The Christian Response To Meditation? Do it Differently

The number of Americans who practiced meditation in 2017(14.1%) is 10% higher than the number from just five years ago(4.1%). Children are getting in on the act as well. 5.4% of children practiced meditation compared to just .6% in 2012.*

Yet, the response to this growth from Christians has been non-existent. Here in this so-called secular age, thousands and maybe millions of people are participating in a spiritual practice and embracing spirituality and Christians aren’t noticing and aren’t responding and aren’t presenting the Christian alternative to secular meditation.

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Photo by Kelvin Valerio on Pexels.com

A year and a half ago, I committed to a short blog series on meditation. I asked, “Should Christians meditate?” and I talked about my own experience with Christian meditation. Since then, I have had the chance to speak to a group of leaders on my campus about meditation. In that preparation, I discovered this explanation from Tim Keller on the practice, “Meditation is taking the truth down into our hearts until it catches fire there and begins to melt and shape our reactions to God, ourselves, and the world.”

Like the cow’s process of rumination, or chewing over again, we should take the steps of embracing God’s truths, largely through scripture, and letting them be considered, turned over in our mind, sink into our hearts, and find not just the truth in them but God’s presence in them.

The Christian version of meditation is full, robust, life-giving, a “room full of marvels” and not dependent on our skill or expertise. As long as we can take the time and invite God to be with us and speak with us, He will show up and fill us with his presence. God is doing the heavy lifting, we just have to be willing to surrender to him in that moment.

As Christians, we should be experts on meditation in its proper form and should be practitioners of it. We have a chance to show the world the richness of this kind of encounter with God.

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Every Morning Is Different

I like my schedule and I am a creature of routine. I have even shared my Morning Routine here on the blog. But, I have learned to be okay with my rather varied practices and to not be so rigid that I turn every morning into a legal practice that has success/failure outcomes.

For example, on the mornings I run, I will listen to a daily entry from the Pray As You Go app. The mixture of song, scripture, and reflection hits all the marks for me – from scripture reading, prayer, and meditation. When I am not running, my mornings might start with a video meditation, or a reading of scripture, or short time of prayer. Sometimes, I just need more sleep and I unashamedly close my eyes for another 10-15 minutes. Some mornings, I just write on the blog and bang out an entry and do nothing else.

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As someone who has previously mapped out an hour and a half schedule each morning full of exercise, reading, prayer, and writing, to not have these constraints and more importantly, be okay with not having these constraints has been freeing. I am not advocating less discipline or that our prayer time or scripture reading doesn’t deserve our utmost intention, what I am presenting is the permission to lighten your spiritual load, not to be lazy but to be more fruitful.

By letting your routine have a little flexibility, you create grace with yourself and you start to see the big picture of your spiritual growth rather than the minute to minute pass/fail. Growing Up in Christ is a lifelong endeavor; we won’t miss out on Christlikeness if we fail to read the Bible for a full 15 minutes today. But if we throw out the entire practice because we can’t ever seem to get our schedule or motivation to work out right, then we are not Growing Up.

So, despite what may be going on this day, I try to make the following a priority during the week: meditation, prayer, scripture reading, writing, reading a book on Christian living or Spiritual Growth, and music. I may not get to each one every day but by the end of the week, I will have read a couple of chapters in the Bible, written a blog post, reflected on scripture or a truth about God, intentionally listened to music to quiet my soul and mind, and prayed for specific needs and growth.

For your purposes, make a list of your own spiritual priorities and schedule these things out if you find it helpful and it keeps you moving toward a goal. Just make sure the doing is more important than the scheduling and be gentle with yourself.

Christian Life Hacker 101: Christians Can Meditate Too

Back in 2009, Paul McCartney reunited with Ringo Starr during a benefit concert. This event marked the first time that the two surviving Beatles had performed together since 2002. What was the cause that brought out these legends of Rock and Roll? Transcendental Meditation (TM).

Film director David Lynch was hosting this concert to help raise money for his Foundation, which is trying to get TM to be a part of the curriculum of public schools. In this form of Eastern meditation, the idea is to empty your mind of everything so that you can be connected to a transcendent consciousness.

This form of meditation is in stark contrast to Christian meditation, which instead of emptying the mind seeks to fill the mind with God. Psalms 1 describes a person who is so delighted in God that he “meditates on his law day and night.” Eastern meditation wants to remove all desires while Christian mediation wants to increase in what God desires. Eastern Meditation wants to bring the individual to a trance like state while Christian mediation wants to bring the individual to a worshipful state.

Christians should not be alarmed if they hear someone discussing Christian meditation. They should not think that their faith has been overrun by Eastern religious influences. They should realize that spending time filling one’s mind with thoughts of God, his words from scripture, his love, and work on Earth, could be one of the most beneficial practices they could ever participate in.