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Christian Meditation Techniques: How to Meditate on GOD

Christian Meditation Techniques

8 Techniques Used to Meditate, Renew Your Mind, & Draw Closer to God

Meditating on the Lord can be one of the easiest yet at the same time most difficult activities we can do to draw closer to God and grow spiritually.  The simplicity is in the act of just being still in silence and solitude.  The difficulty is that sitting still and being quiet for more than a few minutes can cause a minor anxiety attack.  Many of us are not very comfortable with our thoughts and being alone with God.  For some it’s like watching grass grow.  Others may be afraid of what’s lurking underneath the surface of our hearts.  Initially, meditating on the Lord by abiding may be difficult because our mind tends to be restless and wanders profusely; but with consistency you’ll gain more and more control over your thoughts. Yet, spending time with God through meditation can literally change your life for the better.  In this article, I’ve listed some common ways to meditate on the Lord.

This can be accomplished by carving out time each day to spend time with God. A spiritual self-care morning routine or a date with God is a great time to incorporate a time of meditation into your day.  There are also many great places to meditate as well. These can include meditating near the ocean or secluded areas of nature. Most likely, you’ll be meditating in a quiet area in your home. Below is a list of Christian meditation techniques to help you get started with meditating on the Lord. Read and select Christian meditation techniques that feel the most comfortable for you and begin today.

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1. Using a Scripture or Sacred Word

The scriptures tell us that when we abide with Christ, He abides with us. In fact, without God’s living and abiding presence and guiding light, we can do nothing of any real significance. (St. John 15) One form of meditating on the Lord is to silently repeat a sacred word (mantra), passage, or scripture in alignment with your breath.

Each of these act as an anchor for the mind, which helps us to focus our attention on the present moment and God’s presence.  Some sacred words or scriptures you can meditate on include phrases like “the Lord is my Shepherd,” “I walk by faith,” “the joy of the Lord is my strength”, “I cast my cares upon the Lord,” or “Peace be Still.”  The late John Main, one of the most influential spiritual teachers in the Christian meditation tradition encourages believers to use the mantra or sacred word, “Maranatha” that means, “Come Lord Jesus.”  This mantra is suggested because of its relevance in scriptures and its lack of any emotional or mental references, which inhibits our minds from creating a mental attachment to the word.

You can also select a whole scripture or just one word, like “Jesus” or “Yeshua” to meditate on. Meditate in silence or with soft music playing in the background.  It’s best to time the music or use a timer so that you’re not worried about being late for work or missing an appointment. As you meditate, become fully present by paying attention to your breathing and your sacred word, passage, or scripture. You can silently repeat these in alignment with your breathing or anytime your mind begins to wander off.  You can also create a mental picture in your mind to focus on.  As you practice being still and calming your thoughts, you’ll sense a greater feeling of God’s presence and a greater sensitivity to hearing his voice.

You’ll also begin to sense the yearnings of the Holy Spirit as he drops words or impressions on your heart.  Don’t focus on these during the meditation, but write them down in your journal when finished. When we clear out the mental clutter, we create greater space to hear God and become “one” with God. As you practice this form of meditation, you’ll find old weights and worries seem to disappear. No evil thing can stand in God’s presence.

Sacred Word, Scripture or Passage Meditation At-A-Glance:

  1. Select a sacred word, scripture or passage to meditate o.
  2. Sit comfortably where you won’t be distracted & close your eyes.
  3. Begin to focus on your breath.
  4. Do a quick body scan and release any tension.
  5. Begin to slowly and silently repeat your word, scripture or passage (one word at a time) in alignment with the cycle of each breath.
  6. Whenever your mind wanders off, bring your attention back to your breath, word, or passage.
  7. Continue for 5-20 minutes.

