Only to sit and think of God,
Oh what a joy it is!
To think the thought, to breathe the Name
Earth has no higher bliss.
-Frederick W. Faber
Meditation is a lost art in the Christian life. The practice has been overtaken by Eastern religions seeking to detach themselves from present reality. Yet we have countless calls to meditate in the Bible. The Christian version of meditation is not an emptying of the mind, but it is filling the mind and heart with God’s word. One of the greatest passages on mediation is found in Psalm 119 where the psalmist says he meditates “on your precepts” (Psalms 119:15, 78), “on your statutes” (Psalm 119:23; 48), “on your wondrous works” (Psalm 119:27) and this meditation is his joy.
Meditation is a sinking into who God is and what He has done. In meditation our main goal is not to know more about God, but to let what we know penetrate the deepest source of our being and draw us into communion with and utter adoration of God. David Mathis describes the goal of meditation as making God’s words “saturate [our lives], give [us] direction, shape [our] mind, form [our] patterns, fuel [our] affections, and inspire [our] actions.” Richard Foster in Celebration of Discipline says that in meditation we are aiming to “think God’s thoughts after Him, to delight in His presence, to desire His truth and His way.”
So how do we meditate?
The primary tool of meditation is scripture. Meditating on scripture helps us internalize God’s word so it is part of our very being and flows out of us whether we are conscious of it or not. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16).
We must set aside a time for focused meditation. Meditating on the works of God is something that we should be doing 24/7, but it is also important to dedicate a time to more intentional meditation. Set a time to directly turn your heart and mind to God and allow Him to penetrate it with His word.
Setting a place and posture is also necessary. Foster recommends finding a place you can return to with consistency. You might also choose to meditate somewhere where you can be surrounded by the magnificence of God’s creation. Finding a place that stirs your awe and affections will make your meditation that much sweeter. However, Foster reminds us that “regardless of how [meditation] is done, the aim is to center the attention of the body, the emotions, the mind, and the spirit upon ‘the glory of God in the face of Christ’ (2 Cor. 4:6).”
As modern Christians bombarded by desires of the flesh everywhere we go, we must not neglect the practice of pausing to let God’s word inform our hearts and minds. At the core of meditation is the desire to be closer knit to God. All Christian should crave this closeness to the heart of God and seek it through meditation, for He will not hide Himself from those who seek Him. “I love those who love me,
and those who seek me diligently find me. Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver” (Proverbs 8:17-19).