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What is Biblical Meditation? Unlocking this Truth.

Updated: Jan 27

Hold up! Meditation? Isn't that just for people who love burning incense and chanting mantras? The word meditation often conjures up images of crystals, new age, and people with their legs crossed humming.


There is definitely a Christian form of meditation; the relationship between prayer and meditation has been a hot topic for a long time. Some people believe that prayer is a more powerful form of meditation, while others see it as a completely different practice.

So, what's the answer? Is prayer a type of meditation, or are they completely separate? To get a better understanding of their relationship, we need to take a closer look at each one and what they offer.


Once we have a good grasp of both prayer and meditation on their own, we can then look at how they relate to each other and work together.


man meditating

How does biblical meditation differ from secular meditation?


I think before we get into the meat of the article, I want to explain that there is definitely a difference between Christian and secular meditation.


Secular meditation is like taking a leisurely stroll on a beautiful, sunny day. It can certainly bring about a sense of tranquility and inner peace, but this is all self-manifested. Let me tell you, Christian meditation is like embarking on that same hike with Father God and a roadmap (the bible) in hand. It elevates the journey to a whole new level, all the while providing divine guidance on how to discover the true treasures along the way.


Christian meditation is a practice of focusing on spiritual concepts such as God's presence and strength, while secular meditation mainly concentrates on relaxation and breathing exercises designed to calm the mind. Christian meditation usually involves saying prayers, creating mental images of spiritual messages, or spending time in silent reflection on biblical passages.


New Age or Far Eastern spiritual meditation typically involves chanting mantras, letting go of negative feelings, and achieving complete mental focus.


Secular mindfulness meditation is a practice of staying present and being aware of your surroundings. It focuses on controlled breathing to help maintain focus and awareness rather than being overwhelmed by external noise or becoming overly distracted.


In contrast to other spiritual practices involving repetitive mantras, Biblical meditation, following Christ's commandment of avoiding meaningless words when praying, embraces a different type of connection with God.


Biblical meditation isn't about "emptying your mind" but rather filling it with God's Word, which is a much safer practice than mindfulness without instruction from scripture, because we can be exposed to deceiving spirits that can lead us away from worshiping Him authentically.


We should not view meditation as something mysterious or out of the ordinary. Christian meditation should be something that we seek to practice daily.


Christian Prayer Vs Meditation: The Biblical Answer


In spiritual and biblical practices, there is an important difference between prayer and meditation. Though they may look similar on the surface, prayer, and meditation are actually two distinct activities that will often complement one another. Both can help to cultivate a deeper relationship with God and make great gains in personal growth. I encourage you to implement both in your life.


What Is Prayer?


Prayer is communication with God in which we express our thoughts and feelings to Him. It is an act of worship that allows us to open up to God and pour out our hearts before Him.


Prayer can be done silently or out loud. It can take many forms, such as singing, speaking, writing, or even just thinking about God.


Through prayer, we can thank God for His blessings and ask for His help in times of need. We can also use prayer to repent and seek forgiveness from Him.


Prayer is an important part of the Christian faith and helps us build a closer relationship with God.


What Is Meditation?


Joshua 1:8 instructs us to meditate on the Book of the Law both day and night so that we may experience prosperity and success.

Meditation is all about taking the time to listen to what God has to say while reading scripture passages and studying the Bible. It's a way to focus on smaller portions of the Bible in order to deepen our understanding of its teachings. While meditating, we ruminate on the scripture and give it thoughtful reflection.


Also, another form of meditation is contemplating, thinking about, and pondering about God and his works.


Finally, in a biblical sense, to meditate means to ponder, consider, chew on, ruminate, and mull over the scripture. Christian meditation is full of content and context. It is thoughtful, not thoughtlessness, like secular meditation.


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You Can Blend Meditation and Prayer Together


Enhancing your spiritual connection with God can be achieved by incorporating both prayer and meditation into your daily routine. These two practices, though distinct, complement each other and deepen your relationship with God when practiced together.


One way to merge these spiritual disciplines is to begin with a prayer, asking God to reveal his truth to you before reading scripture. Then, after meditating on the scripture, pray the verse you just read or have a conversation with God about what you have learned. This integration of prayer and meditation leads to a more profound and meaningful connection with God.


The Importance of Biblical Meditation


As believers in Christ, it is our life's journey to develop an intimate relationship with God. There are ways to do it and ways not to. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:6 that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him! You have to ask yourself, what is seeking him diligently?


I believe it is more than saying a couple of prayers, reading a few verses, and going out the door in the mornings. I see this as something that is treasured in our hearts. We value our relationship with God, and it's not something superficial.


I must admit I am one that is notorious for superficial relationships in life. The only person in my life with whom I have a deep, meaningful relationship is my wife. Sure, I love my children and my friends who are in my life, but the question is, how deep of a relationship do I have with them?


