Meditation is something Christians usually steer away from, not just because of the busy world we live in, but because of the expectation that it has to look something like sitting on a yoga mat, humming away until you finally feel at peace. Despite this inaccurate depiction, the Bible encourages us to meditate.
So, what are Christian meditation exercises? Christian meditation exercises are ways to help you rest your spirit, worship God, and get to know His voice. Here are some techniques to help you recognize Jesus’ presence and rest in who He is and who you are:
- Meditate on Scripture
- Meditate on Borrowed Prayers
- Meditate through Worship
- Meditate through God’s Creation
- Meditate through Exercise
To understand the importance of Biblical meditation, let’s look at the purpose of meditation to begin.
The Purpose Of Meditation
Meditation is a way to soak up the presence of God, a way to get to know Him and His Word better. It’s growing in a relationship, not a ritual. Because we are His children, we don’t have to strive, we can abide in Him.
We meditate on God’s Word because it reveals Himself to us. It reminds us of what He’s done and how loving and awe-inspiring He is.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.Joshua 1:8 ESV
1. Meditating On Scripture
The great thing about meditation is that there are lots of ways to meditate on God’s Word. You can journal out a verse, read it aloud or in different translations, journal it through art, and write it in your own words.
The whole purpose of this is to know our Father and draw near to Him, writing His message on our hearts. We delight in Jesus and use His word as a tool to fight sin but also rest in who He is.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.Psalm 119:11 ESV
2. Meditating On Borrowed Prayers
Borrowed prayers are someone else’s words to pray when you don’t know what to say. Like meditating on scripture, you may recite one of King David’s prayers in a Psalm when you’re struggling to come up with your own words.
David writes some of the most heartfelt words in Scripture. The Psalms are words you can rest in and meditate on.
The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God.Psalm 51:17 CSB
Other borrowed prayers could be a prayer you heard from a trusted mentor or a short breath prayer. A breath prayer is saying a short praise to God when you breathe in and out.
An example of this would be to breathe in and say “I love you God” as you breathe out. Of course, you could substitute this phrase for anything you feel the Holy Spirit is putting on your heart.
Borrowed prayers can also come from poetry or the words of saints. However, let’s be sure not to put these words above scripture. But, we can still appreciate the deep, heartfelt words from these prayers. Listen to some of the lines of St. Patrick:
Christ be with me, Christ within me,St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer, stanza 8
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
Praying borrowed prayers like these can strengthen our faith, help us know that we’re not alone, and give us the courage to keep trusting Jesus even when our faith is running low.
3. Meditating Through Worship
There’s no other way to put it, worship is all about Jesus. It takes the focus off of ourselves and glorifies the name of God. He alone is in control, He alone deserves it all, and He alone can comfort us and rescue us.
He is a good God, a good, good Father, how could we not worship Him in all we say and do?
So, crank up that worship music and meditate on His goodness.
Worshipping is growing in your relationship with Jesus because all He really wants is your heart. Praising Him can draw you closer to the knowledge of His will, and it’s so easy to cast your cares on Him in this way and surrender all.
Worshipping isn’t just about singing or listening to music, the Bible tells us that we are to worship God in everything we say and do.
Wherever you are you can pause. You can worship. You can meditate on the goodness of God.
Jesus said we can worship in spirit and truth. We don’t need a production team, a worship band, or worship set to praise Him. We just get to dwell in His Spirit and soak up who He is.
4. Meditating Through God’s Creation
Have you ever taken a walk on the beach, or looked up at the trees as their leaves change colors during Fall and thought… Woah. Yeah, me too.
Creation is an expression of the character of God, He is Elohim, the Great Creator. He is the most creative being ever. He has given us the gift of His creation, not to worship the creation, but to worship Him.
Nature is awe-inspiring and magnificent. Sunsets, mountains, flowers, butterflies, whatever piques your interest or suits your fancy, it’s a way that God expresses His love for us. Enjoying nature and His creation is an act of worship, an act of meditation.
We can meditate on how thunderstorms showcase His power, how puppies display His playfulness, and how the stars at night dazzle us with the knowledge of His infiniteness. The list goes on and on.
What’s your favorite aspect of creation and how can you meditate on who God is through that? It’s a fun exercise, and a whole new way to worship Him.
You can go on a walk and mediate on God’s creation. Praise Him for the wonderful creation He has made.
5. Meditating Through Exercise
God gave us the amazing ability to train our minds and bodies. If the idea of exercise as meditation scares you a bit, there’s no reason for you to go hardcore and overwork yourself. This is about meditating on God and worshipping Him.
We can meditate on His goodness by lightly stretching in the morning or at night, recognizing that He’s given us this body, this temple, to worship Him in.
My favorite exercise to remind myself of how fun and cool God is is to do a dance workout. I’ll play some fun worship music and dance in His presence while remembering how good He’s been to me.
If you’re not into these ideas, maybe taking a simple walk would be the best choice. Walking leisurely helps us to clear our head, slow us down, and refocus on what matters.
We can walk on our favorite nature trail, taking us back to meditating on God through His creation. Or, we can worship Him by calming our breathing as we walk, reminding ourselves that God is holding us and loves us.
It’s all about Relationship
No matter which meditation technique you choose, know that Jesus is with you every step of the way. This isn’t about following some ritual, it’s about the relationship you have with Jesus and resting with Him.
He loves and cares for you deeply. He wants you to have peace and take time to spend pouring out your heart to Him.
No doubt there will be different times in your life when you’ll prefer one meditation exercise over the other, but when you’re needing true, deep, rest, know that that comes from knowing the Father and dwelling in His love and on every good thing.
He is our savior and friend, always with. He is always leading us in our meditation.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.Philippians 4:8 ESV