Recently, I receive a letter from a subscriber who asked what was the best way to incorporate Christian meditation into their daily devotion with God. In this article I want to outline ways you can include Christian meditation into your daily schedule that has made my life so much more rewarding and fulfilling. There are numerous benefits to meditating on God and spending time in His presence. These include developing a more intimate relationship with Christ, eliminating worry and stress, creating a space for God to speak to our hearts, and becoming more sensitive to the Holy Spirit to name a few. However this article places more emphasize on the logistics than the benefits and gives some ideas of making Christian meditation a daily reality in your life as well.
In this article I will also share with you some tools I use that are indispensable to me and have made my time with God so much richer. These are not requirements because in actuality to meditate or spend time with God, all you really need is a willing heart and a quiet space.
Not only will I discuss the practice of daily Christian meditation. I want to share with you other activities I include in what I call my Morning Devotion that have had a great impact on my life as well. I know that each of us have different situations. I don't have small children at home anymore but I do have a grandson that spends 3 nights a week with me, so often I have to adjust my Morning Devotion around his needs, but if there is a will there is a way.
I have tried many, many different schedules for my Morning Devotion over the years, but the one I am about to share with you has been the best one for me. By Morning Devotion I mean the time I take each morning before I leave for the job or work on my business. The days that I skip these activities are usually marked with anxiety and frustration. I have reasoned that if I'm too busy for God and myself, then I'm just too busy and that busyness and chaos usually ends up being a thread throughout my entire day. If I give into the busyness I may have lost an opportunity to receive God's divine inspiration.
God created us spirit, soul, and body and He doesn't want us to neglect any of these areas. We neglect our bodies when we eat poorly and don't exercise. We neglect our mind or soul when we feed it with mental junk food instead of uplifting literature or spiritual delights, and we neglect our spirit when we don't spend time with God being restored, renewed, and renovated. So instead of thinking just, Christian meditation, think mental, spiritual, and physical renewal which I call Morning Devotion, a morning of devotion to myself, to all three parts of me.
Therefore, the first thing I like to do when I awake up is some form of exercise. I have tried exercising after meditation, after breakfast, in the evening, and various other times throughout the day, but have found that if I don't do it the very first thing, it's just not going to happen for me that day. Once I get preoccupied with other activities I just can't pull myself away, and then once the evening hits, who wants to exercise, it's time to relax. So if exercise has been a struggle for you as well, try doing it right out of bed. I usually exercise to DVDs; my favorites are the Envy Girls Series , 6 Minute Quick Blast by Tracy Mallett, PraiseMoves, and Wholly Fit . Some days I'll also do a walk, run around the neighborhood. I always try to end my 30 minute workout with a relaxing stretch and cool down. Afterwards I feel wonderful.
If you are pressed for time, this would be a great time to incorporate a guided Christian meditation. Before starting your cool down, (Tracy Smith includes a 6 minute cool down on her DVD), dim the lights, light a candle, get a comfy blanket, and put your meditation CD in the player. After finishing the stretching exercises, lie on your mat, cover your feet with a blanket and play the meditation. It will be a refreshing end to a great workout.
Since I usually have a little bit more time, after working out I have breakfast. However, while preparing what I'm going to eat I'll listen to Christian affirmations, an inspirational CD, or the Bible on tape. Not only am I feeding my body nutritious food, I'm also feeding my soul. Other great times to listen to affirmations or other inspirational recordings is driving to work, taking a shower, or putting on make-up (if you're a female). Hey, why not use technology as much as you can.
I used to try and do my quiet time before I showered and got dressed, but I noticed that doing it the last part of my Morning Devotion meant I could take all that inspiration into my work time. Also, at the end of my time with God, I would list my plans for the day asking God for wisdom and guidance. I was able to keep those good feelings and God's presence lingering in my heart just a little bit longer. For those of you who are leaving for a job that is less than optimal or you need some additional inspiration, this could be a good thing as well.
