Should Christians meditate? Is meditation a sin in Christianity?
Many people think that Christians should not meditate, but this is not true. Christians can meditate and are even instructed in the Bible to do so.
There is, however, a difference between New Age meditation and Biblical meditation. Let’s look at what the Bible says about how Christians should meditate and how it differs from meditations in other religions.
What Does the Bible Say About Meditation?
The word “meditation” actually comes from Christianity.
Hard to believe, right? It’s true!
Meditation has always been a part of Christianity.
In the western world especially, Christians have lost sight of this Biblical practice and it’s transforming power.
Not only does God instruct us to meditate on His Word, but He promises that as we do so, we will make our way prosperous and have good success!
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8
Again in Psalm 1, God promises prosperity in this life to the one who loves His Word and meditates on it.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. Psalm 1: 1-3
Wow, what a promise!
When I was a new Christian, these are some of the first verses the Lord showed me.
I wanted a prosperous and successful life but didn’t know how to get there.
As these verses came alive to me, I saw God’s promise and took Him at His Word.
He said that if I would speak His Word, meditate on His Word, and do His Word, then I would make my way prosperous and have good success.
I thought to myself, I believe God is not a liar, so this is something I am going to put into practice.
With the help of the Holy Spirit I began to do what these verses say.
I listened to the Word constantly, meditated on it, spoke it out loud, and became a doer of the Word.
I listened to spirit-filled Bible teachers explain the meaning of verses and how they all fit together.
Today my life is dramatically different. Not just financially, but relationally, mentally, and emotionally as well.
My family is prosperous. My relationships are successful. I have peace and health that only comes from Jesus. God is true to His Word!
What has worked for me will work for you too. The Word of God works for anyone who will commit to it. Make a decision to become a student and a doer of the Word of God.
Not only will meditating on the Word bring prosperity and success, it will bring health and healing to your physical body.
My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Proverbs 4:20-22
Biblical meditation will also keep you in perfect peace. Many people are asking God for peace, and here is the answer! Keep your mind stayed on Him.
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3
Make a decision to begin meditating on God’s Word day and night. Make these verses about Biblical meditation your declaration:
I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. Psalm 119:15
Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. Psalm 119:97
My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. Psalm 49:3
When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Psalm 63:6
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands. Psalm 143:5
My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word. Psalm 119:148
I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds. Psalm 77:12
Real meditation as outlined in the Bible will transform every area of your life until you are experiencing everything the Lord has promised you!
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
What is Biblical Meditation?
Biblical meditation is commanded by God and modeled by God’s people throughout the Bible.
The focus of the meditation is always on God and His Word.
Meditating on something means to ponder it, to think on it, to contemplate it, to speak it.
Your heart is already meditating on something.
Whether you realize it or not, your heart is already practicing meditation. It is constantly focused on and thinking about something.
Worry is a form of meditation.
Fear and anxiety are a form of meditation.
If you are constantly worrying about your future, you are meditating on the enemy’s lies concerning your future. You are doubting that God’s promises are true.
If you are constantly thinking about your finances, that’s what you are meditating on.
You can change what you are meditating on by deciding to think about God’s promises instead.
Making this simple switch will transform your life. It just takes discipline to begin to focus your thoughts in the right direction.
Memorizing scripture is a wonderful form of meditation.
Speaking Scripture is a powerful part of meditation.
Think about what certain verses mean and seek understanding of verses you don’t yet understand.
Always involve the Holy Spirit, who leads you into all truth (John 16:13).
Biblical meditation always has its focus on the Word of God.
Can Meditation be Dangerous?
If we choose to meditate on the wrong things, it can bring destruction and evil into our lives.
Meditating on fearful things can bring a spirit of fear into your life. Meditating on things that are not true can bring anxiety, worry, and dread into your life.
God is not the source of fear, anxiety, or depression.
These negative thoughts and emotions not only affect your mental and emotional health, but your physical health as well. God wants you free from these things.
There is a reason the Lord instructs us to focus on things that are good and worthy of praise. He knows how our minds and bodies are designed to function!
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Phillipians 4:8
Some of New Age and Eastern religion meditation is not Biblical.
The New Age movement has copied many Christian truths and values, but do not be deceived. The source of the New Age movement is not Jesus.
Many eastern religions appear to be full of light, but will eventually lead you down a dead end road that never brings the fulfillment promised.
Jesus Christ is the only source of truth and life. There is no true peace apart from the Prince of Peace Himself (Isaiah 28:22, 9:6).
As Christians, we are not commanded to empty our mind of all thoughts.
We are not supposed to allow anything and everything to come into our minds. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
The Bible instructs us to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23), take thoughts captive, and cast down ungodly imaginations (2 Corinthians 10:5).
We are definitely not supposed to think on everything that comes into our minds!
The only thing a Christian should be chanting or repeating over and over is the truth found in the Bible. Our words are powerful.
The Bible says that if we are born again, we have become one spirit with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17) and are seated in heavenly places with Christ (Ephesians 2:6).
We are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10).
Any type of meditation that is used for the purpose of becoming one with “god” or trying to attain a higher spiritual level is not Biblical and should not be practiced by a Christian.
There is no higher spiritual level than being seated with Christ!
There is a battle in the spiritual realm for our mind and for our beliefs.
Always be intentional about what you think on and allow yourself to meditate on.
Your mind does not lead you, but rather you lead your mind.
How to Meditate as a Christian
As a Christian, your meditation should always be focused on the Word of God and who God is as described in the Bible.
Meditation can include speaking the Scriptures, praying the Scriptures, or thinking about the Scripture.
You can also think about the Lord, think about His love for you and His goodness.
What you meditate on should never go beyond what is found in the Written Word. God will never be in contradiction to His Word.
