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Time Out with God: Meditation

Meditation points the way to islands of calm in a world that moves all around us like waves of the sea. Meditation is a spiritual health habit that promise enormous benefits and blessings.

"Those who wait on the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."—Isaiah 40:31

"Meditation points the way to islands of calm in a world that moves all around us like waves of the sea"—Betty Lee Skinner.

What Is Meditation?

(Adapted from "A Primer on Meditation," NavPress)

  • It is appropriating the life of the Lord—Heb. 12:3.
  • It is time out—Matt. 6:6.
  • It is a key to unlocking provisions.
  • It is the molding of personality and influence—Psalm 119.
  • It is taking in, chewing, mulling over, and pondering God’s Word—it is "thought digestion."
  • It is analyzing—Psalm 119:18.
  • It is action—"Making words into thoughts, and thoughts into action."

Why Do We Meditate?

  • It’s considered valuable by God’s Word—Josh. 1:8; Ps. 19:14; 119:23, 97,148; 1:2; 77:12.
  • It makes us wiser than our enemies—Ps. 119:98.
  • It gives us more insight than teachers—Ps. 119:99.
  • It makes us fruitful—John 15:8; Ps. 1:1-3.
  • It makes us successful—Ps. 1:3; Josh. 1:8b.
  • It creates peace deep within—Ps. 119:165.
  • It shows us how to live—Prov. 4:4.
  • It prevents us from losing heart—Ps. 104:34; Heb. 12:3
[h1heading]How Do We Meditate?[/h1heading]

The preliminary steps

Matt. 6:6—"When you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

  • Let’s find a quiet place. "Go into your room."
  • Close out other activities. "Close the door."
  • Open the window to the Father’s presence. "Pray to your Father..."
  • Expect your Father to see you, and answer you. "Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

The actual process

  1. Meditate using the R.E.A.P.P. acronym.

R-read slowly and with feeling (restate if memorized).

E-emphasize each word. Get definitions of key words.

A-ask questions of the passage. Who? Why? When? Where? How? What? So what?

P-personalize by using the first person. Apply it personally.

P-pray through it, expanding on its meaning as you pray.

  1. Try it out on one of these passages—Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 139:23.
  2. Meditate on memorized passages, e.g., The Lord’s Prayer.
  3. Meditate on great hymns of the Church.
  4. Meditate on great thoughts, e.g., love of God, forgiveness, Christian hope.
  5. Meditate on prepared meditations, e.g., a book of prayer like "A Diary of Private Prayer," by John Baillie, or "The Diary of Jim Elliott."

An intimate meditation

Part I—preparation.

Choose a passage, e.g., Mark 1:35-39. Pray—ask God to direct your thoughts, words, praise and action. Read the passage unhurriedly (watch context). Formulate an objective for your meditation time and ask God to help you accomplish it, e.g., Mark 1:35-39, to get a sense of the Lord's time with His Father.

Part 2—meditation.

Visualize the scene. Assume the role of several of the characters. Apply all your five senses to the scene. Analyze your feelings as a member of the scene.

Part 3—the conversation - a colloquy.

Converse in your mind with one of the people in the scene, e.g., Mark 1:35-39—talking with Peter. Or try to imagine the thoughts of one of the people in the scene. You might talk to the Lord about what you see. In that case, it would be a prayer.

After these steps are completed, write your discoveries and insights in your journal. Did you see any principles? Did you discover an application for your own life?

An encouragement from Bill Gothard:

  • Select a meaningful section of Scripture
  • Memorize it, e.g., James 1:2
  • Personalize it
  • Give God the day that belongs to Him—Lev. 2:2
  • Begin in the evening—Ps. 63:5-6
  • Turn routine chores into times for meditation—e.g., Deut. 6:7
  • Enlist the help of one or two friends—Eccl. 4:13
[h1heading]What will happen if we don’t meditate?[/h1heading]

(Taken from Ordering Your Private World, by Gordon McDonald, Thomas Nelson Pub. 1984, p. 129.)

  • We won’t enjoy the eternal and infinite perspective on reality we were created to have—Ps. 2:1-6.
  • We will lack a vital friendship with Christ—Ps. 32.
  • We will forget that what we have and what we are comes from God, and we’ll begin to believe what we have is ours—2 Chron. 26.
  • We’ll lose the awareness of our size in comparison to our Creator, and we’ll forget our specialness and value—Ps. 139; 19:1-6.
  • We’ll have little reserve or resolve in crisis moments—Acts 16:25.
[h1heading]When do we meditate?[/h1heading]

The Scriptures that apply—Ps. 1:2-3; Prov. 6:20-22.

"But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." Psalm 1:2-3

"My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you." Proverbs 6:20-22


The Suggestions:

Begin your quiet time about five minutes before dropping off to sleep. Using the guide of the first few steps of the R.E.A.P.P. acronym, read your passage carefully. At the conclusion of your reading, ask God for a thought, a command, a warning, an exhortation, or a praise. Make sure no other thought becomes predominant, and drop off meditating on it. This gives God a night key to your thoughts and locks God's thoughts into your heart for the night—Prov. 6:22b.

In the morning, remember Prov. 6:22c—"When you awake, they will speak to you..." As you wake up, think for a moment about the last thought you had before you went to sleep. Did you learn anything? Were you comforted? Carry that into your morning devotions and regular reading program. As you finish, ask God again for a thought, a command, a warning, an exhortation, and ask for wisdom as to how you might apply it.

During the day, carry the predominant thought from the reading with you, as well as what you learned in the night—Prov. 6:22a.

  • Use it in your conversation—Col. 3:16.
  • Use it to redirect your goals, attitudes, and actions.
  • Use it in your prayer to God—personalize it.
  • Above all, seek to apply it as soon as possible—Matt. 7: 24-27.

Scriptures for meditation

1 Samuel 3

1 Kings 19:1-18

Psalms 1, 63, 73

Song of Solomon 4:10-15

Isaiah 48:12-19; 66:1-2

Hosea 2:14-23

Matthew 13:9-17; 44-46

Mark 11:22-26

Luke 11:1-14; 7:36-56

John 15:1-17

2 Corinthians 3:16-18; 5:15-21

Ephesians 3:14-21

Hebrews 11

1 John 3:1

Revelation 3:19-20