Often we can think that meditation is an eastern practice. It involves sitting crossed legged and going “uuummm.” But meditation is a rich biblical tradition. In Psalm 1 the blessed man is the one who meditates on God’s law day and night. Biblical meditation is about muttering/musing on/pondering God’s word. In “Episode 2: Meditation – dwelling on God’s truth” we mourned the fact there is no 5 step guide to Christian meditation, so I thought I would write one to help people get started…
Step 0: Preparation
You are going to need a pen/pencil, some paper and a Bible. Take your bit of paper and leaving space for a title at the top of it, divide it into three equal sections. You are also going to need to find yourself a place where you can concentrate. In short; move away from any screen!
If this is your first time meditating, I suggest you write it down as it will help you see how it works. However once you’ve got the hang of it then using paper and pen is all up to you.
Step 1: Pray
In Colossians 3:1-2 we are instructed to set our hearts and minds on things which are above where Christ is seated. But we live here on earth, so how can we do this? By asking the Lord to help us comprehend that which is beyond our natural gaze. So, pray to the Lord for help, for guidance, for wisdom. Ask God to speak to you today.
Step 2: Choose a Bible verse
Meditation is not the same as Bible study. We study God’s word so that we can comprehend it faithfully. While we meditate upon it so that we can apply it faithfully. So, as you choose a Bible verse choose one you have some understanding off. Maybe one from your quiet time, or a verse from the sermon last Sunday.
Once you’ve made your decision write the verse at the top of your bit of paper in the title section.
Step 3: What is universally true?
Start to deliberately focus and ponder upon the verse. Say it over a few times in your head or say it out loud if you like. Then start to ask this central question of the verse; what universal truth does this verse contain?
This question breaks down into two sub questions; firstly, what truth does it say about God? His character? His will? His purposes? His plans? His power? And secondly, what truth does it say about humanity? Who are we? What are we here for? What are we like?
As you ponder upon the verse and answers come to you, start to write them down in the first column on your paper.
If you’re struggling, you could try paraphrasing the verse and putting it in your own words. Or you could go through the verse and emphasis each word in turn. Work out what each word means and wonder what would be lost if it was not there.
Step 4: What is specifically true for me?
God’s Word is like a mirror. It helps us see ourselves more clearly. So, take a moment to swim in the sea of truth you have just written down and then ask yourself this question; What does this verse say about me? How does it explain me? How does it challenge me? How does it encourage me?
Some verses in Scripture are very clearly about humanity, who we are and how we should live. While others are focused on God’s character and what he has done in the gospel. If your verse is of the later than ask yourself how this verse helps you praise the Lord, or how does it give you confidence in Him?
As you dwell upon the specific application of this verse for you, write down your answers in the middle column.
Step 5; What is God teaching me today?
God is speaking through his word. He speaks to all of humanity through it, and he speaks to us individually. This means that wherever you are right now God is speaking to you. So, what is he saying to you? What does he want you to believe? What does he want you to know? What does he want you to change? This is the most important part of meditation. This is us opening our hearts and minds, and saying to God, please speak to me, I am listening.
As you start to discern his voice, write down your answer in the last column on your page.
Once you have finished:
Your meditation is done, but the consequences of it are only now being felt. Meditation is not an end point. It is a bridge. A bridge between Scripture reading and prayer. So, now you have meditated upon God’s word; pray! If you are convicted of sin, ask for his forgiveness. If you have been challenged to change how you are living, ask for his help. If you are amazed by his character, then praise him.
And that my friends is how you meditate in 5 easy steps.