There is no better time than Easter to learn and practice this ancient foundational art! I want to share this part of my life with you because it is key, life changing, and the basis of any and all good in me. Silent meditation or hearing God speak to me, is how I accomplish all the activity in my life and do it well. I have to speak up about this. No other activity can take place of my blessed dependence on God alone in a silent room. I speak because many of you have asked me to speak honestly about “how I do what I do.” If I don’t share this with you, then I am taking the credit that God deserves.
When did meditation become real for me? Sixteen years ago, I moved to Cambodia with high dreams of attaining much in helping others and starting a life of adventure. I kinda figured that the spiritual walk would come easy for me (naive, I know!). I assumed since I was doing a good work for God, that He would bless me with a dynamic filling of Him each day. Little did I know that being far from my spiritual mentors, church of any sorts, Christians, and a Biblical culture would drain my spirituality to. . well. . ZERO.
It didn’t take long till I felt empty inside, far from God, facing temptation, unhappy, hot, culture shock, and going through the motions. I spent the next 5 years learning to deal with this by participating in Bible studies and attending church in another language. Still, I can tell you that hearing God’s voice was occasional at best. I was doing good but not feeling filled. This changed when I learned to pray. Through reading about prayer, I was led to meditation, dwelling in God’s love and acceptance, and being filled by BEING with Him. Here are the questions I began to ask. . .
“Why don’t Christians talk about meditation?”
“Is meditation in the Bible?”
“Does meditation have an important part of my life?”
I have sought the answers for myself and want to share some conclusions with you.
I began contemplating the beginning. At Creation, before any religion was conceived, there was meditation. God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. A beautiful scene walking hand in hand with the Maker who created relationships for Himself. In this garden all provisions are met, not a tear until separation began. Then there was Enoch who walked with God and then just disappeared. Wow. I have sat and thought about this example and the fact that the Bible kind of stops here a sec and allows us to see how this one man stands out. He learned to listen to an unseen God. I began to see that Meditation is us being restored to our original true place as God’s creation being blessedly dependent on the God of all. Our quiet waiting on the Maker to be made one with Him and learn to dialogue and walk hand in hand again.
Secondly, I came to realize that meditation is explained throughout the Bible but the words are often overlooked. Phrases such as presence of God, waiting on God, listening to God, being still, etc. When I began to see these examples throughout the Bible, I realized that this is meditation. I began thinking about the lives of the saints who came before us and how they meditated. Moses was on that mountain for 40 days. I contemplated what those days looked like. I had to realize that he was not catching up on Facebook or watching Netflix:)
Third, Psalms is a book of meditation and I began looking at this book as my guide. As I’ve read about God’s sovereignty in Psalms, I’ve come to realize that all creation waits on God (Ps. 104:27). If we were like the animals with no free will, we too would be with him day and night like the rest of His creation. Darn it free will! It’s always messing with me! I’ll share a few amazing life-changing examples from Psalms in part 2.
Lastly, there are many people who have practiced meditation, listening to God, waiting on God and have written about it. “Practicing the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence Andrew Murray has many resources about meditation my favorite being “Waiting on God.” After reading these and many other stories, I realized that it was foundational for me to hear from God in meditation.
What Is Meditation?
This is my personal definition of meditation:
“Meditation is an act of faith in my absolute need and absolute guidance from God, in harmony with God. Meditation is unity displayed by God, Jesus, and His Holy Spirit in me. Perfect harmony found from inside of me and not dependent on my outside world. Found in quiet moments set aside for His purpose.”
Meditation is not depending on articles, books, sermons, as my MAIN source of hearing from God but getting quiet with Him and expecting Him to speak to little Ole me.
How Do I Meditate?
- I set aside my best time of the day for Him. I began this journey by pleading with God for His help and the filling of the Holy Spirit to meditate. I want Him to teach me. I know He will give me however much of Him I desire so I am clear to begin by telling Him that I want all of Him. I ask His help because I am incapable being that I am human and have the craziest wandering mind ever! I pray that He would take away anything in my life that comes between Him and me. These are dangerous prayers and I don’t regret it a bit. Although, I will tell you that prayers like this will change your life.
- After a time of worship and focusing on the trinity and each of their glorious roles, I open my Bible to Psalms. This book is filled with meditation and reflections from meditation. I’m not going to say where you should start but God will tell you as He did for me. I began seeing the Psalms as meditation and prayer to guide my thoughts.
- At times, I clear my schedule and mind for as many days as I can allow at a time (usually 1, this is still a journey for me too). I spend time repenting. I remind myself that there are Godly saints around this world who fast and pray for days. Many of them. I live in an epidemic of noisy religion instead of a peaceful one that depends on God for all things. Among the saints this is considered a disease, I repent and am free. I’ve realized that my culture is a part of me and the sins of my culture are also in me. I recognize that I am often lukewarm in my pursuits towards God. I ask for God’s help to find true religion: loving God and loving others. I am incapable of the second command until I figure out meditation first. It is in my waiting on God that I find love and the ability to love.
- I expect to hear from God. I agree to not move until I do. I know that God, being sovereign, is in control of my day and staying with Him is never a waste of time. I remind myself that many people around the world are joining me. They may live in Syria, China, or America but they are my brothers and sisters dependent on Him.
- I know that my mind is weak and keeping my thoughts fixed on Him for long periods of time is hard, takes practice, but is doable. If you find your mind wandering off, just gently bring it back to focusing on Him. I will take a break and sing a few songs, read a few passages, then continue again.
There is so much more to share and I feel words don’t explain half of it. If this spoke to you, continue to follow the next 2 parts of this series as I work at putting to words something so mysterious to me.
Please feel free to share comments including your own experience. If you would like to share these 3 posts, please let me know. Thank you!
Next: How my life changed with meditation and how your life can change too.