Now, let's discuss my actual time with God. Christian meditation can take many different forms. I am not a proponent of one size fits alls programs. I believe that the Holy Spirit speaks, guides, and corrects us each according to our own unique purpose and personality. Therefore, these suggestions are only to broaden the possibilities but it's up to you and the Holy Spirit to create a quiet time that is purposeful and fulfilling for you.
These are "must haves" for my time with God and I am almost certain they would be a blessing to you as well. First, you need a CD player and soft angelic music playing in the background. I give my subscribers a free meditation collection download that would work well. It is something about music that opens our soul to the spirit and calms our restlessness. While the music is playing softly in the background and sitting in my comfy chair in my prayer room, I light 3 candles and give honor to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, inviting them into my quiet time. If you are beginning your quiet time with a heavy heart or emotional baggage please to the exercise in my article Overcome Negative Emotions by Casting Every Care on God first.
If you don't purchase any else for your quiet time with God, please get this wonderful daily devotional, "Forty Days to a Closer Walk with God" by J. David Muyskens. It is hard to put into words the significance of this book to every believer desiring a more intimate walk with God. The author, who is a Christian Spiritual Director and proponent of Centering Prayer, (another form of Christian meditation) uses meditation and the scriptures to grow a deeper awareness of God. Each of the 40 day passages and exercises along with the meditation practice will open your heart to a relationship with God beyond the superficial and routine. After the 40 days have ending, start again from the beginning. I believe this is a devotional for life. The book teaches the art of centering prayer where you focus on a word like Father, Abba, Jesus, peace, love, etc that symbolizes your deep intention and desire to dwell in God's presence and love.
40 Days to a Closer Walk with God is not about formulas, but a rich teaching to help every believer realize God for him or her self. Please get it!
Next, I pull out my book, Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim. This lovely book contains a variety of prayers just for meditation, for every season, and for every day of the week. The prayers begin with an eloquent praise to God as we prepare out heart to rest silently in Him. It is then followed up with an ending prayer. In addition to this book of prayers, I read one chapter each day from Psalms for Praying, An Invitation to Wholeness. The author's prose invokes a love relationship with God that literally transforms your spirit.
If you are using the book 40 Days to a Closer Walk with God, follow the Prayer Practice at the end of each section. In lieu of using this book, spend time with God in silence or with soft music playing in the background for about 20 minutes or play one of my many guided Christian meditation CDs. These CDs come in a variety of topics and are very effective in ushering believers into the presence of God. They are particularly helpful if you are new to meditation or have an extremely restless mind, as each meditation contains a progressive relaxation followed by a scriptural narrative.
End your time with God reading a passage of scripture looking for any word or passage that jumps off the page at you. 40 Days to a Closer Walk with God suggest several passages to read each day. I usually read the entire chapter and follow that with writing a few sentences or passages in my notebook or journal of what God is saying to me through His word.
Lastly, I read my list of daily intentions. It includes about 25 positive statements that I intend on accomplishing each day. For example, "I intend on having a great day. I intended on being a healing light to the world. I intend on living by faith. I intend on turning every care over to God," etc. These intentions are so powerful because I am speaking aloud what I intend to have and my words cannot return void according to the scriptures. By the end of my time with God, my heart is filled with an overwhelming peace and joy and I am ready to fulfill my purpose for the day.
My morning devotion takes me about 2 hours every morning. That includes the exercise, breakfast, getting dress, and time with God. I generally start about 5 or 5:30 a.m. so I try to go to bed by 9 a.m. and usually wake up on my own. I feel like these are the best 2 hours spent for creating a day filled with love, joy, and peace.
You may be thinking, I don't have time to devote 2 hours a day to myself and I ask you, aren't you worth it? Aren't you worth being happy, healthy, and whole? The answer is yes. If my schedule doesn't work for you, create one that does and make it just as important as the time you spend working and doing those things you "have" to do everyday but are far less rewarding. I hope this article has given you ideas on how you can incorporate a Morning Devotion, a devotion to your health and well-being, in your own life.
Rhonda Jones is the creator of over 25 Christian meditation and affirmation Cds and the author of the Christian makeover program, Help Me God Change My Life and A Date with God. Learn more at http://www.thechristianmeditator.com and http://www.holyandhealthyliving.com.
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