be conscious of the work of God and Jesus Christ. This strengthens our moral character. We do this by bringing to heart the values of the Bible, such as the compassion of Christ.
With biblical meditation, we become more like the perfect representation of man, Jesus Christ, by planting the fertile seeds of a moral character.
Psalm 1:3 reads, “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, what the Bible says about meditation is very positive, and the technique is mostly in line with the Judeo-Christian faith. And most forms of meditation, such as the mindfulness methods taught by Jon Kabat Zinn and Thich Nhat Hanh, are usually considered fine for Christians.
Are some types of meditation a sin?
Certain meditative exercises are discouraged.
The 1989 document Aspects of Christian Meditation set forward the idea of Holy See and told bishops that any kind of meditation that induces euphoria should be discouraged, especially Transcendental Meditation and methods used in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism.
Then again, psychologists Daniel Golem and Thomas Merton both said that the Christian faith had lost touch with its mystical side and could greatly benefit from Eastern spiritual practices.
As such, there is rather a lot of debate about which exercises are good and which are a sin, and the best idea is to follow your own intuition.
Benefits of Meditation for Christians
- Focuses the mind
- Makes us one with God
- Helps us to listen to God
- Helps us understand the meaning of the Bible and specific psalms
- Eliminates negative thoughts
- Brings us closer to Jesus
- Purifies the mind
- Helps us develop the positive characteristics of Jesus Christ (compassion, hope).
Bible Verses About Meditation on BibleStudyTools
What Does Meditation Mean In The Bible – Christianity.com
Paul Harrison BSc is a qualified meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in teaching meditation and mindfulness both to individuals and to corporations and is the author of four books on meditation. He has been featured in Psychology Today, Breathe Magazine, Healthline, Psych Central and Lion’s Roar.
Paul studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
Paul’s biggest inspirations include Thich Nhat Hanh, Jon Kabat Zinn, and Jack Kornfield.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison