Meditation? Isn’t that where you cross your legs, put your palms together, close your eyes and hum? A lot of people associate the idea of meditation with Eastern religions, and many dismiss it as useless. But meditation—of a different kind—is actually biblical. It is one of the essential spiritual tools Christians need to draw close to the true God.
Scripture reveals that your mind is something of a spiritual battlefield. The Apostle Paul makes an interesting statement in Ephesians 2:2: He calls the devil “the prince of the power of the air.” Herbert W. Armstrong explained that this refers to Satan’s ability to “broadcast” his negative attitudes, moods and impulses into human minds. And the human mind is naturally tuned into that broadcasting. Evidence of this broadcasting is all around us in the world: People everywhere display attitudes of self-centeredness, lust, greed, vanity, jealousy, envy, resentment, competition, strife, bitterness and hate that Satan promotes.
To resist those broadcasts takes effort. Meditation is a tool that helps you to do that and to focus your mind on God: His Word, His law, His ways.
Meditating on God’s Word helps rid your mind of Satan’s influence and brings you closer to God your Father and Jesus Christ your Savior. It helps you get to know them personally. Like a son or daughter spending time beside his or her dad as he works or talks, you will understand more and more who they are, how they act, and how they treat others.
If you pray to God and study His Word, but you do not meditate, you will not be close enough to God and strong enough to resist the influence of Satan. If you are praying and studying only, then you are only running on half the cylinders in your spiritual engine. Biblical meditation will deepen your prayer and your study and help you become more motivated to do both, making you a stronger spiritual Christian.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is simply thinking deeply on a topic—focusing on and contemplating it, whether physical, philosophical or spiritual. Truly obeying God’s instruction in the Bible requires you to devote concentrated, meaningful thought to Him and His Word.
1. What kind of thoughts does God want you to think? Philippians 4:8.
2. Does God intend for you to learn by example? 1 Corinthians 10:11.
God has provided multiple examples for us in His Word, both positive and negative. Many of those who lived righteous lives that we are to emulate meditated on God, His Word and His law.
3. Who is one person that the Bible records meditated deeply? Psalm 8.
Note in the subhead of this psalm that it was written by David. This man thought deeply about God and what He was doing with human beings and the rest of His creation. Psalm 8 records his thoughts about the awesome power of God and His purpose for man. Without spending time focused on God’s majesty, power and brilliance, King David would not have been as deeply in awe of God.
4. How did God describe King David? Acts 13:22.
To become so close to God, David had to spend time with Him. He did that through prayer, study and meditation. He thought about God, His plan and His will. He applied God’s commandments in his day-to-day life. He thought about ways to please Him by obeying Him. And he set an example for us of how to become people “after God’s own heart.”
5. What else did David meditate about? Psalm 139:17-18.
David thought about God frequently and in depth: the works of His hands, His plan, His purpose for mankind, His will for David in the situations he faced. David invested a great deal of time thinking deeply about God and recognized that he could spend many lifetimes trying to comprehend the sum of His thoughts!
6. What subject does another author focus on in his meditation recorded in Psalm 119? Verses 97-99.
When meditating, you can meditate on God’s greatness or His plan for man or something more specific, like His law, as Psalm 119 does. This author thought so much about this one aspect of God that he ultimately wrote 176 verses about the many facets of His law.
7. Did Moses teach that the law was so important that it deserved a great deal of meditation? Deuteronomy 6:4-7.
Through Moses, God gave the people of Israel this admonition before rehearsing His laws with them. He instructed them to keep the law constantly in their thoughts.
8. What are some benefits of meditating on the law? Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:1-3.
Meditation can help make God’s law an active part of your day. In the morning, take a few minutes to consider your thoughts and actions the previous day, and to organize your prayer before you begin. You may be able to do something similar around midday and again in the evening. Compare your actions to God’s law. Ask yourself which of God’s commandments applied to which situation and whether you kept those commandments. Ask yourself how you can please God more. Perhaps even jot down notes in your journal, day planner or notebook. When in these thoughts you recognize that you have broken His law, repent and ask God for forgiveness and help to obey Him.
Topics of Meditation
Besides God and His law, what else should we meditate on?
1. Your Bible study
As you study the Bible each day, it is easy to overlook many lessons in what you are reading (1 Timothy 4:13, 15-16). Ask God to help you see and understand. Slow down and ask yourself questions. Think about the context of the passage you are studying. What is the historical significance? Why did the person do this or that? Was it right or wrong?
2. World events
The prophets, including Jesus Christ, spoke at great length about world events, past and future (Matthew 26:41; Luke 21:36). Large portions of the Bible are devoted to world events, especially disasters that result from sin. Jesus Christ prophesied that specific events would occur just before His return. A good chapter to meditate on is Matthew 24. Read it, read world news, and meditate on how many of Christ’s end-time prophecies are taking place.
3. World history
It can be inspiring to meditate on the lives of great men and women. Through your study and meditation you will realize that nothing has been more constant throughout history than war. Think about the contrast between man’s violent history (James 4:1-3) and the prophesied time of peace when God will take over world rule (Micah 4:1-4), and you will yearn more and more for Christ’s return.
4. Your blessings
God emphasizes in 2 Timothy 3:2 that many in the end time would be unthankful. It is easy to overlook blessings that come from God. Therefore take some extra time to think deeply about all the blessings you have!
Stop to consider the immensity of the universe, as David did in Psalm 19:1. Look at the created world around you and marvel at the miracles of light, water, geology, plant and animal life and their intricate interactions. Devote thought to the miracle of the organs and systems that make up the human body and the wonder that is the human mind (Psalm 139:14).
Meditate on God. Meditate on His Word. Take time to sit back and think about what you have studied, what you are about to pray about, the things that have happened in your life today, or the news of the world. Consider the examples God recorded in the Bible.
Do this, and you will strengthen and deepen your spiritual relationship with your Savior Jesus Christ and God your Father.