Each morning, usually before day-break, I tread to my meditation spot, an overstuffed comfy green chair in the corner of my bedroom. Some mornings it's cold and I just want to hide under my covers, but regardless of the conditions, eventually I make my way to my chair, light a candle, wrap myself in a blanket, set my timer, and close my eyes. For the next 30 minutes I become completely absorbed by God's word and his presence.
For me, Christian meditation is like a daily shower of my mind. It's where I can dissolve any fears, worries, stresses, or the onset of negative or toxic emotions lingering near by. During meditation, I cast all of my cares upon the Lord and allow them to diminish in his light, Spirit, and love. To forfeit my meditation practice any one day means that my flesh has gotten the victory over my spirit and now sits on the throne. It is said that how we begin our day is how we often finish our day.
My meditation practice consists of slowly meditating on passages of scripture or inspirational texts. I call this Scripture Meditation. I meditate on the 23rd Psalms, The Lord's Prayer, The Love Chapter, The Beatitudes and other verses that I have memorized and God puts on my heart. I begin each meditation session with the following prayer that I slightly modified from Psalm 19 of Praying the Psalms by Nan Merrill. It read it as:
"But who can discern their own weakness? Cleanse me, O Lord, from all my hidden faults? Keep me from boldly acting in error; let my fears and illusions not have dominion over me! Then shall I become a beneficial presence, Freely and fully surrendered to your Love. Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart find favor in your Heart. O my Beloved, my strength and my joy!"
During meditation, I slowly graze over the scriptures in my mind, and as I do I sink deeper and deeper into the peace, calm, and presence of God. Each time my mind wanders off in thought, fear, or anxiety, I turn my attention back to my scripture passage, keeping my mind on the Lord. The Bible says that "you will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee."
Jesus tells us in the Bible that we become what we think about or meditate on. Through meditation, we hide God's word in our heart and that planted word begins to take root and grow a harvest of godly fruit. Each time we return our wandering mind back to the scripture passage, it's the same as plucking up the weeds that want to invade out mental garden.
The benefits of meditation aren't generally realized during the actual practice, though dwelling in God's presence is definitely as added reward. The real benefits of Christian Meditation are realized throughout our day when we find that we are more loving, kind, patient, and compassionate or when we squash thoughts of fear or worry that come to steal our peace and joy. Just like we divert our attention from them in meditation, we do the same as we go about our daily tasks. Through meditation, we learn that we can choose what we allow in our minds. We can choose what we allow to rule over us. Meditation empowers us to "cast down every thought and imagination that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
Paul said that we are a slave to whatever we allow to rule over us. Too many Christians are ruled by the whims of their thoughts. Just like watching a television commercial that tells us we want a Mrs. Smith's Cherry Pie and we run out and buy one, our unregenerated mind rules most us of. It says stay in bed and stay in bed. It says you're depressed and we become depressed. It says sin and we sin. It says don't forgive and we hold grudges. Christian meditation gives us the opportunity to become slaves of righteousness as we continue to hide God's in our heart and crowd out the voices of illusion and deception. Through Christ-centered meditation, we also experience a deeper connection with God. As our meditation practice deepens we gain a greater capacity to know God, hear his voice, and experience him in a new and real way.
James 4:8 declares, "Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded." Christian meditation allows us to wash away the mental dirt and debris that we pick up each day. It helps us to break the conditioning, patterns, and falsehoods of the world and start each day clean, purified, and centered in Christ.
Some people would never think to miss their morning shower or bath. I know people that spend at least 30 minutes in the shower or until the water turns cold. Then they spend another two hours doing their make up and hair. They wouldn't dare leave the house until their outsides our fully together. But how much more important is it that we clean our insides from worldly contaminates. To miss this time in silence reverence to God means carrying around these mental and emotional weights for another 24 hours or until I decide to meditate again. I'd much rather wash them away, just like the water takes the dirt from my bodies and carries it down the drain. Starting my morning in meditation frees me from any encumbrances lingering in my unconscious mind. Through Christian meditation, my mind is swept clean and polished with the light of God's word.
2 Corinthians 7:1 says, "Let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement that contaminates either flesh or spirit." Through meditation, we become the observer of our thoughts and which gives us the power to eliminate those ideas that are contrary to our faith. Mastery of the mind is the only road to true freedom, for it is in the mind and thoughts that all things are created, "for as a man thinks in his heart, so is he," and "a good man out of the good treasure in his heart creates that which is good."
Jesus said, "Come to me all who are weary and of a heavy heart and I will give you rest. Spending time with God in meditation, whether scripture, guided, or mantra, is that place of rest for me, for it is where I lay my burdens at the cross and then cloth myself with the Lord Jesus Christ. Each time I enter meditation I am covering myself in his Word, Presence, and Love. I am dwelling under the shadow of the Almighty. Each time I leave my green comfy chair, I leave cleansed, renewed, and restored and prepared to begin my day.
Rhonda Jones is the creator of over 25 Christian meditation and affirmation Cds and the author of the Christian makeover program, Detox Your Life & Awaken Your Inner Spirit. Learn more about books, CDs & annual Christian Meditation and Yoga retreats at http://www.thechristianmeditator.com.
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