Christian Meditation Techniques
5 Methods Used to Meditate on God
Meditating on the Lord can be one of the easiest yet at the same time most difficult activities we can do to draw closer to God and grow spiritually. The simplicity is in the act of just being still in silence and solitude. The difficulty is that sitting still and being quiet for more than a few minutes can cause a minor anxiety attack. Many of us are not very comfortable with our thoughts and being alone with God. For some it’s like watching grass grow. Others may be afraid of what’s lurking underneath the surface of our hearts. Yet, spending time with God through meditation can literally change your life for the better. In this article, I’ve listed some common ways to meditate on the Lord. Read and select Christian meditation techniques that feel the most comfortable for you and begin today. Below is a list of Christian meditation techniques to help you get started with meditating on the Lord.
1. Using a Scripture or Sacred Word
Scriptures tell us that when we abide with Christ, he abides with us, and without his living and guiding spirit, we can do nothing. (St. John 15) One form of meditating on the Lord is to abide with him; to sit at his feet and to wait in his presence, just like the child who sits in his mother or father’s lap to be comforted.
This can be accomplished by carving out time each day to just sit quietly before the Lord where you are free from distractions. The ocean or secluded areas of nature are great places to meditate, but a quiet area in your home works just as well. Initially, meditating on the Lord by abiding may be difficult because our mind tends to be restless and wanders profusely; but with consistency you’ll gain more and more control over your thoughts. Many meditators select a scriptural passage or word to focus on and anchor their attention, often called a mantra. Your mantra or scriptural phrase can be “the Lord is my Shepherd,” “I walk by faith,” “the joy of the Lord is my strength”, “I cast my cares upon the Lord,” or “Peace be Still.” The late John Main, one of the most influential spiritual teachers in the Christian meditation tradition encourages believers to use the mantra or sacred word, “Maranatha” that means, “Come Lord Jesus.” This mantra is suggested because of its relevance in scriptures and its lack of an emotional or mental references, which inhibits our minds from creating a mental attachment to the word.
You can also select a whole scripture or just one word, like “Jesus” or “Jehovah” to meditate on. Meditate in silence or record music to play in the background. It’s best to time the music or use a timer so that you’re not worried about being late for work or missing an appointment. As you meditate, become fully present by paying attention to your breathing and your mantra. You can silently repeat your mantra in alignment with your breathing or anytime your mind begins to wander off. You can also create a mental picture in your mind to focus on. As you practice being still and calming your thoughts, you’ll sense a greater feeling of God’s presence and a greater sensitivity to hearing his voice.
You’ll begin to sense the yearnings of the Holy Spirit as he drops words or impressions on your heart. One time during a meditation I had a vision of me and all my family members standing in a circle and sharing our desires for the coming year. Several days later I shared my vision and we set aside a time to dedicated the New Year to the Lord and touch and agree on our heart’s desires in prayer. As you practice this form of meditation, you’ll find old weights and worries seem to disappear. No evil thing can stand in God’s presence. I created five guided- meditation titled, Abiding with Christ and Mantra Meditation and a series of Quiet Time Meditations which guide believers through these steps. You can find these and other Christian meditation recordings on our products page.
2. Guided Christian Meditations
Guided Christian meditations are another method that can help you to meditate on Christ. Guided-meditations are usually on a CD or cassette. Guided Christian meditations are great for beginning meditators and are a good transition to learning to meditating by abiding or with a mantra or sacred or scripture. Some people need the added stability and structure of being guided through their meditation experience. Most guided meditation CDs begin with a relaxation exercises followed by a scriptural narrative. Some are filled with biblical stories; others are more visual or interactive like taking you on a walk through nature or nailing your cares to the cross. Guided Christian meditations can also cover a wide variety of topics that help you trust God for healing, to control negative thoughts, or to release painful memories of the past. I even have meditations on nurturing your vision, attracting love, overcoming anger, and releasing toxic emotions. Christ-centered guided meditations work well when you want to focus on a specific aspect of your Christian walk. The relaxation exercises prepare your mind to absorb God’s word and His principles for the greatest effectiveness. The benefits are that you learn to relax and quiet your thoughts while being submerged with the scriptures. The talking throughout the meditation helps you to stay present and focused and diminishes wandering thoughts.