Benefits:

  • Can hide God’s Word in your heart.
  • Meditating on scripture.
  • Concentrating and attention on God and his divine presence.
  • Experience and rest God’s presence.
  • Learn to still the mind.

christian meditation cds

2. Guided Christian Meditations

Guided Christian meditations are another method that can help you to meditate on Christ. Guided-meditations are usually on a CD or cassette.  Guided Christian meditations are great for beginning meditators and are a good transition to learning to meditating by abiding or with a mantra or sacred or scripture.  Some people need the added stability and structure of being guided through their meditation experience. Most guided meditation CDs begin with a relaxation exercises followed by a scriptural narrative. Some are filled with biblical stories; others are more visual or interactive like taking you on a walk through nature or nailing your cares to the cross.  Guided Christian meditations can also cover a wide variety of topics that help you trust God for healing, to control negative thoughts, or to release painful memories of the past.  I even have meditations on nurturing your vision, attracting love, overcoming anger, and releasing toxic emotions. Christ-centered guided meditations work well when you want to focus on a specific aspect of your Christian walk.  The relaxation exercises prepare your mind to absorb God’s word and His principles for the greatest effectiveness.  The benefits are that you learn to relax and quiet your thoughts while being submerged with the scriptures. The talking throughout the meditation helps you to stay present and focused and diminishes wandering thoughts. I offer Christian meditation downloads, CD, discounted bundles, and a listening library that contain a variety of topic-specific meditations and affirmations.

Guided Christian Meditations At-A-Glance:

  1. Decide the purpose for meditating (release worry, let go of fear, relax)
  2. Find a guided Christian meditation on this specific topic.
  3. Sit comfortably where you won’t be distracted & close your eyes.
  4. Follow along with the instructions of the narrator.
  5. Continue until it ends.

Benefits:

  • Great for beginners who may feel aren’t doing it right.
  • Can find topic specific meditations.
  • Less distractions as you follow the meditator’s instructions

3. Meditating on God’s Word

Another popular and more historical way of meditating is what the Christian monks called contemplative prayer.  This form of meditating involved selecting a short scripture or biblical passage and then reflecting on it for the entire day.  During their reflections, the monks would think about how these particular scriptures were relevant to their lives.  They took ownership of the scriptures by making them their own.  They measured their behavior by them and contemplated what changes they needed to make so that their life personally reflected the passages.  You can add this form of meditating to your daily devotion, by selecting and writing down a particular passage and then ask God to make this passage real to you.  Interestingly, the passage will seem to take on a life of its own.  Scripture says that God’s word is like a two edge sword, it is alive and it quickens us. (Hebrews 4:12)  We are changed by the word; but the word has to get into our heart and our spirit and not just our minds.  Many years ago as I began to study the word to write my manuscript, “Don’t Go Back to Egypt,” I was amazed to see the meanings in scriptures that eluded me before.  Meditating on the word by taking small bites and then chewy them slowly is transformative and much more effective than just reading whole chapters of scriptures.

Meditating on God’s Word At-A-Glance

  1. Find a passage of scripture that is resonating with you.
  2. Write it down on an index card.
  3. Read it slowly several times.
  4. Write down what it means to you both spiritually and practically.
  5. Think about it and meditate on the passage throughout the day.

Benefits:

  • Digesting the word of God
  • Makes the word practical to your life or experience
  • Memorization of scripture.
  • Allows God’s word to transform and renew your mind.

christian meditation techniques

4. Soaking In God’s Presence

For the past several years I have hosted a Christian Meditation Retreat in the beautiful Shasta mountains where we, as a group, experienced what it means to soak in God’s spirit or his presence. The terminology for soaking in the spirit reminds me of soaking up all of God’s attributes like a sponge or wading in his glory. It is a time that we are just “being” with God in the same way that Adam and Eve walked with God in the cool of the day. The scriptures tell us that in God’s presence is fullness of joy.

Recently I have began again to incorporate the practice of soaking in God’s spirit into my Christian meditation practice and it is rewarding and meaningful.  It, along with other forms of Biblical meditation, provides me with a variety of tools that help me to quiet my mind, tame my emotions, awaken my spirit, and subdue my fleshy nature. I can’t tell you how grateful that I am to be able to manage my thoughts and actions instead of them managing me. It is an ongoing process that will continue until I go to be with the Lord.

