The Forgotten Discipline

One discipline of spiritual growth that is often overlooked is that of meditation. Thankfully, in recent years some writers have begun to focus once again upon it, but it is largely forgotten.

Let me say up front that there is a difference between meditating in a Scriptural manner and the types of meditation that spring from the New Age movement. I’m glad God doesn’t expect me to get in a lotus position and stay that way for several hours while I travel “outside my body”. I would never be able to get out of that position once I got into to it. Besides, what would happen if I got outside my body and couldn’t get back in? (I know a couple of people that I am pretty sure this has happened to them.)

The biblical form of meditation comes from a couple of Hebrew words that actually mean to recite aloud to oneself. David described himself as doing it in the “night watches”. When the burdens of life and of government would not permit him to rest, he would probably pace the balcony outside his bedroom reciting the law of God aloud.

When do we make time to deliberately meditate upon the Word of God? What fills our mind when we try to sleep? What do we do during drive time? I think it would make a difference in our walk with God if we spent less time contemplating the things of the world and spent more time reciting His Word.

There is a dual benefit of this that is closely tied to my previous post on Scripture memorization. As we recite the Word of God aloud, we have the benefit of speaking it, but also of hearing it. This further engraves it into our memory.

This does not mean that we have to walk about in public places talking to ourselves. The context of all of the Bible references to meditation imply that it is done when we are alone. It is not to be done for show, but for the purpose of nurturing our spirit.

In the words of the psalmist, “Selah,” meditate on this.

12 responses to “The Forgotten Discipline

  1. I think it would make a difference in our walk with God if we spent less time contemplating the things of the world and spent more time reciting His Word.

    That is so true, Gordon. And like you said, when you meditate on the Word, you can’t help but memorize it. Just this morning I was thinking how great it is that I was made to memorize Scripture throughout my childhood. Some of those passages are still buried deep in my heart and the Holy Spirit brings them to my mind just at the right time! And so it just occured to me, now that I have children, how important it is to have them do the same (and for me to continue to meditate and memorize)!

  2. sorry but I had to laugh, when you started talking about getting to the lotus position, and the other stuff, to funny to picture! :0>

    and as for taking to oneself, is fine and good!
    but what if you don’t like to hear yourself talk? 😦

  3. Great article Gordon,
    “…and in His law does he meditate day and night” Ps. 1:1-3

  4. Meditation is very important. When you meditate on God’s word the truth’s will come out of it. When you read your bible and you don’t understand the passage. Meditate on it and God will make it known unto you. It is a very good thing tht we don’t have to bend into a pretzel. I would be a hurting unit for a long time.

  5. I freely confess that meditaion is not my strength.

    I can begin with reading scriptures out loud and letting them sink in. But it’s not too long ofter I get a really good, commercial free “mental thread” going before the inner “tv clicker” switches me over to the Red Sox station.

    I got me an active mind. But I am working on training it.

    I have found that when I type what I am thinking as I meditate I am able to hold a thought a little longer, and actually be able to keep my thought process for future reference.
    Just me, Bickford’s,a bottomless cuppa Joe, and a laptop with a full battery charge…and I’m good to go!

  6. That is a good point about hearing yourself read/recite scripture outloud. For some reason it seems to take better root in your mind when heard audibly. Maybe has something to do with how God Himself “spoke” things into being…still just knowing the words isn’t enough…getting the import behind the words is the main point….often I find that writing scripture out and re-writing it and re-wording it along with speaking it outloud is of more benefit to me.

  7. Sara and PJ, welcome to my blog.

    Janice, if you only knew how funny that would look for me to be in that position!

    T.A., great verse.

    Danny, I think you have touched on perhaps why we don’t meditate more often. Our minds are too busy thinking about all the other things we fill them with.

    JG, you are right about needing to get the import behind the Scripture.

  8. Good post.

    Last year I read Richard Foster’s Celebration Of Discipline and it had a good chapter on meditation.


  9. While I haven’t been a big fan of everything “emergent,” one of the habits I have picked up as a result of looking into the movement is called lectio divina, otherwise known as “spiritual reading.” I like the way David Crowder breaks it down in his book Praise Habit: Read. Think. Pray. Live.

    I have been guitly so many times in the past of just doing my daily “devotion” and not really doing anything with what I’ve read. Now, I consciously make sure to think on the passage throughout the day, praying over it whenever possible, then striving to put it into practice.

    While I find myself reading smaller passages of Scripture, they are having a much greater impact because of meditation.

  10. MDM, thanks for sharing that, I have been wanting to read that book, just haven’t gotten around to it, yet.

    Jeff, sounds like you are implementing this very well. May God help you to continue in it.

  11. But I kinda like that floaty feeling!

    Preacher we must run in similar circles. I’m still waiting for some old friends to make the return trip. 😉

    And now with all sincerity this is a wonderful admonition and timely for me as well. Thank you.

  12. It cracked me up thinking about you stuck in the Lotus position…been there, done that!

    I find it a very peaceful exercise to mediatate on the Word of God. It works especially well for me when the world aggitates me. Very calming!

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