7-Day Practical Faith Blog: The Discipline of Meditation
Psalm 63: 6; Psalm 119: 15
In this Lenten series on spiritual disciplines, I want to consider meditation. To me, meditation is an outgrowth of both prayer and study.
Meditation has a negative connotation in some Christian circles. But while meditation is used in other arenas of life, the Christian can point to meditation in the Bible and consider how to emulate it.
My favorite psalm is Psalm 63, David's poetry about seeking God. In verse 6, David says, "I meditate on you in the watches of the night." It's similar to Psalm 119: 15:
I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
We can wonder about what it means to "meditate" as described in the Psalms. Thomas Watson, in his 17th century book, Heaven Taken by Storm, described meditation as “a holy exercise of the mind, whereby we bring the truths of God to remembrance, and do seriously ponder upon them, and apply them to our selves.”
Richard Foster, in his Renovare Bible commentary, described meditation as "prayerful rumination upon God, His Word and his world." Rumination is further defined as "deep or considered thought about something." Taking all these definitions together, meditation is deep thinking mixed with prayer.
Secular meditation is typically seen as being about relaxation. I see nothing wrong with the Christian also using meditation to relax. If we are truly embracing and pondering God in our minds, it is natural that we should come to a level of peace and a release of anxiety.
Secular meditation also involves emptying our minds. In his book, The Power of Positive Thinking, Rev. Norman Vincent Peale endorsed this process but also emphasized that the next step is important: How to refill our minds. If we are refilling our minds with the same worries we had before, what have we accomplished? Instead, we should refill our emptied minds with peaceful, secure thoughts about God, His love, His plans, His peace, His control.
When my meditation is ineffective, it becomes a run-through of and a stress-out over my to-do list. When effective, my meditation hands over my to-do list to God for safekeeping and pivots my mind toward greater and holier things.
In my new book and video series, "Live Like You're Loved," in the Eternal chapters, I describe techniques for connecting the present to the eternal, connecting this moment with God and His overarching view of everything. William Barclay wrote:
To possess eternal life, to enter into it, is to experience here and now something of the splendor, and the majesty, and the joy, and the peace, and the holiness which are characteristic of the life of God.
You see in this sentence the combination of the eternal with the here and now. Our desire in meditation is to connect into the eternal life of God, bringing it into our present reality. We want to absorb God and God's ways in this intimate time of meditation.
Emerging from meditation, we are therefore renewed with energy, peace, perspective, and thoughts and intentions of righteous living. The tool of meditation is a wondrous way to remake your day and your week, aligning better with God.
Delve into this idea of connecting the present with the eternal by learning more about "Live Like You're Loved." Please visit CecilTaylorMinistries.com/live-like-you-re-loved for the story behind the content, the first video lesson, blogs based on "Live Like You're Loved," and more!