See, I can do the same with God, and I must be careful. I can be the one who says a quick prayer, reads a verse, and races out the door in the mornings. I have that type of personality, but I find myself saying I want more! I want to dive deeper with God.


This is where meditation comes in. When doing so, we really see what the Word of God says on a deeper level. We get God's opinion on it. Many times, through meditation, it can show us more than what we were reading. The dots start connecting in our lives. Also, the golden nuggets are revealed to us more so.


When walking away from being with God, I want to be refreshed and revitalized, not as if I did my duty and can check it off as if I completed some task!


The reason so many Christians plateau in their spiritual walk with God is that they never enter true times of meditation with God.


Therefore, meditation is so important.


person journaling

Practical Prayer Tips


1. Pray regularly. Make a prayer life priority and be consistent.


When we make prayer a priority, we are saying to God that he is important to us. You can do this even if you have a busy life. I have stated in another article that we should have a lifestyle of prayer, and it should be throughout the day. BUT I think there is a time of the day when God should know that you are showing up. As you do, you will see a huge difference in your life and relationship with Father God.


2. Know who God is


What I mean by this is that we need to know who he is. It's like having a big brother as a kid growing up. You know no one is going to mess with you because you know who your big brother is. We gotta know who God is. How big he is, how good he is, how loving he is, how merciful he is, and much more! When you have this exceptional knowledge, it takes your times of prayer to another level.


3. Be genuine as you speak with God: express your heart to him.


Don't make your prayer time like you are talking to King Charles in "Elizabethan English" or a religious practice. It's not all about a certain style of prayer. Make your times of prayer as genuine as possible. Speak your heart and feelings to him. He is your Abba Father, an intimate way of saying, Father God. I know Father God is way more than my earthly father, but I never went to him speaking like I am addressing Lord Dennis (my father's name).

 

4. Pray in faith and the Word of God.


The Bible says in Hebrew 11:6, that without faith, it is impossible to please him (God). We need to approach God in faith. We need to believe his written word and know that he is working in our lives. Do I always go to God in prayer, full of zeal and faith? Do I always go to him with power and might? NO! I do not.


Sometimes, I am mad or upset. Sometimes I cry about a certain situation in my life, and it doesn't look too pretty. BUT I can tell you this; I am very mindful that the way I am acting is not appropriate. Stomping my feet and being a baby doesn't move mountains.


Speaking and praying God's Word in faith gets the job done. We need to practice speaking the life of His Word and not death and doubt.


5. Be thankful


We should always be thankful for what God is doing in our lives. To anyone, I always say we have something to be thankful for. I can see; I am thankful. I can hear; I am thankful. I can speak; I am thankful. There is a roof over my head; I am thankful. The list goes on.


Being thankful is not only an outward expression to the Lord, but it's a huge benefit for you! As you are expressing gratitude in your heart, it's as if faith and a confident hope rise within you. We see who God is even more so! It supercharges our prayer life!


6. Change up your prayer atmosphere


We have to be diligent in protecting our prayer time. One thing that can creep in is staleness. Prayer time needs to be kept fresh. I like to change things up. I can sit in my living room and pray. Then there are times I will take a walk and pray. I try to change it up. By doing so, my prayer times are fresh. I look forward to them. I know I am going to meet my Father God!


someone reading the Bible

Practical Meditation Tips


1. Expect God to speak


God wants to speak to us, but if we don't expect to hear from him or give him time to do so, it will only be a hindrance. You need to have an expectation of hearing from him, and when you do, you will. He will share with us about things in our lives; he will reveal opportunities and his plans for us. In the Bible, he will show us truths.


2. Find a quiet place with minimal distractions


I can't meditate on the Bible and hear from God in a crowded restaurant. There are many distractions, from people talking loudly to the server constantly coming and asking if I need something else.


I am not saying that we can't go there and study or read, but to truly have a deeply meaningful time of meditation, we need to find a quiet place. This can be in a quiet home, walking down a lonely road, or overlooking a lake.


Also, not only should we pick a place with minimal distractions, this means shutting off our phones or closing the notifications. Our cell phones can be a huge hindrance to us in a time of meditation.


3. Have a good translation of the Bible to read


When reading the Bible, we should pick out a good translation that we can read and not be a struggle. I like the "New Living Translation." There are people who prefer the "King James." That is great for them; I don't enjoy trying to read it. It can be difficult for me.


4. Consider other Bible tools that help you dig deeper


There are a lot of Bible software tools on the market. They are filled with reference books that will help you dig deeper into the Word of God. I like the Olive Tree, and I just loaded Logos Bible software on my computer. There are many great phone apps and online tools as well.


5. Journal your time with the Lord


Journaling is a great way to meditate and make it a part of your daily devotional. I have journaled many times, and it helps me break down things that are going on in my spirit. I know of people who make this a continued practice in their time in prayer and meditation. Some even have a different journal for each year. Journaling can definitely give you a great spiritual experience.


