Psalm 19:14 – May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (NIV)
Psalm 104:33-34 – I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord. (NIV)
Whenever I read articles urging me to meditate, my instant reaction is to ask questions. For me, meditation conjures up images of people practising yoga, or saffron-robed monks who spin prayer wheels in oriental temples. Similarly, some Christian teachers confuse the issue by using "a meditation" to mean a short sermon, a devotional, a Christian essay, or even prayer itself. But the practice of meditation is much more than that. For Christians, what is meditation?
I do know what meditation is not. It is not ruminating, worrying, or obsessing about pleasing God, being in His perfect will, gaining answers to prayer, or fretting over our failures. That is not meditation. It is depression.
In reading The Treasury of Andrew Murray, published by Fleming H. Revell Company, I came across his chapter on meditation. On pages 201-203, he states that in meditation, the "heart holds and appropriates the Word." In meditation, "the heart takes it in and feeds on it." Murray continues: "Meditation is the heart turning towards God with His own Word, seeking to take it up into the affection and will, into its very life. Another element of true meditation is quiet restfulness." Again, Murray states, "In meditation the personal application takes prominent place." He adds, "The chief object is to appropriate and experience. A readiness to believe every promise implicitly, to obey every command unhesitatingly, to 'stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.'" Meditation exercises faith, surrenders to God's will completely, and receives the assurance of "grace to perform our vows. And then meditation must lead to prayer."
When we meditate, we quietly think about a Scripture. When Scripture promises or specific thoughts or situations come to mind, we may jot them down in a journal or a notebook, listing an appropriate response or action. In this way, we apply the passage. During this process, perhaps a song will come to mind, and as we allow ourselves the freedom to sing, the words of praise will percolate through our souls. In this fellowship with God, a sense of God's peace and presence will fill us. Slipping into prayer will become natural, like breathing. Then this sense of God's presence will become our constant companion as we face life's daily challenges. To sum up, meditation ponders God's Word, applies it to life, then prays or sings God's praises while living by grace.
Prayer: Almighty God, illumine the pages of Scripture as we read, and shine Your searchlight on those places in our lives where You would have us apply it. Guide us each day and accompany us throughout any trials. Grant us grace through Christ Jesus to praise You in everything, for we ask this in our Lord's name. Amen.
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