When considering meditation, some people think of images such as incense, candles, dark rooms filled with people sitting cross-legged on the floor humming “Ommmm.” There are many forms of meditation, which is part of almost every form of religion. However, Christian meditation can be virtually the opposite of Eastern meditation.
Christian meditation is listening, sensing, and heeding the life and light of Jesus Christ. Richard Foster puts it this way:
In the discipline of meditation we are not so much acting as we are opening ourselves to be acted upon. We invite the Holy Spirit to come and work within us – teaching, cleansing, comforting, and rebuking. We also surround ourselves with the strong light of Christ to protect us from any influences not of God.
Meditation gives us the wondrous and glorious opportunity to dwell completely on the goodness and perfection of our Lord. He wants you and me to be in communion with him so that we can learn his will, realize his purpose, believe his promises, see his work and imitate his way for us.
In the last one or two weeks, what are some steps you were able to take in applying what we have learned from the spiritual disciplines?
What are the first images that come to your mind when you think of meditation?
Do you feel comfortable and confident to meditate? Do you ever feel that meditation is too difficult, complicated or weird? Why?
In the midst of a very busy ministry Jesus made it a habit to withdraw many times to be alone (see Matthew 4: 1-11; 14:23; Mark 1:35; 6:31; Luke 6:12, etc.). As you meditate on one of these scriptures, please share with the group what you think Jesus did during those important times.
From your experience, what is the purpose for meditating on God’s Word? How do you think obedience is related to this topic? Please read what Jesus said in John 5:19 and 30.
In your opinion, are people around us affected when we make time for the discipline of meditation? Why or why not?
What happens in meditation is that we create the emotional and spiritual space which allows Christ to construct an inner sanctuary in the heart.
— Richard Foster
Meditation as a group
Facilitator: You may wish to choose different scriptures. The following is just a suggestion.
God greatly desires to spend time alone with us. After all, we are his children. Please read John 1:12 and Galatians 3:26. Our heavenly Father wants to know us, and he wants us to know him. Think about this: The Creator of the universe wants to meet with us alone daily.
- What do you and God do when you are alone together?
- To be in the presence of God is to change. How is God changing you when you are in his presence?
- Do you feel like a child of God?
You are not who you are because of your own or others’ opinions. You are who you are because of what God says about you. In 1 Peter 1:24-25 we read, “Our natural lives will fade as grass does when it becomes all brown and dry. All our greatness is like a flower that droops and falls, but the Word of the Lord will last forever.”
Based on the above verses, why do you think it is important to see yourself from God’s perspective rather than the world’s?
How does meditating on God’s words change your self-image?
How is it molding your view of others?
Challenge for growth
As you sit down to read the Bible and spend time with God in prayer and meditation, picture Jesus sitting next to you in your living room. Imagine he turns to you and asks you: “I love you so much. Tell me what I can do for you today.” Then tell him exactly what is in your heart – your desires, hopes, needs, fears, and joys.
When you have finished, turn now to Jesus and ask him the same question: “Jesus, I love you so much. Please tell me what I can do for you today.” As you become quiet, listen to what God is saying to you. God wants us to live out our spiritual journey in the ordinary events of our daily lives.
This is an example of how to meditate. God will give us many other ways to enter into a fuller life with Him through meditation.
S. and C. Albrecht
Celebration of Discipline – Richard Foster
The Spirit of the Disciplines – Dallas Willard
Experiencing the Word in Your Life – Priorities for Living
Experiencing God – Henry T. Blackaby & Claude V. King