Christian Meditation: Everything You Need to Know and More
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Although meditation is most commonly associated with Eastern religions, it has many manifestations and should be considered by anyone who wants to live a whole and spiritual life.
Christian mystics have long used meditative practices to evoke a deeper personal relationship with God.
In the modern period, many churches have made Meditation a regular part of recommended Christian life to connect with the divine while also learning self-discipline and balancing the pressures of life.
In fact, there are even biblical passages that suggest Jesus practised Meditation himself and urged others to do so.
‘The kingdom of God is within you.’ (Luke 17:21)
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What is Christian Meditation?
Eastern Meditation comes in many forms, like chanting mantra’s, focusing visualisation or focusing on the breath or bodily sensations. Buddhist practices tend to be about quieting the mind, the aim of meditation being personal enlightenment.
Biblical meditations focus more on contemplative prayer and scripture passages. For example, in Joshua, there is mention of meditating day and night on the Book of Law to ensure that you act in accordance.
Christian prayers and meditation go hand in hand. Prayer gives us the opportunity to talk to a higher power and resolve any conflict that we may be harbouring, while Meditation allows us to listen to God.
It’s essential to have these two sides – more often than not, our time of prayer with God is very one-sided, with us asking for answers or things, but a strong relationship needs both sides of listening and communication.
Is Meditation a Sin?
Meditation is such a broad term that it would be hard to say everything under that large umbrella term aligns perfectly with all Christian values. However, most modern approaches to meditation that you’ll find on popular meditation apps certainly don’t break any of the ten commandments.
Non-Christian Meditation is often focused on observing our thoughts and becoming aware of our surroundings rather than being centred on God.
Christian Meditation could be viewed as a different approach to prayer, where we are encouraged to take time out of our busy lives and connect with God.
Meditation is not a substitute for prayer; rather, it complements it, taking us deeper into the issues we deal with in our daily lives.
What Does the Bible Say About Meditation?
Meditation is mentioned and encouraged frequently in many biblical passages, here are a few examples.
Genesis (24:63) “And Isaac went out to meditate in the fields at the eventide, and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and behold the camels were coming.“
Joshua 1:8 “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.”
Timothy 4:15 “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.”
Corinthians 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
Matthew 6:25-34 Scripture “take every thought captive.”
Christian Meditation Practices
There are a few different approaches to meditation that a Christian can take. Most Eastern meditation can be practised in a secular way that won’t conflict with your beliefs and will help you gain all the many benefits of meditation.
However, some particular practices can be a great addition to your faith and connection to God.
The Exercises Of St Ignatius
The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola are a form of meditation created by the 16th century Jesuit Ignatius of Loyola that guide the participant in contemplating the life and sacrifices of Jesus Christ.
The purpose of the exercise is the “conquest of self and the regulation of one’s life in such a way that no decision is made under the influence of any inordinate attachment.”
Traditionally the exercises were practised over four weeks, but this doesn’t nessercarily have to be 7 days weeks and instead just viewed as phases where the participant meditates and contemplates on their service to God.
Week/ Phase One;
The first phase is spent reflecting on Gods boundless love for us. We recognise that Gods love is inhibited by our sin but that God desires to free us of anything that gets in the way of acknowledging that love. The phase ends with a meditation on Jesus’s call to follow him.
Week/ Phase Two;
The second phase teaches us how we can be a disciple of Christ. We examine the scripture readings of the nativity and Jesus’s baptism, the sermon on the mount, his ministry and the 37 miracles.
Week/ Phase Three;
This phase is spent meditating on the last supper, the passion and Christs death. We are encouraged to view this sacrifice and the gift of communion as the highest manifestation of God’s love.
Week/ Phase Four;
The final phase is spent meditating on the resurrection and Christs final messages to his disciples. We then visualise walking with the risen Christ and set about contemplating how we can love and serve him in our daily life.
MindEasy founder & meditation teacher