Begin by acknowledging the presence of God with you and practice living in His presence throughout the day and as you meditate on His Word.
I always ask the Lord for revelation of whatever I am meditating on.
Understanding can only come through the Holy Spirit, not through our carnal minds (1 Corinthians 2:14).
It is the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation Himself that brings understanding of the things of God.
Wisdom is the ability to apply God’s Word to your life, which is what will transform your life and bring about the plans God has for you.
Ask the Holy Spirit to bring wisdom as you meditate on His Word.
The prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesians is a great prayer to pray as you develop a lifestyle of meditating on the Word of God.
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power Ephesians 1:17-19
One of the benefits of meditation is the ability to focus your mind.
As your mind begins to wander (and it will), just acknowledge that your mind is wandering and focus it back on what you are meditating on.
This is a wonderful habit to practice and will enable you to focus the whole attention of the mind on one thing (Proverbs 4:20).
Meditation does not have to be a long practice where you do nothing else, although there are so many benefits to taking time to calm your soul and focus on the Lord.
The fact that God instructs us to meditate day and night (Joshua 1:8) clearly indicates that we can meditate as we do other things.
You are probably already aware of your ability to worry about things even while you are working or driving, ha! You can begin to replace that worry with the Word of God and meditate on what will bring peace.
I like to place sticky notes or index cards around my house so that I can see the Word of God in front of me.
This will remind you to keep your attention and focus on His Word.
You may like to listen to an anointed Bible teacher as you clean or exercise.
Whatever keeps your mind on the Word of God will aid in your ability to discipline your attention.
I also love to set aside time in the mornings to just sit and meditate on the Word while I am not doing anything else. Communing with Jesus is a form of meditation.
Some people like to do this at night or at other times during the day. Taking a walk through nature is a great way to spend time with the Lord.
What’s important is that you choose to spend quality alone time with the Lord while your attention is not divided. Jesus is always ready to spend time with you!
Example of How a Christian Can Meditate
Now, let’s walk through an example of how you can meditate on the Word and what Jesus has done for you. Let’s look at Matthew 26:36-38.
This is the account of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. You may have read this before, or heard about it, but meditating on what happened in that garden and how it applies to your life will transform you.
In this garden is where the Lord Jesus spent His last moments before being arrested and crucified in order to take your sin, your sorrows, your grief, your heartbreak, your emotional pain and your mental torment on the cross.
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” Matthew 26:36-38
Using your imagination, go to the garden with Jesus. Think about how it might have been. Think about looking up at the stars or feeling the wind blowing. See Jesus there. Then focus on this portion of verses 37 and 38:
..and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” Matthew 26: 37-38
Imagine the sorrow of the world that Jesus knew would soon be coming upon His soul. The sorrow of every heartbreak, every loss, every trauma, all coming upon the soul of God in the flesh.
The pain of every neglected child, the trauma of being beaten or sexually abused, the sorrow of every parent who has lost a child, all soon to be experienced by Jesus Himself.
Imagine the crushing pressure His heart must have felt as He took on the grief of every hopeless man or the pain and betrayal of everyone who has been abandoned or rejected.
This is some of the sorrow that Jesus took on the cross.
To think of all the evil in the world is beyond our comprehension. But that’s the pain that His soul would take on- the sin of the world and the effects of that sin, on levels we can’t even imagine.
Wow. Pure Love Himself, experiencing this torment. Life Himself experiencing the pain of loss and grief- your pain, your torment, your grief, your heartbreak.
Now imagine that as you are there with Him as He is on the cross.
Your own pain and heartbreak begins to be transferred from your soul to His. You release it as it is drawn into Him.
The grief, the betrayal, the rejection, the broken heart you have carried for so long is now being absorbed into His soul as He hangs on the cross.
See Him experience it as His own. Feel the weight of it being lifted off of you.
See your heart and soul being molded back together, healed and restored to its original condition. Thank Him for what He has done.
Meditate on what Jesus said, that His soul was “exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death” (vs. 38). You can even look up some of these words in the original language to understand the full meaning.
Jesus would soon go to the cross and experience so much pain, so much torment, so much heartbreak that it was “unto death”.
This was a sorrow so excruciating that it was almost unbearable. The physical body could have at any moment not been able to withstand it.
You could go on to continue meditating on how Jesus’s closest friends fell asleep during this time when He needed them the most.
Jesus asked Peter, James, and John repeatedly to stay awake and pray, but they continued to fall asleep, almost oblivious to what Jesus was going through.
If you’ve ever had friends or family that abandoned you in your darkest hour, Jesus knows what you felt. He knows the pain of it.
You could read this account of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane in the other Gospels to get more details. As you meditate, ask Jesus what He specifically wants to show you. Ask Him how this applies to your life.
Even after your focused time with the Lord is done, you can continue to meditate on this all day long.
Pray in tongues over it and ask for revelation.
Sometimes you will receive revelation at times you would least expect.
I wrote an article that will help you begin to receive revelation from the Lord called What Does it Mean When God Gives You a Revelation?
You could spend a lifetime meditating on what Jesus did for you through His crucifixion and resurrection.
Jesus took your physical illnesses and diseases when He was beaten.
He took your sin, guilt, and shame at the cross. What a Savior!
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:4-6
Not only did Jesus take all this on Himself so that you could be free, but He also knows first hand what you have gone through. This gives a whole new meaning to the old song “what a friend we have in Jesus”!
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15
As you make meditation on the Word of God as part of your daily life, the Bible will come alive to you!
You will sense an intimacy with the Lord that brings confidence and peace no matter what is going on around you.
Your time in the Word will become so rich and life giving.
Jesus is the Living Word, and His desire is to be one with you.
He has experienced everything you have gone through, and knows the way out. He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother. He will never leave you!