I steered clear of meditation, until I truly understood it.
My fear was that meditation required some mystic, new age mindlessness. I’d have to sit cross-legged and hum or groan and hold my breath, all while wearing a robe and listening to pan flute music.
Now I love it. No, not sitting cross-legged (ugh, that gets difficult when you’re over 40). I love meditation. Specifically, biblical meditation.
I believe that this meditation improves both prayer life and Bible study. Let me put it this way. Biblical meditation is not exactly prayer. It is not exactly Bible study. Biblical meditation is thinking about God, who appears in God’s Word.
This contemplation centered on the Bible, when partnered with prayer and Bible study, improves them both. Yes, it is very similar to both and sometimes the lines aren’t clear. That’s okay. It is still beneficial.
The person is “blessed” according to Psalm 1 “who meditates on [God’s] law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers” (vv. 1-3). The practice of meditating along with Bible study is like deepening one’s roots in the nourishing soil of God’s teaching (“law”).
The writer of Psalm 119 prays, “Remove from me [my enemies’] scorn and contempt, for I keep your statutes. Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees. Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.” (vv. 22-24). The practice of meditating along with prayer turns his focus from dangerous enemies to delightful truths of God.
Allow time in your Bible study and prayer life to linger unhurriedly, to contemplate and consider God, and to connect the dots in new ways as the Holy Spirit enlightens.
PRAYER: Help me slow down, Holy Spirit, to pause from my busyness and productivity, and to meditate more deeply on your divine words and works. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read Psalm 1. Slowly. What reasons does it give for you to improve the skill of biblical meditation? Spend a few moments meditating about the difference between a tree (v. 3) and chaff (v. 4).