6. Have patience, and don't be in a rush


We live in a microwave society and make everything a race. We want it now. Many are not willing to spend the quality time needed to make a meaningful time of meditation. BUT if you are someone that wants this for your life, you are going to have to slow down and be patient. I can promise you, as you do, you will gain great ground in your relationship with God. It will be worth it and so rewarding.


woman praying

Conclusion


It is important to recognize the significance of prayer and meditation in our daily lives, similar to the importance of food and water. By making these practices a habit, we make Jesus the source of our spiritual nourishment and allow Him to work through us.


There is a difference between meditation and prayer, but they surely compliment one another. Knowing the differences and combining the two in our lives has become such a blessing.


By applying prayer and meditation in our daily lives, we will experience a greater sense of spiritual fulfillment as we make Jesus Christ the bread of our daily lives.


Scriptures on Biblical Meditation


Joshua 1:8; 1

Samuel 12:23;

Jeremiah 15:16; 29:13;

Hosea 10:12;

Mathew 6:33;

John 15:1-5;

Romans 12;

Philippians 4:8;

Ephesians 4:6; 5:20;

1 Timothy 4:15;

Hebrews 5:12-14; 11:6; 13:15;

James 1:5;

1 Peter 2:2;

1 John 4:10; 19


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between prayer and praise?


When we pray, we are communicating with our Heavenly Father, pouring out our hearts, and expressing our needs, desires, and concerns. It's a beautiful way to seek God's guidance, find comfort in His presence, and surrender to His will. In Matthew 6:7-8, Jesus reminds us not to babble in our prayers, but to come before God with sincere hearts, trusting that He knows what we need even before we ask Him.


On the other hand, when we praise, we are lifting up our voices and hearts in adoration and thanksgiving to God. It's a joyful response to who God is and what He has done for us. In Psalm 150:6, it says, "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!" Praise is not only a way to express our gratitude but also a powerful weapon against the enemy, as we read in 2 Chronicles 20:21-22.


So, prayer and praise go hand in hand. Prayer opens up the lines of communication with God, allowing us to bring our requests to Him, while praise magnifies His greatness and goodness, reminding us of His faithfulness and giving glory where it is due. Let us never underestimate the power of both in our walk with the Lord.


What does it mean in the Bible prayer without ceasing?


Prayer without ceasing is a powerful concept that the Bible encourages us to embrace. It means cultivating a constant awareness of God's presence and actively communicating with Him throughout our day. In Thessalonians 5:17, we are told to "pray without ceasing," reminding us of the importance of maintaining a continuous connection with our Heavenly Father.


Just as we engage in ongoing conversations with our loved ones, prayer without ceasing encourages us to have an ongoing conversation with God. It is not just about formal prayers or designated times of prayer, but rather a lifestyle of constant communication with our Creator. We can talk to God about any and every aspect of our lives, seeking His guidance, expressing our gratitude, and presenting our needs before Him.


Prayer without ceasing also means being aware that our communication with God is not limited to words alone. It involves listening to His voice, being attuned to His leading, and surrendering our will to His. It is a posture of dependence, humility, and trust. Just as a branch remains connected to the vine to receive sustenance, we need to remain connected to God through prayer to experience His power and guidance in our lives.


Does prayer change things?


Prayer, my friends, is not simply a recitation of words, but a powerful connection to our Creator. It is through prayer that we can experience the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. As the book of James tells us, "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective" (James 5:16).


When we come before God in prayer, we are acknowledging our dependence on Him and inviting His will to be done in our lives. It is a humbling experience that reminds us of our need for His guidance and intervention. In Matthew 18:20, Jesus says, "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." This shows us the incredible privilege we have to commune with our Savior through prayer.


Prayer not only changes things, but it also changes us. It aligns our hearts with God's heart and helps us to see the world through His eyes. As we pray, the Holy Spirit works within us, renewing our minds and transforming our desires. Romans 12:2 encourages us, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Prayer is a catalyst for this transformation, as we seek God's will and surrender our own.

So, my dear friends, let us never underestimate the power of prayer. Let us pray without ceasing, knowing that through our prayers, God can move mountains, change circumstances, and transform lives.

 

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Shawn Paul is an author and missionary who has been living and working in Central America for the past 10 years. He is passionate about living for Jesus Christ and inspiring others to do the same, which is the focus of his blog, where he shares his expertise in Christianity.


In addition to his missionary work, Shawn enjoys reading books, studying God's Word, growing plants and flowers, feeding birds, and keeping up with the latest technology.


As a writer, Shawn's unique perspective and passion for his faith shine through in his work. Shawn's goal for the future is to impact people around the world for Jesus through his writing and missionary work.



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