If you’re new to Christian meditation, we get that it might be intimidating to know where to start. Christian meditation is fairly uncommon and its actually rarely preached about, so when looking to your local church for beginners tips, you may be hard-pressed to come up with real solutions. This post is to equip any beginner to start their own meditation journey in a Christ-centered way.
How do Christians practice meditation? There are a number of ways that Christians can choose to meditate. However, all Christian meditation must be based on Scripture. It is important to know that Christians do not meditate to empty the mind, but rather to be unified with the one, true God.
You will find 9 steps below to guide any beginner through the Christian meditation process. Keep in mind that they don’t need to be done in perfect order. And actually, nothing about this needs to be perfect, so go ahead and take the pressure off of yourself. The Lord knows your heart, and He will reward your efforts.
1. Know Why Meditation is Biblical
First things first, you must know why meditation is Biblical, and how it is practiced in the Bible. This first step will help you steer clear from other modern meditation that stems from opposing religions. It will also give you the knowledge necessary to invite Jesus into your meditation, as you learn how Biblical this practice is.
Our post, The Purpose Given by Scripture for Christian Meditation, will give you a deeper look at how and why meditation is Biblical.
We will list here some major benefits as to why a Christian should meditate;
- Nearness to God
- Insight & Wisdom
- Success & Prosperity
- Praising God
If you would like to find more Bible verses on Christian meditation, the post, Christian Meditation: Definition, Biblical Examples, & More, will inform you with even more Biblical examples.
Biblical references of meditation are:
- Genesis 24:63
- Joshua 1:8
- Psalm 1:1-2
- Psalm 19:14
- Acts 4:25
- Philippians 4:8
- 1 Timothy 4:15
Why is this Important?
It is important to know why the concept of meditation is Biblical because it gives freedom to the believer. They do not have to guess whether or not they are sinning and they also are equipped with Biblical examples of others who have gone before them. As a Christian, we should not participate in what is outside of the Bible, especially for spiritual practice, so to know that meditation is Biblical, is very important.
2. Choose What You Would Like to Meditate On
Choosing what you are going to meditate on is very also important. There is such a wide variety of topics, Scriptures, and words to choose from, that it might feel overwhelming to choose just one. But no worries, because you can always choose new meditation topics once you are finished with one.
What you choose to meditate on is important because it sets the stage for the entire meditation process. It also will dictate what you are choosing to fill your mind with, which from Scripture we have learned that it is very important to choose this wisely. Likewise, the meditation topic that you choose will be the working ground for how the Holy Spirit will minister to you.
Categories that Christians Meditate On
While I won’t deem this list as entirely extensive, it is safe to say that there are about 3 categories that Christians will choose to meditate on;
- Guided Meditation
- Biblical Words or Phrases
Let’s take a look at each one.
There are plenty of guided meditations online that you can choose from. These meditations should always be based on Scripture, and your meditation guide should be a follower of Jesus. If you would like any resources, check out our blog posts;
- Which Christian Meditation Podcasts to Listen To & Avoid
- 7 of the Best Apps for Daily Christian Meditation
- Where to Find Training & Books on Christian Meditation
In my personal opinion, this is the best category to meditate on, because you know it is pure, true, and the Word of God.
All meditation should be based on Scripture, so why not go right to the source.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.— Philippians 4:8
This is a very important Scripture reference to take into consideration for your meditation. What Paul is saying, is that we must meditate on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good, excellent, and praiseworthy. When we choose to meditate on something, are we filling our minds with what is of God? You will find topics of God within Scripture.
This is why meditating on Scripture is so important; Scripture is the truth that fits all qualifications that Paul lists for correct meditation.
Biblical Words or Phrases
A lot of times, it can be very effective to meditate on Biblical words or phrases. Even meditating on the name of Jesus, or on the term “Abba”, can be a powerful experience. You can meditate on Biblical words like Peace, Hope, Love. Speaking these over your life can cause a transformation. And phrases like “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1) or “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36), will remind you that you are a child of God, and that you are free in Christ.
Choose what you feel the Holy Spirit leading you to, ask the Lord to guide you, and access what you need in your spiritual life. This will help you decide which Biblical word or phrase to meditate on.
3. Find a Place to Meditate
This is crucial for your Christian meditation because you want to try your best to be entirely focused. It helps if you are comfortable and not distracted because it allows a wide-open space for the Holy Spirit to move.
A calm and comfortable place will provide you with the space and comfort you need to meditate. If you are feeling unsafe or uncomfortable, it may be very hard for you to focus on meditation. Find a place that you know you will be comfortable. Likewise, it must be a calm place. This is because our thoughts can be easily disrupted by our outside surroundings. When the space around us is calm and peaceful we will not be distracted, which allows us to go deeper into meditation.
4. Create an Appropriate Atmosphere
An appropriate atmosphere looks like the calm and comfortable place that we spoke about in Step 3, but it is also so much more than that. You must ask yourself what is more appropriate for you? Will your bedroom cause you to become sleepy? Sure, it is calm and comfortable, but not appropriate. If you will have a hard time focusing in your bedroom, try going outside. Outside can be very appropriate, especially if you have an easy time connecting to God through nature. If your living room is a hard place to meditate due to disruptions, try going out to your car.
There is actually a way to create an intentional atmosphere for meditation. These rooms are often called “prayer rooms” or “prayer closets”, but they will work just as well for meditation. Check out our post, Christian Prayer Room Ideas To Strengthen Your Faith. We really recommend this if you have the resources because they have proven to be quite helpful for meditation.
