Updated: Jul 25
Let’s start with a biblical definition of meditation: In the Old Testament, two Hebrew words are translated as “meditate.” One suggests a low pitch muttering sound; the other means to be taken up or absorbed with something. Taken together, we get the idea of someone pondering a biblical text, quietly vocalizing it repeatedly.
In the New Testament, Jesus gives us a striking example of someone who saturated Himself in God’s Word by memorizing and meditating on it deeply. This is evident in the way He responded with Scripture to the devil’s temptations after His baptism and in His ready recall and skillful use of Scripture throughout His subsequent ministry, even citing it as He hung on the cross. Jesus illustrates to us the vital importance of meditating on God’s Word to be successful in fulfilling God’s purposes.
The English dictionary definition gives the idea of contemplation (keeping the mind fixed upon, pondering, reflecting, or studying).
I recently learned a working definition of scriptural meditation from Kirk Bennett, a staff member at the International House of Prayer:
Meditation is a planned repetition of a scripture verse(s) or phrase(s) by which a person’s spirit is deepened in God. This act of discipline is intentional, walked out by faith, and moving toward a fresh encounter with Christ.
I have been practicing this process with Samuel’s Bridge (a nonprofit seeking the heart of God) for several years and a small group every Wednesday morning for weeks. The benefits have been transformative. One benefit I have experienced is enjoyment. One of my highest pleasures in life has been to hear God speak. His voice is powerful, fascinating, and true. There is no higher joy than Him. Meditation is a way of pressing into the joy of His presence. It truly creates a happy heart.
I invite you to meditate on the below verse each day this week. Write the verse in your journal and close your bible/phone/computer.
Focus only on the verse… no cross references or commentaries.
Then, read the verse. Say the verse. Sing the verse. Pray the verse (making it personal).
If distractions come to your mind (to-do list, good ideas, prayer list, etc.) jot them down at the edge of your journal page so you can revisit them after meditation.
Set a timer (10-15 mins) As you begin to fix your mind on the verse, circle any word or phrase that sticks out to you and ask God to dialogue with you. Journal what you hear, see, or sense.
“May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord.”Psalms 104:34 NKJV