Meditation is the first discipline listed in this series. I have written on this before in the post “Lectio Divina” as a result of the Buddhist and Hindu influence in the health and fitness culture. So many Christians fall for numerous religious buzz words that sound “Christian”, but aren’t. Therefore, I am re-posting “ Lectio Divina” and expanding on it. You are certainly encouraged to follow the series in “Celebration of Discipline” by Richard J. Foster.Some of what Foster has to say in Chaper 2: Eastern meditation has the goal of emptying one’s mind; whereas, the Christian’s goal is to fill one’s mind. It is to hear God’s voice and obey. Meditation is drawing closer to God to hear His voice and to be changed. Instead of detachment, we are to attach ourselves spiritually to God. We are shown areas in our lives that are in need of transformation in our everyday, mundane lives. It should not be hurried. Instead, we must slow down in order to spend time with our Lord.
“I have been amazed and concerned about the misconceptions Christians have with meditation. Some believe that reading a daily devotional such as Our Daily Bread is meditation. Others believe it is okay to sit still cross-legged with palms up on one's knees and chanting is Christian meditation. While many others put down Lectio Divina as a demonic practice without researching what it truly is. Numerous Christians try buying Christian Meditation kits and studies when they truly don't need them! The marketing practices for these kits and studies rake in tons of money. This is free of cost. I would like to share with you the age-old practice of Christian meditation from an ancient monastic tradition as I learned in the Spiritual Formation class at Winebrenner Theological Seminary in Findlay, Ohio.
What you need: a quiet room, soft Christian music playing in the background if you want, a comfortable chair, highlighter, pen, notebook and a translation of the Bible you normally read (not a paraphrase). Please, no electronic devices in the room. You need quiet, uninterrupted time with God.
1. Begin with a common passage of Scripture by slowly reading through it, prayerfully asking God to speak to you through the passage. Some passages may be very difficult to read in this manner. Save those for regular Bible study. Thank Him for His goodness, grace and insight. Be ready to listen to God because you have set yourself before Him ready to learn from Him.
2. As you read, highlight anything that stands out to you repeatedly. Jot down any impressions you have about the passage. Continually pray as you read because it is only you and God in the room. Allow God to teach you through His Word.
3. Note any messages God gives you as you ponder the passage. You may find yourself re-reading the passage a few times. How does this passage speak to your own life? Are there changes He wants you to make? Things He wants you to do? An answer to prayer?
4. When you feel that it is time to end, take time to thank God for teaching you today. Give Him praise and glory! Ask Him for His help and guidance to put into practice what He has revealed to you.
5. If you have something He wants you to do, write it down and begin an action plan to put into practice what He is telling you. If there were no impressions, plan to meditate on this passage again unless the Lord says no. "Camping out" in a passage may happen quite often. Don't be discouraged if you have thoughts of your To-Do list or other things that have nothing to do with God's Word. Simply let them pass through and hang onto the ones that relate to the passage. Leave out ritualistic practices like palms up & palms down. Those have nothing to do with God. Set aside regular time with Him. Your relationship with God is the most important relationship you have. Nurturing it will change your life! May God bless you!”
Scripture passages for reflection in regard to meditation:
These passages are listed in Chapter 2 of Richard Foster’s book.