How to Meditate as a Christian

How to Meditate as a Christian
Table of Contents

Some Christian friends I know are uneasy about the idea of meditation. When they think about meditation they imagine some New Age enthusiast, sitting cross-legged on a yoga mat, hands in a mudra position, chanting a mantra. If this activity seems a long way from Christianity, that’s because it is, but that does not mean that meditation has no place in Christianity, so let’s take a few moments to consider the role of meditation within the Christian religion.

Is meditation against the Christian religion?

Well, the short answer to that question is no. The Bible mentions the word meditation or meditate 23 times, however, as always with scripture study, we need to be aware that the original Greek word may be translated in a variety of ways; thus ‘meditate’ might also be rendered as ‘ponder’ or ‘reflect’. 

‘Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked, or stand in the way that sinners take, or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.’ Psalm 1:1-2

Christian meditation is grounded in scripture. In contrast with Eastern mystic meditation, Christian meditation is not concerned with emptying the mind; it is an act of praise in which the individual focuses on a verse from scripture or a prayer. Christian meditation is not escapism from the world, it is not a relaxation technique, it is an active engagement with the Word of God. Meditation on scriptural passages became an integral part of the Christian monastic tradition during the Middle Ages. The 12th century Carthusian monk, Guigo 11, wrote ‘The Ladder of Monks’ which is a handbook describing the progression from scriptural study to meditation on the Love of God. Saint Teresa, famous for her ecstatic meditation, taught the nuns in her charge to meditate on specific prayers. Clearly, the use of the Catholic rosary is also a form of meditation. Christian meditation, however, is very distinct from the practices of Eastern religions and it is the blurring of that distinction which can lead Christians from the true path.

Should a Christian Meditate?

‘Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.’ Joshua 1:8

Jesus said ‘the Kingdom of God is within you’ and when we meditate on scripture we draw closer to the Kingdom of God. Christians know in their hearts when they sin: if you are using meditation in a way that is not pleasing to God, you know that you have strayed from the path of righteousness. Meditation for relaxation is not evil but it will not bring you closer to God, only meditation on the Word of God can do that. The way to salvation is through scripture and if you take scripture into your heart, if you ponder and reflect on the Wisdom of God, then you are practicing Christian meditation.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published