The Journey Begins: How Meditation Can Deepen Your Faith
No one ever told me a Christian should meditate. Oh, I was told to be quiet very often and told to “settle down”, but I was never told to meditate.
Meditation was something those other non-Christian people did. Meditation conjured up images of sitting cross-legged and chanting. I certainly didn’t want to do that.
Instead, I was told to read my Bible, pray, and go to church if I wanted to get close to Jesus.
You don’t have to sit cross-legged and you don’t need to worry about the chants, but let’s start meditating.
Thank you for joining me on this spiritual journey. Over the next few weeks leading up to Holy Week, we will look at a different spiritual discipline each week.
Here at my blog, I will write on Mondays about the discipline for the week–setting the stage so to speak. If you have not yet “subscribed” to the blog, please do so just to the right of this article.
Just enter your email address in the box where it says “Email Address.” You’ll get this blog article as an email.
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Then, each day, in my “Three Minute Bible Study” on my Facebook page, I will dig a little deeper into the discipline and give encouragement and help in growing in the discipline.
If you haven’t yet “Liked” my Facebook page, please do that as well. You will then receive my “Three Minute Bible Study” in your Facebook feed when I publish it each morning just before 8 am.
Now, let’s get started with meditation.
A common way to introduce a person to Christianity is to invite them to church. We surround them with people who show them what Jesus looks like. We like to start Christianity with a large group of people.
That’s a great way to begin, but growing in a deeper faith means getting away from the crowd. It means just you and God. It involves one-on-one time.
Meditating is the first step to one-on-one time with God but it is very foreign to the way we live our lives and practice our faith. Our plugged in lives means that even with church we are always receiving information, sorting it, dismissing most of it, and grabbing a few sound bites that appear juicy.
Meditating introduces us to the unplugged side of life. It requires us to turn off everything.
Set the smartphone out of arm’s length and silence it. Turn off the TV and get away from the computer. Find a comfortable chair–but sit upright, with a straight back so you’re not tempted to doze off!
As a Christian, you are not emptying your mind when you meditate. You are opening your mind to God. You hope to focus only on the way God works in your life in that moment.
The first challenge to meditating successfully might be learning how to get quiet. At first, simply work on finding a quiet place, sit very still for five minutes, and concentrate on your breath entering and leaving your body.
Maybe, on the first try, that is as far as you get. If so, be glad about it!
Once you are able to sit quietly and breath without anxiousness then try one of these three approaches to meditating.
Focus on God’s Creation
Think about the image of the bamboo water pipe at the top of this article. Think about the water flowing out of the pipe. Remember that God is the Lord of all creation. Think on the beauty of the water God has made. Imagine its sound. Rejoice in the water God gives us for life.
Focus on Scripture
Choose a scripture like “Rejoice in the Lord always!” (Phil 4.4) Breath it to God. Then begin to think on all the things for which you can rejoice–your family, your job, and your home. See them in your mind’s eye and rejoice! Hold each one up in your mind and rejoice over them!
Focus on Receiving from God
In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster gives a great example of this form of meditation. Sit with your palms down on your knees and imagine giving God the things that weigh you down–heartaches, anger toward another, concerns, questions, and doubts.
Then, after waiting for a minute or two, turn your palms up. Ask God to bless you. Ask God to give you peace for your specific heartache, to see the one who angers you as God sees them, to answer your questions, and to carry your doubts.
Listen and wait for God.
This is a start. Give it a try. Begin with five minutes and move to ten or fifteen as you are able. Go now to the “Three Minute Bible Study” and we’ll focus on a specific scripture.
Feel free sharing your experience meditating. How was it for you? What did you learn?