There are many bible meditation methods Christians can use to get close to God. And there are Christian meditation mantras too (I’ll share them below).
The overall idea of Christian meditation methods is that they are a form of prayers used to feel closer to God and Jesus Christ, according to Thomas Zanzig, Marilyn Kielbasa, authors of Christian Meditation for Beginners.
If you have wanted to advance your practice of Christianity, or to feel closer to God and to increase your understand of The Bible, meditation can help.
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. We remove any blocks that might be preventing us from fully experiencing Christianity.
In fact, most of the world’s meditation techniques can be adapted to be suitable for Christians.
The Basics of Christian Meditation Techniques
When we are meditating, we focus the mind absolutely on one thing. When we meditate as a Christian, we meditate on the Bible, Jesus Christ, or oneness with God. This could be done with Christian mantras, with contemplation techniques, or with other biblical meditation methods [you might like to try these contemplation techniques].
You might wonder whether the practice of meditating is different for you, as a Christian. In reality, most Biblical meditation techniques are similar to other meditative exercises.
Just like other methods, Christian meditation techniques are about focusing the mind on one thing, the only real difference is that Christian meditations focus on God.
Just as traditional methods of meditating are about purifying the mind, transcending the self, and achieving enlightenment and oneness, so too are Bible meditation methods. We still focus on purifying the mind and correcting thoughts, but we also strengthen our moral character because we are meditating on The Bible, Jesus Christ, and God. So, in some ways, Christian meditation methods are better than other techniques.
Are Bible Meditation Methods The Same As Prayers?
When I’m teaching Christian meditation techniques 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?
As a mindfulness instructor, I find that meditative practices are about listening. Biblical meditation techniques for Christians are all about listening to God. So, when we look at biblical meditation vs prayer, 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.
Some people ask whether meditation is better than prayer. Seems like a fair enough question, right? 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 also with our faith is to combine prayer with bible meditation methods. Do both. After all, both bring us closer to God.
Prayer is when you talk to God. Meditation is when God speaks to you.
Christian Meditation Techniques Are About Oneness With God
Traditional biblical meditation techniques are contemplative.
Where Yogis and Buddhists use their practices as a way to train the mind, Christian meditation techniques are all about getting closer to God and listening to God, mostly through the words of the Bible.
Try the following bible meditation method— one of the best meditations for Christians.
- 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 practice 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!
- 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).
What The Bible Says About Meditative Practices
There are numerous uses of the word “meditation” in both the Old Testament and New Testament.
The Bible states that meditation is an essential tool for Christians. It tells us that Christians meditate as a way of contemplating the Bible and thinking on good Christian themes such as love and compassion.
“Psalm 143:5 I meditate on all your activity; I eagerly ponder over the work of your hands.”
In other words, we meditate on God’s word.
As you can see, Christian meditation techniques are about quieting the mind so that we can be conscious of the work of God and Jesus Christ, and 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, Christians become more like the perfect representation of man, Jesus Christ, by planting the fertile seeds of a moral character.
Psalm 1:3: “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 Judeo-Christian faith. And most forms, such as the mindfulness methods taught by Jon Kabat Zinn and Thich Nhat Hanh, are usually considered fine.
However, 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, along with other methods used in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism.
Then again, psychologist Daniel Golem and Thomas Merton both said that the Christian faith had lost touch with its mystical side and could greatly benefit by Eastern spiritual practices. As such, there is rather a lot of debate about which exercises are good and which are and, and the best idea is to follow your own intuition.
The 3 Core Laws of Biblical Meditation Techniques
Scholars, including E. P. Clowney, advocate that there are three essential rules of Christian Meditation techniques that must be followed:
- Christian meditation practices 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 below 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.
- Secondly, Christian Meditation techniques should focus on God’s love.
- Christian Meditation practice must be done in the interest of heightening 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.”
Western Christian meditation methods are about receiving God’s love directly. Guigo I, predecessor of Guigo II’s [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 [ Carthusian spirituality: the writings of Hugh of Balma and Guigo de Ponte by Hugh of Balma].
Examples of Christian meditations techniques And Mantras:
There have been many forms of Christian meditation methods used throughout the years. Two famous types 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 reason time, 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.
However, in truth, there are many different bible meditation methods. Try the methods below to get started.
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 prayer similar to repeating a mantra (though, arguably, without the energy resonances that mantras produce). Below you can try some Christian mantras from the Bible.
Follow these instructions:
- Choose one of the psalms 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 (below) 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 may 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 guiding you.
Try using these psalms for biblical meditation:
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.
On God’s love
Meditating on God’s love is another popular 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 ).
In Christian Meditation, Edmund P. Clowney explains that meditation should always be performed with the intent of feeling closer to God’s love and Teresa of Avila [The Way of Perfection] says that it is about increasing out 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.” The practices we have looked at above make us understand Jesus Christ better, and gain insight into the workings of God.
We are agreed that Christians can meditate, right?
Do you also think that it is right for Christian 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 closed eyes. Ask your kids to feel God’s love and to focus on it.
Another good Christian meditation for kids is to choose a simple bible verse for contemplation, and 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.
Now here’s the biblical meditation technique I love most
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 this biblical meditation technique?
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.
Meditate on your bible passage like this:
- 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. Focus.
- 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 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 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, 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 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.
4 Christian mantras from the Bible
Mantras are sacred words or phrases that we repeat and contemplate. It is a form of exercise advocated by Main OSB (1926–1982) was a 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 meditation mantra. Inhale and say “Yah”. Then say “Weh” on the exhale.
- “Lord have mercy”: This is one of the best Christian mantras. It 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.
Continual recitation of Christian mantras will help you to develop a higher understanding of God and of your own relationship to God.
What are your views on these techniques?
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Bible Verses About Meditation on BibleStudyTools
What Does Meditation Mean In The Bible – Christianity.com