Someone very close to me once said that meditation was anti-Christian. Their thoughts on this was that meditation is generally associated with far eastern cultures, namely Buddhism. We all know that Buddhist monks can spend years meditating, trying to gain their eternal enlightenment. I can see why people generally associate meditating with anti-Christian thoughts. Did you know that the Bible also speaks of meditating?
My curiosity got the best of me today and I decided to do some research on Christians and meditation. This all started out on a blog post about something called “The Daily Examen” that I read on the Healthy Spirituality blog. (This blog has been added to my blogroll.)
The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience. (from Ignatian Spirituality)
Basically, this is a concept used to meditate on God about your daily life. This religious activity was developed by St. Ignatius Loyola as a means to get very close with God, while sharing all of your highs and lows pertaining to a 24 hour period. After reading about “The Daily Examen”, I began to wonder if meditating was actually against Christian beliefs. I know that there are Catholic monks in the world, but I do not have a clue as to what their spiritual walk is like and if they meditate or not.
I quickly jumped over to my Online Bibles and searched the word “meditate”. Eighteen different instances of the word “meditate” can be found in the New King James version, while only 14 verses contain “meditate” in the NIV. It is still there, though.
We are told throughout the Bible to meditate on God’s works, on God’s promises, God’s statutes, on His unfailing love, His mighty deeds, His decrees, His wonders, and on His precepts and ways.
Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8-9:
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
The God of peace will be with you! Did you get that? There are many people out there that lack peace of heart and peace of mind that could probably use a refresher course on how to obtain such peace. The Bible states it very plainly: we MUST meditate. Psalms 119:97 talks of meditating “all day long”. Joshua 1:8 says that we should meditate day and night. How can we start to receive what the God of peace is wanting to give us? We must meditate on all of the things stated previously.
Meditate is defined as “reflecting upon or contemplating. To think or reflect in a calm, deliberate manner.” This is a different act from prayer. Many people think they can be one and the same. They are not. Prayer involves speaking to God, while meditation involves reflecting and contemplating what God is doing in our lives.
The Daily Examen is a great way to unleash the power and start to train yourself in the habits of Christian meditation. The same five steps used in The Daily Examen, could also be well suited for those of you that keep spiritual journals. I think that incorporating this in to a daily habit could only be a good thing and may even bring you more joy and happiness in your walk with Christ.
What are your thoughts on Christian meditation? Do you practice Christian meditation? How has Christian meditation worked in your life? Have any tips for someone seeking to find peace through Christian meditation? I would love to hear your comments on this issue and may even incorporate them in to a future article on this issue. Please leave your comments and God Bless!