Soaking in God’s Presence At-A-Glance

  1. Set aside 30-60 minutes to just be with God.
  2. Select soft music or even a soaking meditation from youtube.
  3. Create a comfortable spot where you can lie down.
  4. If desired, support yourself with blankets and pillows.
  5. Turn on music or meditation and allow God’s presence to fill your being.

Benefits:

  • Just being and abiding with Christ
  • Experience Christ’s presence and love for you.
  • Pure relaxation and rest.
  • Let all your cares melt away.
  • Doesn’t require any guided meditation, script, or passage.

jesus prayer meditation

5. The Jesus Prayer Meditation

Another meditation technique established by the early church leaders isThe Jesus Prayer Meditation which is repeating silently in alignment with your breath“Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy upon me.” Some people also use this prayer meditation in conjunction with prayer beads. To do the Jesus Prayer, with a gentle inhale, silently repeat in your mind, “Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy upon me,” and then exhale. You can also add the words, a sinner, if you like. You can do the verse even more slowly over several breaths as well. If you are using prayer beads, with each verse, touch or move a bead forward. Let the words penetrate in your hearts. When you mind wanders off, come back to your verse and the touch of the bead.

The early church desert men and women were seeking a way to pray without ceasing that is encouraged in many scriptures throughout the Bible. They wanted a inner prayer they could silently repeat during times of silence and that would penetrate their hearts, and that they could recite throughout the day, and continually experience God’s presence.  In fact, they tried meditating on many different scriptures, including the Psalms but came to agree upon the Jesus Prayer passage: “Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy upon me,”  because many Biblical encounters with Jesus all started with this phrase. The Jesus Prayer proclaims our faith and humbles us by asking mercy and humbly placing our dependency upon God.  In next session, you can listen to audio Early Christian Spirituality and the Jesus Prayer, to learn more about early Church leaders and this powerful meditation.

Jesus Prayer Meditation At-A-Glance

  1. Sit comfortably where you won’t be distracted & close your eyes.
  2. Begin to focus on your breath and do a quick body scan and release any tension.
  3. Begin to slowly and silently repeat the Jesus Prayer, Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me” (can add “a sinner). You can repeat one word at a time in cycle with your breath, several words at at time, or the whole verse with each inhale/exhale. If you are using prayer beads, move one bead forward after each verse.
  4. Whenever your mind wanders off, bring your attention back to the prayer (and beads if using.)
  5. Continue for 5-20 minutes.

Benefits:

  • Invokes God’s presence in your life and circumstances.
  • Experience Christ’s presence and love for you.
  • Humbly seeking God’s mercy and dependency upon Him.
  • Meditating on a powerful phrase used by the early desert saints.
  • Transforms and purifies the heart.

christian meditat

6. Prayer Bead Meditation

This is a new meditation that I started doing more frequently that I love. I kind of created it myself, but I’m sure you could find some reference for it somewhere. Prayer beads and rosaries come in many different forms. Some are beads and others special rope or fabrics. I created my own prayer beads with beads I purchased from Hobby Lobby and a cute little cross pendant. You can make several bead lengths and styles. I also make my beads using stretchy string so the beads can easily be moved along the string.

During my prayer bead meditation, I slowly (one-word-at-a-time) recite a scripture as I move one bead forward. I don’t repeat the same scripture, but any scripture that comes to mind during the meditation. I believe that the scriptures that show up are the ones I need to meditate on. For this type of meditation, you will need to memorize a few verses, or you can do the same one over and over. It is similar to passage or scripture meditation, but the beads add an additional anchor or focus for the mind. I also just like the idea of making and using the beads during my meditation time.

Prayer Bead Meditation At-A-Glance:

  1. Purchase or make your own prayer beads.
  2. Sit comfortably where you won’t be distracted & close your eyes.
  3. Begin to focus on your breath.
  4. Do a quick body scan and release any tension.
  5. Begin to slowly and silently repeat a scripture (one word at a time) in alignment with the cycle of each breath. As you complete each scripture, with your fingers, [touch] or move a bead forward. Then begin reciting the same or a different scripture verse (whatever comes to mind.)
  6. Whenever your mind wanders off, bring your attention back to your scripture and prayer beads.
  7. Continue for 5-20 minutes.

