Belief Beyond Boundaries
How Should Christians Meditate?
Meditation is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days. Many times, it is referring to Eastern meditation, however, Christian meditation can prove to be quite helpful, even more so than Eastern meditation, but like any kind of spiritual activity, it does take some discipline in some regard in order to get the most out of it. Let's go through the steps.
Step 1: Relax and Fill Your Mind
In order to relax, either sitting comfortably or lying down, close your eyes and take some time to simply breathe in and out, focusing on the exhale. With eyes closed and slow relaxed breathing, relax each part of your body individually such as your arms, hands, legs, feet, head, face, and chest. Shake out any feelings of tension. After a couple of minutes, slowly integrate worshipful praises to God, either in your mind or audibly, focusing on his glory, his wonder, his love, and majesty. He is the creator of all. Picture this love in your mind, whether it be light, a hug or embrace, or however it presents itself to you.
Step 2: Bring Something to Reflect on
Whether it be a psalm, a prayer, a biblical law you'd like greater clarity on, or a challenge you'd like wisdom about, meditate on this as you continue to feel the gratitude and wonder of God. If your mind becomes distracted, simply acknowledge the distraction and bring yourself back to a state of gratitude and love of God. If you find yourself falling asleep, you can try sitting in a different position or take joy in the fact that you may have needed some well-earned shut-eye.
Step 3: Receive
Be ready to receive an answer or a response. Picture in your mind what that response looks like. When I pray for healing, I like to picture a Godly healing energy surrounding myself or another person in my mind. I also picture myself touching the hem of Jesus' robe.
Why is a state of gratitude and love so important?
The Lord works on only the highest wave lengths of energy. When we mediate in a place of gratitude and love, this propels us into this higher, more elevated, energy state that makes it easier for us to hear his voice.
What does the Bible say about meditation?
Pray in the Style of Jesus
Jesus said, "This, then, is how you should pray":
"Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." - Jesus Christ, Matthew 6:9-13
I want to take a moment today to discuss The Lord's Prayer given to us in the Gospel of Matthew. One day while reading this Bible verse I saw the word "how" when Jesus said, "This, then, is how you should pray." I got to thinking, "How do I pray?" and "Do I pray like this?" I felt like there could be a powerful message in the "how" rather than simply reciting this prayer. I was excited to uncover some "treasure" as Jesus would say, letting my meditation uncover what the Truth was behind this prayer. Let's take a look at each line and attempt to understand what is behind it and how this could impact your own prayers.
Our Father who Art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name
Prayer is an intimate moment with our Father, whom is holy and sacred. Even his very name has power and deserves reverence! Each prayer we pray should start in reverence and worship to the Lord God.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
When we pray, we should reflect on the kingdom, but what does this mean? It means in our prayers, we should focus on the laws and covenants God has given us to help discern what we are asking for and if it lines up with his will. It is priming us to look at each request from a state of love, gratitude, and obedience to Him. Perhaps we can uncover truth about our own hearts and what our own motives are as well. Does ego need to be set aside? Are we harboring feelings of unforgiveness, envy, or malice? This will only serve to help us clarify what we are truly asking for. For example, if I am upset at someone and pray that God reveals to them how they have wronged me, I instantly must ask, "Is it me who is in the wrong and lacks forgiveness?" If so, I have revealed that I too must have some things to work out with God.
Along with an abundance of love and gratitude, one must also reflect on how they can be of service to the kingdom itself. How can you personally carry out the will of your Father in heaven? If you do not know, think about your skills and talents. Could these be of use to the Lord?
Give us this day our daily bread
Once we have expressed admiration and reverence to God and meditated on His will, we should then feel free to bring our requests to him from a heart of joy, faith, and expectance. Jesus uses the example of "bread," but why? In the Bible, bread symbolizes to us abundance from God. It was bread from Heaven (manna) that sustained the Israelites for 40 years as they wandered through the wilderness. Jesus is telling us that God will also sustain us and if we are in need, he will meet that desire in the way that serves us best. It is a reminder to us to have faith that our needs will be met with no problem and that we serve a faithful God.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
If God will faithfully meet your needs, should you also withhold your sins from him? What is on your heart? Take a moment and acknowledge what you are struggling with. God forgives! You know this, but first, can you also extend the love the Lord gives you by extending that same love to others who may have wronged you?
Lead us not into temptation
Wait. Did Jesus just ask God to not lead him into temptation? Indeed, he did. Why would a loving father willingly send his own son into temptation? Well, it is so we understand the consequences of our sin, but the purpose of this phrase is to understand that, because of our faith, God will hear our prayer and allow us to forego the temptation altogether. Psychologically this makes sense, because when there is a sin we suffer from and ask God not to send us into it, we are admitting that what we are struggling with the fact that something is not good for us. This thinking reflects the first degree of spiritual transformation: Self Reflection. You can read it here. We cannot make change until we are first willing to draw the darkness into the light and accept that something in ourselves needs to change. Our prayers should allow us to not only ask for forgiveness, but also request that God helps you navigate around that which allows you to sin.
But deliver us from evil (the evil one)
This is an extension of asking God to not lead us into temptation. When we forego temptation in the first place, it allows us to not have to encounter the consequences that sin often brings. This is the beautiful mercy the Lord offers you. This is also an invitation to pray for protection from any schemes that Satan may send your way with the intention of thwarting your spiritual progress.
Using Jesus' prayer model, a personal prayer could look like this:
God, my heavenly Father, whose name is Blessed and Holy; I look forward to your kingdom and feel grateful to do your will here on earth. Lord, sustain me and grant me favor as I make my requests known to you. Forgive me from sin and keep temptation away. Protect me from the evil one. I also agree to forgive those who have caused me pain as well, gratefully extending love and kindness to them as you've shown to me.
In Your holy name, Amen
To sum up, an alternative prayer outline that you can use to formulate your own prayer could look like this:
If you don't currently keep a prayer journal. I highly recommend it. Each day, you can record the topics you'd like to pray about and follow that outline as you pray. In time, you can review your journal to see how God has been working in your life.
Body of Christ
I see your true purpose for my life is simply to serve others and care about those who are in need of your help. I understand that I am your hands to those who are weak, your eyes to those who are blind, your feet for those who've fallen, your voice for those who cannot speak, and your loving presence for those who are grief stricken.
Love me in my imperfectness, let your wisdom rest upon me, and allow me to understand your ways. Have mercy on me, protect me, and let your favor rest upon me.
In your mighty Name I pray. Amen.