3. Meditating on God’s Word
Another popular and more historical way of meditating is what the Christian monks called contemplative prayer. This form of meditating involved selecting a short scripture or biblical passage and then reflecting on it for the entire day. During their reflections, the monks would think about how these particular scriptures were relevant to their lives. They took ownership of the scriptures by making them their own. They measured their behavior by them and contemplated what changes they needed to make so that their life personally reflected the passages. You can add this form of meditating to your daily devotion, by selecting and writing down a particular passage and then ask God to make this passage real to you. Interestingly, the passage will seem to take on a life of its own. Scripture says that God’s word is like a two edge sword, it is alive and it quickens us. (Hebrews 4:12) We are changed by the word; but the word has to get into our heart and our spirit and not just our minds. Many years ago as I began to study the word to write my manuscript, “Don’t Go Back to Egypt,” I was amazed to see the meanings in scriptures that eluded me before. Meditating on the word by taking small bites and then chewy them slowly is transformative and much more effective than just reading whole chapters of scriptures.
4. Soaking In God’s Presence
For the past several years I have hosted a Christian Meditation Retreat in the beautiful Shasta mountains where we, as a group, experienced what it means to soak in God’s spirit or his presence. The terminology for soaking in the spirit reminds me of soaking up all of God’s attributes like a sponge or wading in his glory. It is a time that we are just “being” with God in the same way that Adam and Eve walked with God in the cool of the day. The scriptures tell us that in God’s presence is fullness of joy.
Recently I have began again to incorporate the practice of soaking in God’s spirit into my Christian meditation practice and it is rewarding and meaningful. It, along with other forms of Biblical meditation, provides me with a variety of tools that help me to quiet my mind, tame my emotions, awaken my spirit, and subdue my fleshy nature. I can’t tell you how grateful that I am to be able to manage my thoughts and actions instead of them managing me. It is an ongoing process that will continue until I go to be with the Lord.
5. Joining a Meditation Group
Lastly, consider joining a Christian Meditation Group. Through the World Community for Christian Meditation Website (WCCM) (www.wccm.org ) you may be able to locate a group in your area. If no groups are available, consider starting your own. The organization provides resources on how to start and maintain a Christian meditation group. By joining a group you can receive instruction on meditating as well as benefit from the knowledge of some veteran meditators. Just like corporate church worship can be uplifting, energizing, and unifying, meditating on God collectively also ushers in the sweet spirit and presence of God. Groups usually meet once or twice a week and are free of charge. During the meeting, a short teaching relating to meditation or spiritual growth is shared by the facilitator. This is followed by a time of meditation which last for about 20 minutes. Afterwards, there may be a shared discussion or believers may be asked to leave quietly as to not disturb those still waiting on the Lord. Laurence Freeman, Director of the WCCM writes, “the meditation group is the most contemporary expression of and answer to the tremendous spiritual hunger that so characterizes our time.”
To conclude, meditating is a spiritual practice that can enhance our relationship with God and the above Christian meditation techniques show you varies ways to put it into practice. It can help us to take on his character by spending time in God’s presence. Meditating on a scriptural passage or mantra teaches us to calm our restless thoughts and creates a greater sensitivity to hearing God’s voice. And meditating on God’s word in the form of contemplative prayer is a way to reflect upon the scripture and ponder its relevancy in our personal life. Joining a Christian meditation group can offer guidance, experience, and a place to share the art of meditation collectively. All four forms of meditation can change us and make our life more fulfilling, Christ-centered, and balanced.
Although there are many Christian meditation techniques it is important that you find the right one for you. Browse our Product Library for a variety of Christian meditation CDs, downloads, and courses.