Benefits:

  • Can hide God’s Word in your heart.
  • Meditating on scripture.
  • Concentrating and attention on God and his divine presence.
  • Experience and rest God’s presence.
  • Learn to still the mind.
  • Prayer beads act as an additional anchor to harness the mind.
  • It’s just fun making and meditating with prayer beads.

7. Mindfulness Meditation

The simplest form of meditation is Mindfulness. What is mindfulness? The best definition I ever heard is mindfulness is being to your feelings, mind, sensations, and environment. Therefore, you are as mindful as you are present. Most people’s minds sway between the past and the future. In addition to that, most of these thoughts are unconscious as well as negative.  Mindfulness meditation helps us to see, often discover, just what we’re meditating on most of the time. During mindfulness meditation, your breath is your anchor or primary focus.  When thoughts arise, and they will, you just notice them without judgment or attachment.  Instead of identifying with them, just observe them. You can watch them until they dissolve, wipe them away like wiping words off of a chalkboard, or just bring your focus back to your breath. Mindfulness meditation is great for training the mind and detaching from unproductive thoughts. Mindfulness meditation would be considered a secular meditation, meaning it is without any religious influence.

Mindfulness Meditation At-A-Glance

  1. Sit comfortably where you won’t be distracted & close your eyes.
  2. Begin to focus on your breath.
  3. Do a quick body scan and release any tension.
  4. Use your breath as your anchor any time your mind wanders off.
  5. When you notice thoughts, images, or day dreams have filled your mind, just notice them with detachment and without any judgement. You are only the observer.
  6. Continue for 5-20 minutes.

Benefits

  • Detach from negative and worrisome thoughts
  • Trains the minds
  • Promotes relaxation and stress relief

christian meditation group

8. Joining a Meditation Group

Lastly, consider joining a Christian Meditation Group.  Through the World Community for Christian Meditation Website (WCCM) (www.wccm.org ) or Contemplative Outreach, you may be able to locate a group in your area.  If no groups are available, consider starting your own.  The organization provides resources on how to start and maintain a Christian meditation group. By joining a group you can receive instruction on meditating as well as benefit from the knowledge of some veteran meditators.  Just like corporate church worship can be uplifting, energizing, and unifying, meditating on God collectively also ushers in the sweet spirit and presence of God.   Groups usually meet once or twice a week and are free of charge. During the meeting, a short teaching relating to meditation or spiritual growth is shared by the facilitator.   This is followed by a time of meditation which last for about 20 minutes.  Afterwards, there may be a shared discussion or believers may be asked to leave quietly as to not disturb those still waiting on the Lord. Laurence Freeman, Director of the WCCM writes, “the meditation group is the most contemporary expression of and answer to the tremendous spiritual hunger that so characterizes our time.”

Join a Meditation Group At-A-Glance

  1. Google for local Christian meditation groups in your area.
  2. Attend regularly.
  3. Keep the practice going at home.
  4. Attend regular retreats and workshops to deepen your practice and fellowship with other like minded believers.

Benefits:

  • Group instruction
  • Meditate with like-minded believers
  • Corporate meditation is powerful
  • Keeps you motivated and accountable.

Conclusion

To conclude, meditating is a spiritual practice that can enhance our relationship with God and the above Christian meditation techniques show you varies ways to put it into practice.  It can help us to take on his character by spending time in God’s presence.  Meditating on a scriptural passage or mantra teaches us to calm our restless thoughts and creates a greater sensitivity to hearing God’s voice. And meditating on God’s word in the form of contemplative prayer is a way to reflect upon the scripture and ponder its relevancy in our personal life. Joining a Christian meditation group can offer guidance, experience, and a place to share the art of meditation collectively.    All four forms of meditation can change us and make our life more fulfilling, Christ-centered, and balanced.

Although there are many Christian meditation techniques it is important that you find the right one for you. Browse our Product Library for a variety of Christian meditation CDs, downloads, and courses.

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