Meditation has gotten a lot of attention recently. In a stressful world, it's no wonder that people are turning to such practices to try and find peace and calm. Research is beginning to uncover the many physical and mental benefits of mindfulness and meditation, but to the Christian, this should come as no surprise. Meditation, especially through prayer, is an important practice referenced throughout the Bible.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reports that “Some research suggests that practicing meditation may reduce blood pressure, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression, and insomnia.” Beyond these potential health benefits, many believe that mediation can also deeply strengthen your faith. Here’s what believers should know about Christian meditation:
Isn’t Meditation a Pagan Practice?
Some Christians immediately cringe at the mention of meditation due to the practice’s association with Eastern Religions and activities such as yoga. Christianity Today explains how these religions view meditation:
Many Eastern religions teach that the source of salvation is found within, and that the fundamental human problem is not sin against a holy God but ignorance of our true condition. These world-views advocate meditation and "higher forms of consciousness" as a way to discover a secret inner divinity.
This association with Eastern religious practices is not what meditation, at its core, is really about however. In fact, the definition of “meditate” is actually rather benign: “think deeply or focus one's mind for a period of time.”
So, while the mention of meditation may conjure up images of the Buddha or yoga, it is simply dwelling on important thoughts. It’s all about how you do it.
What is Christian Meditation?
Meditation is mentioned directly and indirectly in Scripture. For example:
Joshua 1:8 says, “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.”
Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Psalm 1:2 says, “...but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.”
Psalm 4:4 says, “Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.”
Psalm 19:14 says, “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Psalm 119:15 says, “I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.”
These verses tell us that Christian meditation is as simple as quietly reflecting on God’s Word, and is actually an integral part of an active prayer life. What makes this practice Christian is what you are thinking deeply about and focusing on. If you are meditating on God’s promises or your relationship with him, you are practicing Christian meditation.
How to Meditate as a Christian
Put aside the image of a cross-legged monk, because meditation is much simpler than that. Like prayer, meditation is personal. Grab your Bible and consider these simple ways to meditate:
- Silent Prayer
This is the closest to what most people think of when they hear the word “meditate.” Because this practice involves prolonged deep thought, prayer is the natural way to meditate. The key is to focus solely on God in silence. Even just 10 minutes can have a huge impact on the rest of your day. This is a great time to listen to what God is saying to you, and open your heart to the Holy Spirit.Read Also: 5 Encouraging Morning Prayers to Begin Your Day
Sometimes it is hard to silence your mind and focus. In this case, writing down your thoughts can be a great meditative activity. This still allows you some quiet time with God, but takes away the pressure of complete stillness. Bible journaling is also popular - grab your colored pencils and your Bible and meditate on Scripture.
- Time in Nature
Spending alone time in God’s creation is a great way to connect with Him. Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Nature reveals God’s eternal qualities in a unique way. If you’re struggling to sit still, take your thoughts outside. You’ll be glad you did.
- Verse Memorization
Psalm 119:11 says “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Being able to call Scripture to mind when you are struggling is invaluable. Memorizing Scripture is a great way to always have God’s Word at the front of your mind - and the deep thought required to commit verses to memory is a form of meditation itself. There are lots of great apps that can help you as well.
Watch Now: The American Bible Challenge
Christian Guided Meditation Resources
There are countless resources available if you’re looking for more information on Christian guided meditation. Here are just a few helpful places you can go to learn more:
Abide Christian Guided Meditation App
Abide takes away the guesswork by guiding you through daily meditations. A short audio devotional will begin your meditation before you are prompted to ponder and reflect on what you’ve learned. This method of prayer is mentioned many times throughout the Bible. Find more information on Abide.
GotQuestions.org Explainer on Christian Guided Meditation
If you’re looking for more information on the biblical nature of Christian guided meditation, Christian website GotQuestions.org has additional details on the practice. The site dispels worries that the word “meditation” can sometimes spark and further explains the biblical nature of the practice.
Bible Gateway Explanation on Christian Guided Meditation
If you’re looking for more insight on Christian meditation, the Bible Gateway blog has a simple resource that provides context and tips. Learn some of the other ways you can think deeper and ponder your faith.
Bible Study Teaching Christian Guided Meditation
The YouVersion Bible app has a seven-day Bible study titled, “Reclaiming The Lost Art Of Biblical Meditation.” The description reads as follows: “Find true peace in Jesus as you learn to meditate on his Word and incorporate it into your daily life. Reclaiming the lost art of biblical meditation will dramatically lessen your anxiety in life, reduce your stress, bring new success to your days, and leave you with ocean depths of inner peace.” Embark on the study here.
Online Videos That Teach Christian Meditation
Christian guided meditation options are also available via video form. Abide, among other resources, offers these videos to help people focus on scripture and God’s plan for their lives. Here is just one video option, but you can search the Abide YouTube page and other online resources for additional videos.
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