5. Invite The Trinity into the Meditation
When meditating, we must invite the Trinity into our hearts and minds, and into the time that we have set apart for Him. Invite the Lord into your spirit and mind, deliberately. Also, ask the Lord to forgive you of any sin in your life, because sin separates us from God.
Once you have invited God into your meditation, you are ready to move on to the next step.
Why is this Important?
Without the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, it would be very hard to meditate in a Christian way. We need the Trinity to minister to our hearts and to bring the knowledge from our mind, into our innermost being. This is where true transformation happens.
The Trinity is what sets Christian meditation apart from other forms of meditation. Christian meditation is an avenue for us to be connected and intimate with the creator-God, with the Most High. We are not emptying ourselves, we are actually being filled with the presence of God, and then the darkness must disappear.
6. Choose the Type of Meditation
Believe it or not, there are actually many different types of Christian meditation.
Amongst the different types are:
- Guided meditation
- Contemplative prayer
- Contemplative reading
- Meditating with the Trinity
- Lectio Divina: Biblical Meditation
- Meditations on the teachings
- Inviting God into the imagination
I have not listed every single type of Christian meditation, but that is a brief overview. Before you meditate, be informed on how each one works, so that you can choose the right one for you and the time that you are in.
To give you an idea, I will give an explanation of a few that I have listed. However, I would encourage you to look into each type further, to make sure you find the one that is right for you.
Guided meditation is recommended for beginners. It is when the meditation guide, the one walking you through the meditation, lays out each step for you, within your present meditation moment.
These can easily be found on podcasts. But, be leery, and watchful, always making sure that the meditation is performed by a Christian and is based solely on Scripture.
We ranked a number of these guided meditation podcats in our post, Which Christian Meditation Podcasts to Listen To & Avoid. So feel free to check them out, along with doing research of your own, to find the right one for you.
Contemplative prayer is a form of meditation. The term comes from both the Greek (theoria, contemplation or theory) and Latin (contemplatio, contemplation) terminology to describe various forms of prayer and the process of coming to know God. It is one of the oldest forms of meditation in the Christian tradition and actually can encompass many types of Christian meditation. Contemplative reading also falls under this category.
Contemplative Prayer is the focus of one’s mind on God through the spiritual disciple. It is a continuous repetition of a sacred Biblical phrase. The desire and outcome is to enter into an intimate union with God.
Lectio Divina: Biblical Meditation
“Lectio Divina literally means “divine word” or “divine reading”. It involves choosing a short passage from the scripture, memorizing it, and then repeating it silently for some minutes. During practice, all ideas, thoughts and images related to the passage are allowed to arise spontaneously in the mind” (Contemplative Prayer and Christian Meditation).
From Britannica, Hesychasm is defined; “in Eastern Christianity, type of monastic life in which practitioners seek divine quietness through the contemplation of God in uninterrupted prayer. Such prayer, involving the entire human being—soul, mind, and body—is often called ‘pure,’ or ‘intellectual,’ prayer…”
Hēsychia, in Greek, means quietness or stillness, and it is where the word hesychasm comes from.
“This school of practice emphasizes the need for having times of isolation and sensory deprivation so that direct communion with the divine can be achieved and sustained… The way of practicing is similar to that of centering prayer… The main difference is basically the sentence that is chosen for repetition, and the differences in theology behind the practice. Also, there are specific instructions for synchronizing the breathing with the prayer” (Contemplative Prayer and Christian Meditation).
7. Practice Breathing and Relaxing
It is always a good idea to relax when meditating. Often times you’ll find both Christian and Non-Christian meditations lead you through some form of relaxation and breathing exercises. These are techniques that actually allow your body to be more at ease and your mind to be more settled.
When you are in a relaxed state of mind, it is much easier and much more effective to meditate, allowing your own thoughts and body to move aside to make way for what God has for you spiritually.
It also has many health benefits. Research shows that it “can reduce anxiety, sharpen memory, treat symptoms of depression, promote more restful sleep, and even improve heart health” (Everyday Health).
Now, you must meditate. Using the tools and steps listed above, you should be well on your way to your first meditation.
Remember that there is no “pass” or “fail”, only a humble heart before the Lord. If you have invited Him into your meditation, you can be sure that you are honoring Him. God doesn’t expect perfection, but He does desire that we have hearts that want to honor Him.
So, as you meditate, keep in mind that it is all for His glory and that He has blessings for you through meditation. You will be drawn closer to Him and into His image. Remember that He cares for you and that He is always with you.
We thank God in our prayers to Him. And we thank Him even if we don’t feel like we had any spiritual change. This is because we trust that God is working all things together for our good and that sometimes He is very quiet and subtle with His movements in our hearts.
Whether or not you feel something new, thank God for the time that you had with Him in your meditation.
It is just a gift to be close to Him and to be able to draw near to Him. We mustn’t take this for granted.
After thanking God, we are able to reflect on the meditation through prayer with Him. We can pray to God and ask Him questions about the meditation, or pray about anything else for that matter. But since we’ve invited God into the meditation, we will close the mediation with Him through prayer.
You’re On Your Way…
You’re on your way to an incredible spiritual journey, as you discipline yourself to meditate. We know that is is a sacrifice of your time, but no time is wasted if it is spent with God.
Be encouraged to know that for thousands of years, others have gone before you on this path to unity and intimacy with God and that it will be more than worth it. People have dedicated their entire lives to meditation, often called monks, and they have seen the reward.
We understand that beginning to meditate as a Christian can seem daunting, and maybe even lonely if others around you don’t participate. But have no fear, because the Lord is with you.
…But whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his 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.”— Psalms 1:2-3
The Lord’s Word promises that those who meditate on His law will be prosperous.